Meet the edtech startup that wants to make learning fun by rewarding students who study
In a world that rewards adults for paying credit card bills, staying in hotels, flying, and shopping, can’t children be rewarded for doing their primary job? Gurugram-based Extraclass aims to motivate students with rewards for studying by measuring the effort, not the outcome.
Launched in 2017 by Persainjit Singh, Prakash Gupta, and Swati Gupta, the social online learning platform curates services for students, parents, and teachers to thrive.
“The basic problem majority of parents struggle with is the lack of motivation and interest in kids towards studying. We have tried to solve this problem by creating a gamified reward system-based learning application that links students' efforts to emoluments,” says Persainjit Singh, CEO and Co-founder.
The startup is designed to meet the individual needs of a diverse student audience and bridge the gap between learning and mastering concepts by understanding a student’s capabilities and interests.
The Extraclass app, presently available for Android, helps students prepare for school, college, and competitive entrance exams, including engineering, medical, foreign university admission, management entrance, and government jobs.
The platform also empowers parents with necessary information to guide children, and enable them to measure effort and not just outcomes.
The Extraclass USP
“Do you remember your parents telling you that if you score higher in exams we will get you a cricket bat or a doll set etc.? Extraclass does that in a structured manner to recognise efforts and reward hard work,” Persainjit tells YourStory.
The startup provides free learning content to anyone between the ages of 5 and 25 years. With the app, students can start studying for free using the animated videos and infographic study material, which aims to make learning more thought-provoking, accessible and enjoyable. It offers video lectures, practice question banks, and adaptive assessment and test series. The company aims to make education more accessible, free, and promote self-study.
Students can collect coins for every minute they spend studying, and ultimately use them for snacks, accessories, movie tickets, etc. Could a child need any more motivation?
Extraclass, which claims to have 3,000 teachers on its platform, charges for services like home tuition, counselling, admission guidance, etc.
“We embrace the power of technology to plug gaps in the traditional learning structure, ensuring that all students get a chance to succeed,” Persainjit adds.
The dream team
Persainjit and Prakash, the COO, graduated from IIT-Bombay in 2006 with a BTech degree in civil engineering.
Persainjit worked at Schlumberger oil services for more than one year and then moved to AT Kearney where he worked as a management consultant till 2017. Persainjit invested in Plaksa coaching institute, founded by Prakash Gupta in 2008, and that led to the idea of Extraclass.
Prakash, on the other hand, after his graduation pursued his passion for teaching mathematics to students aspiring for JEE exams. For a couple of years, Prakash taught math at Bansal Classes and Resonance, both in Kota, and then moved on to become the founding director and HOD mathematics at Motion Institute. In the last 12 years, Prakash has helped more than 10,000 students in chasing their dream of getting into IIT.
Swati, who graduated from Delhi University in 2011, is a serial entrepreneur. She runs an event management company and has invested in beauty startup Vanity Cube, which was acquired by VLCC. She leverages her experience in managing Extraclass’ customer relations and supporting business development efforts.
Extraclass has a dedicated team of more than 25 employees at present.
Focus on educational content
Persainjit says: “Our measure of success has always been the time spent by students studying on our platform. Therefore, our constant focus is on improving the educational content and providing the best resources and support to students.”
He adds that educating parents to increase the adoption of technology to aid learning outcomes is another issue close to their heart.
According to Persainjit, India’s education market is projected to be $101 billion in 2020 with approximately 550 million Indians below the age of 25.
Rising aspirations and failing quality of mainstream education have resulted in 71 million out of 315 million school-going students opting for tuition classes. India’s private tuition market is slated to grow from $16 billion in 2017 to $25 billion in 2020. Indian parents spend 11-12 percent of their family income towards tuition fees, he says.
“Our product is getting positive feedback and acceptability from both B2B (school/institute) and B2C (students). We have signed up more than 25 coaching institutes across India along with Andhra Pradesh government schools. Our revenues have grown by more than 100 percent in the first quarter of FY20,” Persainjit states.
In FY19, Extraclass claims to have generated more than Rs 75 lakh in revenues with over 1.5 lakh subscribers.
The market and the future
Extraclass competes with the likes of Ratan Tata-backed Khan Academy, Unacademy, Toppr, Byju's Learning, Meritnation and NeoStencil among others.
But the startup is unfazed. In the next five years, the team aims to become a household name for every student studying and preparing for any exam. It hopes to cater to two million students every year.
“We will continue our efforts to build engaging content, which will not only increase our addressable market size but will also enable our services team in improving the conversion percentage of free users into paid subscribers,” Persainjit says.
The edtech startup, which has secured close to Rs 3 crore from various angel investors, aims to raise capital of $2 million from institutional investors to fuel its scale-up plans.
The company’s goal for 2019 is to experiment and validate various service models in Delhi-NCR, which can then be rolled out to other cities.
“In the next couple of years, we plan to be in 12 metro centres,” Persainjit says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)