[Startup Bharat] Teachers and students team up to build Coimbatore-based edtech startup for upskilling
Coimbatore-based edtech startup Amphisoft Technologies is aware that digitalisation is the key to industry 4.0. That’s why the next-gen tech startup is helping enterprises reimagine and reinvent their businesses for the digital age with an integrated portfolio of products, solutions, and services.
Launched in 2009 by a four-member team comprising two teachers, Dr R Pradeep Kumar and T Punitha, and two students, G Sivaramakrishnan and D Pradeep, the edtech startup now offers digital, cloud, automation, analytics, infrastructure management, and engineering services.
The four co-founders often teamed up when Siva and Pradeep were doing an engineering course at Sri Krishna College of Engineering and Technology in Coimbatore.
“We are fortunate to have been mentored by our teachers from our college days. Together, we worked on many government-funded and college automation projects. We often stayed at their homes to work on these projects, for days together,” Pradeep says.
Amphisoft, which calls itself a technology product startup, focuses on building engines to solve problems in the fields of education, agriculture, safety, and healthcare.
It claims its flagship product, E-Box, is the first indigenous learning platform in India.
“In the year 2009, the edtech industry in India was nascent, and Amphisoft was the first player to roll out a comprehensive learning management system (LMS),” Pradeep says.
E-Box is a comprehensive technology-enabled platform for learning, skilling, and assessments with objective-driven and auto-evaluation features.
Interestingly, Dr Pradeep and Punitha were initially looking at the name Amphibian to signify that the team and product could survive in all conditions. They zeroed in on Amphisoft due to the unavailability of the name and the domain.
The problem statement
Pradeep refers to two major problems India is facing at the moment: the huge dearth of employable graduates due to lack of skills and overall transformation, and a large number of unskilled engineers in the industry.
Application of knowledge requires skills and skilling requires practice-oriented learning, which needs automation and - more importantly – auto evaluation. This is where E-Box, built with multiple evaluation components over an LMS base, comes in.
“There is a skill gap in application of knowledge towards building zero-defect products, and this skill gap is bridged through tech-enabled, practice-based learning with E-Box,” Pradeep says.
The value proposition, Pradeep says, is that the curriculum is based on learning and practice, and automation of several components in computer, electrical, and mechanical sciences.
After ideation and design of skilling programmes, the startup creates course packages and modules. The programmes are then rolled out and go through the operations team, with on-demand and live courses. A live support desk is available to learners, and engagements with learning components are also live.
After verifying and assessing learners based on participation, performance, and proactiveness, the team passes on the learning data to corporates for hiring.
The model and revenues
The team built E-Box 1.0 between 2010 and 2013. with a million lines of code. The annual revenue was meagre, around Rs 5-10 lakh, and just enough to cater to expenses and salaries.
In 2013, the product reached a point where it created “just the right amount of disruption” to help corporates with mass skilling.
Pricing of the courses starts at Rs 1,200. E-box is at present used by colleges and schools; corporates partner with Amphisoft for hiring and to upskill employees.
Bootstrapped since the beginning, the startup’s total revenue touched Rs 30 crore between 2014 and 2019, with an average of Rs 7 crore during 2018 and 2019.
In 2019, the product stack evolved to E-Box 2.0 with six million lines of codes, catering to five talent transformation and management products.
"Today, we have the largest automated learning platform in the technology space,” Pradeep says.
The Amphisoft team is now 150-member strong. Clients include Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Lovely Professional University (LPU), and Anna University.
The road ahead
Pradeep says the startup is looking at aggressive expansion over the next few years and also plans to raise funds through venture capital.
The team is working on the next product evolution, E-Box 3.0, expected to be the first intelligent talent transformation box.
We offer a wide range of services to a huge customer base and plan to start five verticals: E-Box colleges, E-Box online services, E-Box Academy for training and skilling in colleges, T-Box for corporate talent acquisition, and S-Box for schools,” Pradeep says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)