When we talk about communication and mobile phones, the first thing that comes to mind is Whatsapp. And when it comes to startups, everybody wants their app to be analogous to Whatsapp, be it about number of users, ease of use or time spent on app. Flinnt is one such product in the education sector. It is a learning management system that aims to revolutionize education by increasing engagement between teachers and pupils.
Flinnt is an Ed Tech startup based out of Ahmedabad. It was started by four friends -- Harish Iyer, Harin Desai, Dhinal Rajguru and Tarak Yagnik. Harish Iyer has over 17 years of experience in the educational sector; and had earlier started Concepts EduServ Pvt Ltd, which was offering professional development courses affiliated to the University of Cambridge International Examinations. Harin Desai is also a serial entrepreneur who founded Synapse Infotech Pvt Ltd, an ERP solution provider for SME and educational institutions. Before Synapse, Harin had worked with Reliance for seven years. Dhinal Rajguru has over 20 years of experience managing infrastructure projects and was a director at Concepts Eduserv Pvt Ltd (authorized center for the University of Cambridge International Examinations, UK). Tarak Yagnik, is the marketing expert in the team who earlier worked with Citi Financial and Barclays Financial.
In most schools and colleges, use of technology is limited to showing power point slide shows, videos and animations for concepts. While doing so teachers also start watching these videos along with students. The best-case scenario leads to one-sided interaction where the teachers repeat the slides and students just sit and listen to them. In order to involve both parties equally in the conversation and thus drive interaction around the topic, the team came up with Flinnt, an app that facilitates course and topic wise discussion in class.
Talking about the app, Tarak says, "In an institution, teachers/faculty members are overburdened with activities whereas they have a limited lecture or period time ranging from 40 minutes to 60 minutes. As an academic responsibility they need to share many resources with their students. Students can access these shared resources, discuss, read and revise and remain connected with learning in the anytime anywhere model. Teachers/faculty members can instantly share resources using Flinnt and can connect with their studentsl."
How it works
After an institute signs up, teachers and students are given separate sign up codes using which they can use the app. Once a teacher posts a topic, students can comment on it and discuss it. The topic can be in the form of a link, video, doc or an image file related to any topic in the subject. To prevent abuse of the app the teacher can ban the students from commenting on a certain topic. For example, a teacher can post a link of recent news and then there can be a discussion around it, which would be more effective in learning as it relates the lessons to real life scenarios. In the absence of a cell phone, the platform can also be accessed by PC.
Features and revenue
Unlike most apps, the control part of the app remains with the organization and the teacher. The content is searchable which would enable people to search for previous references despite the number of comments or posts in a certain course. And there is no restriction on the number of students for any course.
Flinnt earns its revenue by charging an annual fee of Rs 15,000 per institution and the number of courses one can add is unlimited. A lean version of the app which costs Rs 5,000 for a yearly subscription is also available for small educational centers like coaching institutes where the number of courses are limited. The app is free for teachers and students.
Since the app launch in June 2014, the Flinnt team has reached over 40 educational institutions and over 30,000 students in Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Anand, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Udaipur. The company has raised around USD 300,000 including an Angel round of USD 100,000 by a US based investor and the founding team and is looking to raise further rounds. At present their focus is on expansion and partnering with more schools and colleges.