If the last decade was about eCommerce, this one may belong to the new ‘E’ – education. Umpteen number of startups have come up in this space but the action is far from over. Meet Function Space, a community for math, physics and computer science lover. But this is not just a forum about those topics and the founders have ambitions to make it a robust online resource for the three subjects. For Adit Gupta, co-founder of Function Space, his love for maths and physics led to the inception of Function Space (FS). “I wanted to build a social community for interaction in the field of physics and mathematics. At FS, people put up their articles, questions and answers; have access to video tutorials, labs and discussion forums, says Adit, explaining the concept.”
Adit is a petroleum engineer from UPES, Dehradun and was earlier working for a travel solutions company, as the lead interaction designer. Adit co-founded FS in December 2012 with his wife, Sakshi who was earlier working for TCS.
FS shares the space with institutes like KhanAcademy and other open source forums. But Adit says the USP of his business is that their users can interact with each other through messages. Their forums are driven by ratings called knowledge index that shows how insightful the discussion or article is. The ratings are based on two parameters: number of users who posted their opinions and number of times the opinion has been marked as insightful. “We have applied Naive Bayesian classifier (which according to Wikipedia is, a simple probabilistic classifier based on applying Bayes' theorem with strong (naive) independence assumptions) for deciding the rating of the discussion. Also students on our site have access to virtual labs where they can carry out different experiments in physics,” explains Adit.
FS has 850 registered members todate and is currently on the lookout for tie-up with schools and colleges which do not have access to physical labs. Adit also plans to launch mobile apps on Android and iOS platform. To generate content on FS, there are two students from IIT who have joined them as interns who contribute to the knowledge community. Owing to the educational background of their family, Adit also has professors from elite colleges in Indore contributing to the content. Some of the well known names who have partnered them are Prof. Prabhudayal Sharma from HolkarScienceCollege, Prof. Dhiraj Ahire and Prof. Palan – both from BarwahaScienceCollege . A lot of the content also gets generated from the user community. Adit plans to hire graduates from IIT as full time employees for maintaining the quality of the content.
Based out of Pune, the FS team comprises of three people, excluding freelancers and advisors. FS is a boot strapped venture and is in look out for angel funding. Adit plans to generate revenue by charging on access to indepth and research articles, highly knowledgeable experiments in virtual labs and mobile apps. With students from 16 universities of USA registered, FS banks on word-of-mouth marketing apart from social media and Hacker Street. Adit wants to bring Indian students and communities to FS. Speaking on his vision, Adit says: “FS is here to disrupt the educational model. We want to scale it to a global level as a source of quality content. We want students to create experiments on their own by giving access to API’s and content. We aim to nurture the concept of self published books at FS.”