Edtech startup TruMath wants to make learning mathematics easy for studentsThimmaya Poojary
TruMath’s interactive learning app helps students from Class 8 to Class 10 get their basics right, be better prepared for competitive exams.
Noted German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss described mathematics as the “Queen of the Sciences” in the early 1800s. While the subject remains the worst nightmare for many students, it also lays a strong foundation for those who aspire to join institutes like the IITs and IIMs.
Sachin Gulati, an educator, noticed that many students had a weak foundation in mathematics. After a study of online education platforms, he spotted many gaps, and decided to create an interactive online education venture to better engage students.
He founded TruMath in 2016 as an online education startup focused on teaching mathematics to students between Class 8 and Class 10, and to make learning the subject more fun, creative, and impactful.
Sachin has been coaching students for IIT entrance examinations for the last two decades. A chemical engineer from Panjab University, his passion for mathematics led him to teaching, and he co-founded Knowledge Campus in Jalandhar in 2005 to teach mathematics to IIT aspirants.
He spent nearly two years developing the software, content, and the delivery mechanism for TruMath. The bootstrapped startup went live early this year, and started enrolling students.
Sachin says, “In TruMath, content is already available, and we are trying to channelise the entire process.” The key market differentiation is that it enables a two-way communication between students and tutors. “I have noticed that students who get selected for IITs come from particular strata of society; the other talent pool is not tapped because they do not get the right opportunity,” he says.
How it works
Under this model, students have to log in to online classes - either on the website or through the app - four to five days a week. Each class lasts around 50 minutes. It includes tutoring, tests, questions, and offers students the chance to have their doubts clarified, and get tutors’ feedback.
“The software that I have created enables an environment that is similar to a classroom,” Sachin says.
During the online sessions, question paper-like modules pop up on the screen; the students are expected to complete these within a stipulated time. After this, the student goes back to the tutorials.
The online education industry in India is expected to touch $1.96 billion by 2021, and the number of paid users is expected to touch 9.6 million according to a joint study by Google and KPMG. The school and 10+2 segment has numerous players, led by unicorn Byju's and others like Cuemath, Toppr, Vedanthu, mGuru etc. This is a hyper-competitive market with each jostling for market share.
According to Sachin, many players providing such services today lack interaction. He feels it is also important for students to know how much and when to study.
TruMath has also created an app for parents, which updates them on their children’s progress. Teachers can contact the parents on the progress of a child, and send monthly offline reports.
“The task of the teacher is not just to provide information but to make students think. This is how IIT exams are structured; students should have key conceptual understanding,” Sachin says.
TruMath has developed its own content; it is not necessarily part of the school syllabus as it prepares students for a list of competitive exams ahead. The startup is now in the process of applying for a patent for its various technology solutions.
TruMath services are priced at Rs 5,999 per annum, which Sachin says is just one-tenth of what is being charged by both offline and online education platforms. As of now, the platform has around 170 students who have paid for the course, while the subscriber base has crossed 2,000.
Sachin claims TruMath has a 100 percent retention rate, and has started approaching schools to avail its service. It plans to undertake vigorous digital marketing exercises and hold awareness programmes to increase its popularity.
The startup is eyeing being a collaborative platform where students and teachers come together. The platform wants to on-board as many high-quality teachers as possible and - given that it is an online model - reach is not an issue. TruMath currently has around 11 members, including teachers, the technical team, and sales personnel.
In order to give a personal touch to the whole process, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm built by Sachin enables TruMath to tune its content depending on the requirement of the students.
“Every child has his or her own learning pattern and there can be multiple answers to a question. Our software enables the right teacher is connected to the student,” Sachin says.
TruMath’s plan is to reach out to students who normally would not get access to the best teachers or content due to various reasons - it could be high fees, their location in Tier II or Tier III cities, or just lack of good teachers.
“So many children want to go through the rigour of learning mathematics, but are constrained due to various reasons. The company’s model aims to break all these barriers,” Sachin says.
As part of its future plans, TruMath is looking for partners who will enable it to grow its business. “After the schooling model, I will come out with a complete online package for the IIT-JEE examination, which will be priced one-tenth of what is charged by the institutes,” Sachin says.