[Startup Bharat] This scientist-turned-entrepreneur is digitally empowering over 100 schools in India, Middle East
Saiju Aravind, former Assistant Director of Naval Designs in the Indian Navy and Head of Wind Tunnel Facility at Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), started his entrepreneurial journey in 2014. However, Saiju calls himself an ‘accidental entrepreneur.’
Saiju’s son Krishnadas was not performing up to the mark in school, and was neither prepared nor willing to appear for his Class 12 board examinations. With not much time in hand, Saiju decided to take a non-conventional approach to help his son prepare for his exams.
Saiju started researching the science behind learning, memorising, and analytical thinking, and formulated methods that helped grasp concepts faster, and retain and recall efficiently. This learning method not just helped his son clear the board exams, but also helped him clear the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).
This led to the birth of EduBrisk in 2014. It is an edtech startup offering its products and services to CBSE K12 schools across Kerala and the Middle-East. ICSE schools were soon added to the portfolio. The startup also got backing from Singapore-based Emerge Ventures, which got interested in the idea.
Today, EduBrisk has more than 100 school partners across India and the Middle-East.
Meet the team
Saiju is a post-graduate from IIT Delhi. He joined DRDO as a Senior Scientist and has taught Hydrodynamics to BTech and MTech students of CUSAT and Andhra University. He has also written a book titled ‘Learners of Life’, and has authored 15 international research papers in the field of science and technology.
Saiju has also won the Startup Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 award from TieCon, Kerala Chapter. He is the winner of Cochin Herald Business and Leadership Awards, 2018, and International Achiever’s Conference Award for the fastest growing company in India and Bangkok, 2017.
EduBrisk currently has 250 professionals in its team. It has established knowledge hubs in Kochi, Bengaluru, and the Middle-East. Along with his dedicated team of teachers, subject experts, pedagogists, and software professionals, Saiju has trained thousands of teachers in UAE, Malaysia, India, and Qatar on the Neurophysiology of Learning and the Science of ICT-based differentiated teaching and Inclusive Education.
“The content and process are generated in-house, but the software development unit consists of an in-house team, along with technology partners who are also investors in the company,” says Saiju.
How does it work?
EduBrisk uses neuroscience-based learning techniques. “The platform has a unique artificial intelligence algorithm that provides horizontal and vertical integration of topics across subjects and curriculums. Its analytics-based intervention and a common knowledge bank is the first of its kind,” Saiju explains.
Apart from students, Edubrisk also upskills teachers. Students and parents may independently access the site, and it has school coordinators who intimate all their requirements.
“These requirements are then allotted to our content development, software, and teacher-training teams. We conduct and enable online classes through a third-party application and provide our platform to teachers, students, and parents,” Saiju adds.
EduBrisk offers programmes including STEP (School Teachers Empowerment Program), SCOrE (Student Curriculum Oriented Empowerment), PALM (Parents as Life Mentors) and a Three R (Results, Reputation and Revenue) programme to school owners. Its platform consists of software tools, content, and the process.
“Our deliverables are hand-woven for teachers by equipping them with tools and content that can homogenise a classroom,” Saiju says. It also provides an advanced diagnostic tracking system that makes SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis possible for students, and accordingly pitch concepts and topics at their level.
The story so far
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the education sector has been trying to go digital. While most edtech players focus on empowering students and helping them with live classes and sessions, not many are thinking much about the existing schools and teachers.
EduBrisk offers a platform to schools, teachers, students, and parents to provide the total virtual classroom environment. The integrated teaching-learning platform connects all stakeholders in the education system to standardise the teaching and learning process and enable to make it more structured.
Since the beginning of COVID-19, the demand for its service has shot up in Qatar and the UAE. Subsequently, Indian schools followed suite. The platform recorded 500 teachers coming online and teaching around 30,000 students in just two weeks’ time.
Headquartered in Kochi, EduBrisk has a wide presence in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal, and many schools in Dubai and Qatar. It has partnered with more than 100 schools, has 5,000 teachers, and has on-boarded one lakh plus students.
EduBrisk is also recognised by the Ministry of Industrial Policy and Promotion under the Startup India programme. It is also recognised by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Government of Dubai, and heads the Inclusive Education Programme in schools across Middle-East for complying the requirements set by the IE Government.
While EduBrisk has been proliferating to North-India, it plans on having zonal Centres soon to provide contact classes and quality monitoring, along with personalised teaching to overcome linguistic and Board related barriers.
It has three pricing models for schools: Silver - Rs 100 to Rs 200 per student, per month. Gold - Rs 200 to Rs 400 per student, per month; and Platinum - Rs 300 to Rs 500 per student, per month.
Some of its school partners include GD Goenka Public School in Bihar and Siliguri, Triumph World in Bengaluru, Guardian Public School in Kochi, Bishop Periera Memorial in Trivandrum, Indian School in Ajman and National Central School in Adoor.
So far, the startup has raised over Rs 17 crore through firms, family, friends and promoters. It raised its first round from Emerge Ventures, and raised its following rounds from Chandra Ambadipuri, MD of Clairvoyant, USA, and the Chairman of Xotic Ventures. EduBrisk’s tech partner Feathersoft Info is also an investor in the startup. Its Board of Directors consists of Sam Santosh, the Chairman of SciGenom and MedGenome, and Mahesh Pratapneni, Founder of Emerge Ventures.
EduBrisk says it has recorded a gross revenue of Rs 3 crore in India since the launch of its product, out of which Rs 1.2 crore was clocked this year.
“We are in talks with school managements that control school chains across India and expect to cross Rs 20 crore this financial year,” Saiju says. The startup operationally broke even last financial year. “We are planning to subsidise the product for it to go pan-India and we see the company going cash positive in 18 months,” he adds.
Market overview and future plans
A study by KPMG in India and Google, titled ‘Online Education in India: 2021’ suggests that India’s online education market is set to grow to $1,96 billion with around 9.6 million users by 2021. In fact, primary and secondary supplemental education will be the largest category by 2021 and at $773 million, growing at a CAGR of 60 percent.
On the B2B front, EduBrisk competes with the likes of Tata Class Edge, Teach Next, and Mypedia Pearson. In the B2C space, it competes with the likes of BYJU’S, Toppr, and Unacademy. According to Saiju, EduBrisk’s holistic methodology is what sets it apart from other players in the market.
EduBrisk is on the verge of finalising a deal which proposes $5 million investment through FDI.
“We will be using the funds for marketing and scaling the operations,” Saiju says. Additionally, the edtech startup is planning to partner with 1,000 more schools and thus, increasing the revenue by at least Rs 50 crore in the next 18-months.
Edited by Megha Reddy