When Yuvraj Krishna Sharma met Gautam Arjun while working at Indian private equity firm Indus Balaji, the duo market researched for products that inculcate practical learning skills in children but found none that work towards building holistic solutions.
Having a strong flair for technology, Yuvraj realised that emerging technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and gamification could become a potential learning medium in the age of smartphones and tablets. It was to bridge the huge learning gap and make children ready for the digital generation of today that Yuvraj came up with the idea of KOMPANIONS in March 2015.
Headquartered in Gurgaon, KOMPANIONS aims to make the learning process easier by applying advanced approaches such as VR, AR, gamification, and assessment architecture in education. The startup focuses on more than 20 learning skills that help in child development and create a pool of abilities around logical reasoning.
The technologies that we are working with are emerging and very cutting edge. So manpower acquisition was the biggest challenge that we faced in the initial days. However, over time, we have built a great team with strong skills and expertise in our area of work,” says Yuvraj, a BTech in Electronics and Communication from CIET, Chandigarh.
He brings experience in online and inbound marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, UI/UX design, and internet marketing.
Solving the core problems
KOMPANIONS has designed several products that work upon neuroplasticity by deploying brain workouts for children between three and 15 years. The startup is primarily trying to solve three core issues:
(A) Diagnosing and raising brain performance in key areas such as intelligence, holistic growth, thinking NEW, logical thinking, language proficiency and creativity.
(B) Reducing the gaps in learning, reasoning, and aptitude/logic.
(C) Providing a growth path towards continuous improvement, given the current unstructured approach towards learning.
KOMPANIONS’ product offerings include KUBE, K-LAB, KOMPASS, KANVAS, and KAMP.
KUBE is a 3D educational gamebox for ages 3–12 years, building a child’s scholastic and co-scholastic skills through brain training.
K-LAB is a 3D knowledge laboratory for schools, equipped with elements of VR, AR, and gamification.
KOMPASS is a diagnostic assessment architecture that predicts and provides remedial solutions.
KANVAS is a movie-making project for schools, showcasing cinematic representation of themes related to children and learners.
KAMP is a series of knowledge sessions such as VR workshops, brain training summer camps, and after-school classes with the student, school, and parent community.
Reaching out to schools and parents
KOMPANIONS has reached out to more than 1,000 parents and 50 schools. K-LAB (schools are charged Rs 150–200 per child per month) has been installed across six schools in five cities including Jaipur, Chandigarh, Mohali, Sikar, and Kota. For other products like KANVAS and KAMP (Rs 2,500–3,000 per student), the startup has tied-up with a few schools like St. Xavier’s School, Jaipur; Presidium, Gurgaon; Kunskapsskolan School, Gurgaon; Euro International School, Sikar; St. Soldier’s School, Panchkula; and Stepping Stones, Chandigarh. The startup has also partnered with one of the leading publishing houses, Pearson.
After the launch of KUBE, the startup is looking to generate sales of 500 units per month from the retail segment. The MRP for this product is Rs 2,499.
We have generated most sales from tier 1 cities of North India till now. We were a whisker away from hitting a revenue of Rs 1 crore during the last financial year. In this year, we have already clocked the revenue of last year in the first half of 2016 and expect to close the financial year having quadrupled the number,” says Yuvraj.
With two offices — one in Gurgaon and the other in Chandigarh — KOMPANIONS has an employee strength of more than 30. Geographically, the plan is to expand to South, East, and Central India by the end of this year, and enter the Middle East by next year. An addition of two educational products and doubling the team by the year-end is also in the pipeline.
A sneak peek at the market
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, India holds a very crucial place in global education, with more than 1.4 million schools and 227 million students enrolled. When it comes to e-learning, India is considered the second largest market after the US. India’s online education market is expected to grow to $40 billion by 2017 from the present $20 billion.
The edtech startup space has witnessed a couple of investments in the past few months. Toppr raised Rs 65 crore in May, Vedantu raised $5 million from Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management, and Simplilearn raised $15 million in April this year. In May 2016, Prepathon, a learning app for competitive exams from PaGaLGuY announced an undisclosed amount of funding. Byju’s raised $50 million from the Chan Zuckerberg initiative and others in September.