How Classplus aims to simplify tutoring, give students new-age classroom experience
The classroom management app helps tutors focus on nurturing students by eliminating time-consuming secondary activities such as creating quizzes, checking assessment, and tracking attendance logs.
At a glance
Founders: Mukul Rustagi, Bhaswat Agarwal
Year it was founded: 2017
Where is it based: Delhi
The problem it solves: The mobile-platform helps tutors save time on secondary activities and focus on teaching.
Funding raised: Raised undisclosed angel funding
According to a report by NSSO, India is home to the largest after-school tuition market in the world. Over 7.1 crore out of the 30-crore schoolgoing students take supplementary coaching classes every year. Majority of these coaching institutes are run with multiple batches of 25-30 students. In such a scenario, it becomes impossible for a tutor to be observant of every child's progress. Moreover, apart from teaching, much of the tutor’s time is spent on preparing and checking assignments, disseminating classroom information, and other activities.
Enter Classplus, an app that gives tutors the ease of managing a classroom at their fingertips, helping them invest more time in nurturing students.
Mukul Rustagi, CEO and Co-founder of Classplus, says, “The app has been created as a zero-typing product, keeping in mind its usability for middle-aged tutors. By a zero-typing product, we mean that a tutor requires minimal typing effort to use the product.”
The founder claims the UX of the product has been designed is a way that actions are either in the form of clicks or drag-drop for a tutor. Activities like creating schedules, assigning tests and tracking progress do not require the tutor to type anymore. Since these are high-frequency actions, it is unfair to expect the users to engage in a lot of typing. This is an attempt to facilitate an easier adoption going forward.
The platform enables tutors to carry out subsidiary activities such as sharing information, formulating and checking quizzes, generating personalised reports, sharing attendance logs, and helps keep parents in the loop.
Offering useful features such as online assignments, fee management of students, performance tracking and test reports, and live chat with the tutor, among others, the app has three different modes for tutors, students, and parents. Parents can log in using the parent mode and get mapped to their kids. Once activated, they are able to stay abreast of their child’s progress through notifications. Parents can also use the app to directly chat with tutor and have any queries solved.
Initially launched as XPrep in September 2015, Classplus has witnessed over 25000 downloads. The brand has partnered with coaching institutes and tuition centres, and is present across 10 cities in India including Delhi, Ghaziabad, and Agra, among others.
“The easy to use interface has made it simple for me to keep track of a large number of students, fees, attendance, etc,” says Gyanendra Singh, a tutor at Kgyan Institute.
Rewinding the backstory
Mukul Rustagi (26) and Bhaswat Agarwal (26) started Classplus (then known as XPrep) in September 2015.
“Bhaswat and I first bumped into each other in our IIT-JEE coaching classes, back in 2008, when we were in class XI. What brought us close was an episode that occurred around nine months prior to our JEE exam,” recalls Mukul.
Parents started to withdraw their children from the coaching centre, which had to be shut down eventually. This was a jolt for Mukul and Bhaswat as they din't know they would possibly crack the country’s toughest exam without any tutoring. Later, they got to know the reason — parents were unhappy and felt cheated in the absence of regular updates on how their children fared in the classes.
“We moved forward and slogged for the next few months. However, the trauma remained,” he adds.
By 2015, Mukul and Bhaswat started to toy with multiple ideas and pilots for a venture, but without success. They went ahead to do a thorough research and after spending several months around Kalu Sarai, Delhi’s largest coaching market hub, they recorded over 500 interactions with students to understand the gaps in the K-12 private coaching segment.
After accumulating numerous data points and a lot of brainstorming, they finally launched Classplus. Mukul is an IIT Roorkee alumnus and worked at Futures First for a couple of years while Bhaswat hails from NSIT and has worked with Microsoft before starting Classplus.
The duo was later joined by three batchmates and close friends — Bikash Dash, Vatsal Rustagi, and Nikhil Goel, who are also a part of the founding team. Bikash was earlier running a startup called JetSetClean.com while Vatsal is a DCE alumnus. Nikhil is an NSIT alumnus and was earlier working with Broadcomm.
India holds an important place in the global education industry. The country has more than 1.5 million schools with over 260 million students and about 751 universities and 35,539 colleges. Identifying the growing potential of the sector, numerous startups have entered the education sector to disrupt the space with the power of technology (popularly known as edtech startups).
According to YourStory data, since January 2017, edtech startups have raised $94.21 million through 34 deals as against $107 million across 46 deals in 2016.
Though the market is highly competitive, Mukul believes that their technology is simplified as per the needs of the tutor, and it will help them create a niche in the sector.
“A product-first, customer-centric approach is our venture’s DNA. We have to understand that the real power lies with users of our product — the tutors. They are non-millennial in nature,” adds Mukul
The platform believes that empowering the educators is key to strengthen India’s education sector. An easy-to-use technology can increase their output manifold and help them deliver personalised education, in the true sense, even within a classroom.
Backed by a team of more than 25 people, Classplus has raised an undisclosed first round of capital from Rising Stars, a Netherlands-based VC firm and other angel investors like Pallav Pandey (COO - Knowlarity) and Manish Amin. The brand is in talks to close a second round of funding soon.
The brand is generating revenues by offering premium membership. Mukul reveals that for a tutor to use the product, he/his institute has to buy the subscription model. Post that, the app becomes available for all the kids at his institute and their parents.
“Coaching institutes are the paying customers, making the product accessible to all the students/parents enrolled in their classes. 250+ coaching institutes have been our paying clients,” reveals Mukul.
Going ahead, Classplus aims to constantly work towards making the platform more assistive for tutors by identifying need-gaps of their students and improving their learning outcomes. Besides, the brand is looking to leverage AI and analytics for marking attendance logs, correcting quizzes, and understanding personalised learning curves. Mukul explains,
“By automating these, the platform would be able to do predictive analysis of a student’s grades and recommend content at micro-concept levels.”
“In a world that demands innovation, we are blending ambition, energy, science and customer understanding to create India's largest tutor-focussed company,” he adds.