Online education has picked up in the past year or so. Initiatives like classteacher.com, Edukart has made online education a new experience for people and empowered students with more learning options beyond the classroom. It is this large opportunity that made GennextStudents also venture into the space of online education.
Shabbir Rangwala of GenextStudents believes their startup brings a new concept to the field of online education. Instead of replacing the student-teacher model they work on imparting learning in a way that benefits both students as well as the teachers through their courses. The entrepreneurs behind GenextStudents are both passionate about education as well as technology. Talking about the choice of online medium for their venture, Shabbir shares “we always had this passion to spread education to masses and the best way to do it was to take the help of technology and to offer education to remotest part of the country”.
GenextStudents deals with online learning for K-12 students, across different boards in the country. It is a technology based education platform aimed to make education fun. This platform includes a number of unique features such as access to well organized study material which can be easily downloaded, doubt clearing sessions with in house subject matter experts, resource library for additional learning to name a few.
GenextStudents gives a whole range of options to students to acquire knowledge from. All the content is in the form of text, audio and video clips neatly organised on the web app. Their pricing model is also nominal, considering their target audience are young students. Shabbir says “Our course price (only Rs 1,599 for complete class for all subjects) comes to less than the cost of a tea per day.” The startup offers both online and offline study material in the form of CD, SD card and tablets. Their online app has been downloaded by over 4500 students. They have also introduced the content for Rajasthan in Hindi. Another interesting feature of their learning material is NAMUmania - game based learning. It encourages students to write test as if they are playing a game. Shabbir says they are getting good response to their initiative. “Our idea and philosophy is to work in tandem with schools and teachers rather than trying to replace them,” he says.
Founded in May 2011 by Shabbir Rangwala, Ali Asgar Kagzi and Asad Daud, the startup has already got 22,000 registered users. GenextStudents now cover three educational boards namely CBSE, ICSE and RBSE and have courses suited for students of all the three boards. This is in addition to the normal study material that these students have. The venture has also received decent traction in social media with 41,000 Facebook likes.
The core team members are all young and before starting GenextStudents had some experience on the corporate side. Shabbir, a telecommunications engineer had a stint as a software engineer at Accenture (Bangalore). Ali Asgar Kagzi has done his Masters in management from London School of Economics while Asad Daud has a Masters degree in accounting and finance from London School of Economics. Ali has a blend of technical and management experience and has in the past worked with Accenture (London) and Fidelity (Bangalore). His strong analytical and technical aptitude comes in handy at GenextStudents.
As they expand into suburban towns there have been some fresh challenges for the startup. Lack of awareness and technology emerges as one of many hurdles. To deal with the problem, team GenextStudents is using CDs and USBs to spread the knowledge. Shabbir adds here “we are the pioneers to bring a mobile app of all our offerings, so users with no computer can access our services via mobile as well.”
For the future Shabbir and his team members are aspiring to include more and more state boards and higher education courses. They also wish to become one stop shop for all education needs of a student right from KG-PG across all boards and curriculum keeping in mind the overall development of a child.