Learning Gets Digital With SHArP Edge Learning

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SHArP Edge Learning is a holistic learning concept which aims at addressing various levels of human learning capabilities and enhances individual growth. It combines technology, real life knowledge, industry experience, individual skills and group skills with university specific course content to address the growing gap between ‘regular’ engineers and ‘real’ engineers.SHArP Edge provides digital learning solutions which enables faculty in engineering colleges to use resources such as educational animations, interactive simulations, case studies, assessments and 2D/3D diagrams to make classrooms more interactive, creating multi-sensory learning for students and improving their academic performance.

In a matter of 9 months, SHArP Edge Learning has received a national award by the Department of Science and Technology and Ministry of IT for being one of the most innovative start-ups in the country. They have a business reach of over 20,000 engineering students and over 5000 faculty members across Rajasthan, UP, Haryana and Uttranchal.

How it works

The founders of SHArP Edge Learning believe in keeping the solution simple but relevant. The focus is on customized solutions for each university and to get to the root of the problem. “We do extensive research on the faculty and students’ needs by attending their classes, video recording lectures, doing sample lectures through our content, testing and re-testing the use of our content before the same is rolled out,” says Co-founder, Paresh Gupta. Each of the simulations, animations and diagrams is made keeping in mind the needs of the faculty and the students. In addition, they provide detailed training sessions to the faculty before the use of their digital content.SHArP Edge Learning does not believe in complicating the solution with high end hardware or complicated softwares and therefore, provides pure content which is encrypted and installed on individual computers/server in every college. The college is then free to choose its own hardware and the execution of the entire project.

The content creation happens through interns working across top rated colleges including IIT Delhi, IIT Mumbai, BITS Pilani and IIT Roorkee. Content creation needs a perfect blend of engineers, faculty members, animators and programmers. To enable university specific content creation, they have created small research centres at various colleges at local levels which provide university specific inputs. The entire data is then compiled at their compilation centre in Jaipur and marketed to various states across the country.

Revenue model

SHArP Edge Learning has an annuity based revenue model where the college pays a fixed sum for each year’s content which is installed on a specific number of computers/common server and after expiry of a fixed term, there is an annual maintenance charge. The revenues are collected at the time of installation of content and as such, the revenue stream remains assured. With content being accepted by over 40 colleges in a span of 9 months, they have already achieved a break-even for the first.

In a typical sales process, they approach a college through references and then go through a faculty presentation, a student lecture and finally an owner’s meeting to finalize the deal. They are also in advanced talks with some highly reputed organizations for institutional partnerships to provide hardware, ERP solutions and other allied services and co-market the product.

Starting Up

The best business deals happen outside office; SHArP Edge was formed over a cup of coffee. The four Co-founders, Sourabh, Harshit and Arpit, who are from BITS Pilani, and Paresh, a graduate from Sri Ram College of Commerce and an MBA from London School of Business and Finance, were sitting in a coffee shop in Jaipur cribbing about the quality of technical education in India and discussing the European system of teaching which integrates real life knowledge and technology with theoretical concepts. That’s where the whole idea came about; they instantly decided to start a business venture by creating digital content for engineering colleges. In a week’s time they were joined by Mohit from IIT Roorkee who came with a lot of content development experience and their venture kick started thereafter.

They discussed their business idea with Dr. L K Maheshwari, the ex Vice Chancellor of BITS Pilani and he immediately agreed to be their mentor and advisor. They were then incubated in BITS Pilani, where they received the best faculty guidance and support. They have already set up three offices in India in a span of 9 months with a team size of about 80 people.

(from left to right: Mohit Agrawal, Paresh Gupta, Arpit Mehta, Sourabh Gupta and Harshit Gupta)

They started with a very small amount of seed capital and have been pooling in additional capital every 2 months, that too only after achieving specific business targets from the last pool and the rest of the money has been generated through revenues.

“There is no fun in business if there are no challenges and we have our share of fun each day!! Challenges span from competition from other content providers, to hiring quality staff, to managing client expectations. Our focus is to always look at each challenge as an opportunity and find solutions to maximize benefits,” concludes Paresh, on behalf of SHArPEdgeLearning.

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