This UK and Gurugram-based startup’s app helps schools, parents track the lifecycle of students
The product journey is a crucial part of building a niche for a startup. Several IT services businesses morph into product startups with the launch of a product that effectively solves a need. MASH Virtual, founded in 2016 in the UK and with an office in Gurugram, had a similar beginning when it came out with zamit last year.
"The vision behind zamit is to have a single-window platform where every stakeholder in the school ecosystem can connect and find information, resources, products, or service that they have a need for. It is a reliable platform that is interactive and user-friendly," says Aarul Malviya, Founder of Mash Virtual.
Zamit is an information, engagement, and networking platform that supports schools, students, teachers, parents, tutors, and service providers.
Aarul says that the product will take the nightmare out of school admissions and carries with it a student internship programme as well, which will create opportunities for upskilling and work experience for students, before they get into undergraduate programmes. He explains that this would allow them to choose subjects with better understanding when they enter college. Think of zamit as a student lifecycle management app that will make them ready for life.
Finding the gap in edtech space
Aarul studied in London, England, during his undergraduate years between 2013 and 2016. During his
university years, he realised that finding course information on university websites was a monumental task, and visiting different websites proved to be time-consuming and impractical. It was in 2014 that he conceived of the idea of creating an app that would make networking and information gathering easier for students and parents. Five years later, zamit started taking shape as an offering from Mash Virtual, an IT solutions and services firm.
"When we talk about the edtech space, there exist various products working with several technological interventions such as the smart class or a student curriculum management system. Other players in the market are bridging the skill gap by implementation of AI, vernacular learnings, personalisation, data science, and OTT education,” Aarul says.
He adds that zamit, on the other hand, is a mobile app that is available free of cost on Play Store. "It works like any other app. The information is updated twice a day and we are constantly working at upgrading and refining our technology to match or sometimes go beyond other apps to keep it user friendly, smart, agile and bug free," he says. The app has had 25,000 downloads so far.
The first customer for zamit was a school called Pragyanam, which wanted the startup to carry out a sponsored feature on the app. Currently, zamit is six months old and is being piloted in a few schools. Aarul does not want to disclose his startup's revenues or the amount that he has invested so far.
"Our business model will kick in when we have a hundred thousand users. Ads, sponsorships, service charges, online paid programmes, resources, and expert counselling are all options we are considering," says Aarul.
The startup plans to increase its user base through small activations and collaborations with relevant brands. It is also launching a new product, called the Zamit Centralised Admission Services.
“The objective of ZCAS is to simplify and standardise the admissions process for parents across the country. We are currently signing up schools for this service,” Aarul adds. This year, the startup is also targeting close to 1,000 kids for internship programmes. It is currently piloting it in one school.
The app's users are in Delhi and the NCR region currently. Aarul is saying zamit is different in that it is the first edtech solution where the end user is involved in the creation of the ‘product’.
"We do not compete with other engagement and interaction platforms. With zamit, we’re trying to get all school stakeholders together and create a reliable platform that is participative and user friendly. We provide resources, information, and a pre-vetted, age-appropriate, safe cyber platform that every parent can safely go to and know that their child is getting responsibly curated information, stories, activities, and challenges in the learning and entertainment space. The app provides a platform for schools to connect and find the best vendor without middlemen who may be unscrupulous," says Aarul.
According to the HRD Ministry there are more than 1.5 million schools in India with close to 270 million registered students. The size of the pie is large for Aarul and his 10-member team that helps students learn and track their work.
On future plans for the startup, Aarul says, “We need to ramp up the apps usage and sign up more than 100 schools. This is the plan in the next 18 months.”
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)