Centrum Group's private equity fund Kalpavriksh, on Wednesday, announced it had invested Rs 20 crore ($3 million) in Littlemore Innovation Labs Pte Ltd. The Singapore-headquartered startup has developed and deployed a digital and paperless written examination ecosystem, specially designed to cater to the Indian education market.
The startup said the solution had already been implemented in public and private universities in India, with over 400,000 mid- and end-semester exams delivered.
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Founded in August 2010 by Srikanth Ganesan, Tathagata Guha Roy, and Anand Padmanabhan, Littlemore Innovation Labs aims to provide digital and scalable solutions to conduct paperless descriptive exams online.
The company has designed a writable tablet called DigiTaal, and a cloud-based software called PEXA that can be used to conduct end-to-end paperless examinations, which several universities in India have already implemented.
DigiTaal is a writable device that uses a stylus, and provides a paper-and-pen-like experience for written examinations. PEXA is a cloud-based, secure examinations ecosystem that covers the entire examination process, from setting the question-paper, authenticating candidate information, to the actual writing of the examination, assessment process, and even publishing of examination results.
A pictorial representation of DigiTaal
The startup notes the combination of PEXA and DigiTaal solution has taken away the limitations of the current computer-based, or scanning-based assessment solutions - which have either relied on scanning paper answer-sheets, or have been able to use only multiple choice questions, or use a keyboard input - none of which is amenable to using mathematical notations or drawings / illustrations required for medicine, engineering or even high school biology. PEXA and DigiTaal can be integrated with any university's back-end enterprise software.
Srikanth, Founder & CTO of Littlemore said,
Having recognised the unique challenges Indian universities face with written examinations, I scoured the world for a suitable device or a solution - and realised there wasn't any. Along with my technology colleagues, we designed and created PEXA + DigiTaal. We have engaged with the Kalpavriksh team for a while now, and what gives us great comfort is that we are aligned on how we want the company to grow, so we have a lot to benefit from this partnership.
Anand Sudarshan, Chairman of the Board for Littlemore and an education sector veteran believes that PEXA and DigitTaal can be applied to more educational use cases, and to sectors beyond education. He said,
PEXA + DigiTaal is an innovative solution for universities which would transcend geography, go beyond examinations to become a broader education tool, while remaining language-agnostic. The core technology competencies built by Littlemore, and the patents that have been applied for, mean that additional applications may be possible in other sectors besides education over a period of time.
Giri Krishnaswamy, CIO of Kalpavriksh
Kalpavriksh is Centrum's maiden PE fund which invests in high-growth unlisted companies in consumer, education, technology, healthcare and wellness sectors. Littlemore is the third investment by Kalpavriksh. Talking about why they invested in Littlemore, Giri Krishnaswamy, CIO of Kalpavriksh said,
We liked Littlemore's strong R&D focus that has combined the power of a custom-built hardware and a cloud-based software to provide a comprehensive, economical and yet an eco-friendly solution. We are delighted to partner with the Littlemore team and guide them in setting up a strong foundation, focus on execution and governance to support growth on a global scale.
The equity investment will be used for further research and development and expansion in South East Asia and the Middle East.
Website- Littlemore Innovation