[Startup Bharat] Gradeazy allows educational institutes to conduct online exams at just Re 1 per student

Surat-based edtech startup Gradeazy offers an intuitive performance assessment platform that all institutes can use to conduct any kind of examinations, from MCQ to subjective tests.
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Surat-based Dishant Gandhi and Alok Kumar launched edtech startup Gradeazy in September 2018 to provide analytics about students’ performance in schools, tuitions, or competitive tests. However, the startup shut down a year later the founders ran out of capital and expertise.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent accelerated digitisation in the edtech space presented the duo with another opportunity.

The former OlxJobs product and tech employees officially relaunched Surat-headquartered Gradeazy in June and pivoted from their initial vision to help educational institutes switch to the smarter and efficient way to conduct online examinations for just Re 1 per exam.

Speaking to YourStory, Dishant says, “ Even after a decade of digital transformation, we still do not see local institutes adopting online exam platforms. Ironically, it takes only Rs 7/km to reach Mars, but institutes pay Rs10-15 for every student attempting an online test.

"After researching, we found three major pain points, including poor UI/UX, no vernacular support, and high costs. We decided that we wanted to do something about it and Gradeazy was born.”

The co-founder says the edtech startup has managed to bring down the cost to just Re 1 per student attempt by using the latest technology. It aims to earn revenue not by charging high prices from one institution, but by lowering the prices enough for more education institutes to switch to an online exam process using Gradeazy.

Illustration: YS Design

Taking tests online

Gradeazy offers an intuitive performance assessment platform that institutes of all sizes can use to conduct any kind of exams, from multiple-choice questions (MCQ) to subjective tests. It also provides additional add-ons such as question banks and white labelling at an additional cost if the institute requires.

According to Dishant, the startup is targeting educational institutes of any size to conduct practice tests, assignments, and any other tests online through Gradeazy’s platform. It is reaching out to institutes via digital marketing.

Institutions can create an online test within minutes as the platform has been designed with inbuilt speech to text functionality, which allows teachers to create tests using just their voice and do not need to spend time typing everything out. They can also simply snip any document and convert them to text and formulas

He adds that the startup supports more than 15 languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Urdu, German, and French. It is also a mobile-responsive platform; students can simply use it from their phone’s chrome browser and need not install any app. 

There are no limits on the number of students who can take the exams at one time and number of exams or tests conducted by one institute, making it an unlimited platform. 

“Apart from this, the platform will also provide detailed analytics for every exam or for individual students. It uses machine learning for analysing class performance for a test and uses the data to guide students. Our reports can be easily customised to be uploaded to existing ERPs or send texts to parents from messaging platforms,” Dishant says.

Speaking about starting up in Surat, he explains that business has always been a core value in Gujarat and Surat has “great infrastructure and connectivity”. He adds that while people in Surat have higher per capita income much like Tier I cities, the cost of living is comparatively lower than metro cities such as Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai.

Business and more

The startup operates on a pay-as-you-use credit model where institutes need to pay Rs 1 for each student taking one exam. 

“For instance, if you want to conduct a physics test of 100 students, all you need to do is get a Rs100 recharge done and that’s it. No need to worry how many students you will have in the entire session or how many tests do you plan on conducting or about credits expiring every month. We offer some free credits to the institutes so that they can try our platform before they actually pay for it,” Dishant says.

Gradeazy has also recently launched an unlimited test pricing model, which allows institutes to conduct as many tests they want for a fixed set of students and subjects. Institutes can also buy question banks on a yearly basis for a subject at just Rs 1,000. Its white-labelled portal is available at Rs 5,000 per year.

The bootstrapped startup has been incubated at NIT-Surat-based tech incubator ASHINE (Association for Harnessing Innovation and Entrepreneurship) and was also recently chosen to be part of JITO JIIF’s first cohort of startups in September.

COVID-19 has provided a huge fillip to the edtech market and resulted in all educational institutes and private tutors to switch to online methods overnight. Several other notable players, including such as VirtualX, Papershala, and Edbase among others, enable institutes and corporates to conduct exams online.

Gradeazy claims to have on boarded over 80 institutes, including St Xavier’s College (Mumbai), Resonance (Vijayawada), ITI (Surat), and NIT Surat. The startup has already conducted more than 25,500 subject test attempts with over 2,200 students since June. 

The edtech startup is now working on a low-cost online proctoring solution for institutes to change how online exams are conducted.

“We are also working to add support for specially-abled students. We will soon be working on an AI-based test generator for institutes to ease out the process of test creation even further. We also plan to go B2B2C with few products already lined up,” Dishant said.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai