[Startup Bharat] Edtech platform BrainsPrep is offering online tuitions to school students in regional language
was started in 2017 by Rajeevan N (61) as a learning app for his coaching institute named Brains, which was started in 1977, to provide study materials to its students.
The app, which was developed as a side project by his son, Jithin Rajiv (24), a software development professional, got a good feedback from students who used it for their school exam preparation.
Around the same time, with the entry of Jio’s 4G network, Jithin and Rajeevan saw a huge potential for providing online video classes for students in Kerala. Jithin then discussed the idea of commercialising the app with his school friend, Vyshak K.
After some discussions, the trio officially registered the company under the name Microflik Technologies Private Limited, with an initial investment by Rajeevan.
Illustration: YS Design
Based out of Areekkad, a small town in Kozhikode, Kerala, BrainsPrep (Formerly BrainsApp) is a web and mobile-based school learning app providing live coaching, animated videos, study materials, doubt support, and individual tuition support for school students in their regional language. The subjects offered are Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, Hindi, English, History, and Geography.
“We aim to provide the best coaching at affordable price to students through our community-based learning platform, where any student can rely on us for their school learning, homework help, exam preparation, etc.,” Jithin tells YourStory.
The trio worked for more than a year to complete its initial video contents. After a year and a half, they moved to a separate space attached to the coaching institute.
“As we had less exposure to the startup ecosystem, we even moved to Kochi, Kerala’s startup hub, with the help of our mentor, Sijo Kuruvilla George (Founding CEO, Startup Village),” says Jithin.
However, the startup faced two challenges.
“As we were an online learning platform, we needed a strong panel of teachers in the initial days. The second challenge was that we required a dedicated office space for conducting , shooting, and editing our classes,” Jithin adds.
This made them return to Areekkad, where they had already built a strong network of teachers and content creators. They then moved from pre-recorded videos to offer interactive live classes.
The startup claims to offer everything that a student needs such as study materials, live classes taught by experienced teachers, instant doubt resolution, homework help, conceptual videos, and revision classes.
“Our core focus is on providing an affordable and easy-to-use platform that helps students to learn and easily prepare for exams. We are also the first Kerala Syllabus learning app, which was started in August 2017,” says Jithin.
Image credit: BrainsPrep
Focussed mainly on the state syllabus, BrainsPrep has over 20,000 registered users on its platform as of now. This includes school students and teachers from Kerala and a few students from the UAE (who are studying Kerala syllabus).
The startup charges Rs 299 per month or Rs 2,500 for a year, which covers most of its offering. It is also beta testing individual tuition through the platform with teachers and students across Kerala.
Students can register on BrainsPrep platform either through its app or website. After a week of enrolling, they can either upgrade to the premium plan or stay as a free user with limited features such as question banks, textbook solutions, and student teacher community.
BrainsPrep operates with the likes of edtech startups such as, , Classes, GoPrep, Live, etc. However, the BrainsPrep team claims that other edtech players do not focus on the state syllabus alone, and do not offer a solution to help students to easily prepare for their school exams.
A report by RedSeer and Omidyar Network India reveals that there has been an increase of edtech users - both paid and free unique users - in K12 and post K-12 segment, with the user base doubling from 45 million to 90 million between 2019 and 2020.
Jithin says, “Even though COVID-19 is a bane for many, it has helped many edtech startups like us to grow. We have helped many coaching institutes, which were closed due to the pandemic, to re-open virtually by providing our learning app to their students. We have helped many students and teachers across the state to learn and teach through our app.”
Image credit: BrainsPrep
The platform follows an exam focussed approach with daily live classes in regional language. It also has separate classes for English and Malayalam medium students. In addition to this, it offers mock exams and gives progress report in real-time.
The team claims to be seeing a 20 percent month-over-month revenue growth.
Reaching more students
With a team strength of about 20 people, the startup is currently serving only in Kerala, with most of its students from Tier II and III cities and rural areas.
Going ahead, the team wants to make its learning platform accessible to students from different states. It also wants to provide on-demand educational services through its app.