This woman entrepreneur aims to make children future-ready by introducing them to STEM, robotics
Dimple Verma terms her foray into entrepreneurship as a “happy accident”. The Ludhiana-based entrepreneur is the co-founder of Whizrobo, a complete ecosystem that offers products, training, and organises competitions in Robotics, IoT, and artificial intelligence (AI) for young minds.
“I have a master’s degree in computer applications, which helped me cultivate my children’s interest in technology. My son, specifically, was interested in new tech innovations, and I have always wanted to develop a happy medium for my children to grow up learning and understanding the sciences,” she says.
Her son, Aryaman Verma, received many awards for developing a “line follower robot” at the age of nine.
This thought became the turning point for Dimple to start a robotics institute, where she could create awareness on STEM education by introducing robotics to children. Her husband Naveen is a distributor of IT products and the software-hardware combination of experiences led to the couple starting Whizrobo (Institute of Robotics Science & Technology) in 2016.
“Artificial intelligence and automation are the buzzwords of today. Our learning platform enables K-12 students to be future-ready through STEM and robotics education. This realisation pushed me to become an entrepreneur,” she says.
All for STEM and STEM for all
Whizrobo sets up robotics labs, clubs, organises training sessions, workshops, Olympiads, and competitions at the national and international level, and also offers robotics kits. Its products and services are offered to both B2B and B2C segments.
Robotics courses include STEM, Mechatronics, Coding & Programming, Electronics, Circuit Designing, IoT, AI, APP Development, 3-D Printing, and Model Rockets.
Dimple says Whizrobo’s USP is its customised age-appropriate robotics kits, which are cost effective and help in practical learning of science and mathematics. It also helps set up Robotics Labs and Clubs for K-12 students in schools.
Whizrobo has partnered with Shanghai PartnerX Robotics, a leading robotics training company that owns the Abilix Educational Robot brand, the first sophisticated technology enterprise specialising in educational partner-robots in the world. The startup is authorised to set up Abilix Robotics Labs, clubs, provide training, workshops, and organise competitions across India.
Partnerships and accolades
The startup is also the authorised channel partner for Punjab with AVM Infotech India Pvt Ltd, listed vendor for Niti Aayog for setting of ATL Labs across India. Whizrobo is a member of the Intel Technology Program for introducing AI in schools all over Punjab and Chandigarh.
“We have trained more than 10,000 students in over 20 schools in Punjab and Chandigarh, and have successfully set a benchmark in producing record holders. We have positioned ourselves in leveraging technology by working at grassroot level by catching them young,” Dimple says.
Its students have been winners at many national and international competitions like the World Educational Robotics Competition held in Shanghai in 2016, South Asia’s biggest robotics competition in New Delhi in 2017, and many others.
Aryaman, in the meanwhile, has won World Robotics Championships, bagged India Book Records thrice, and was selected by ISRO for the Young scientist program for mentoring at Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad. He also developed a drone, which won recognition from different quarters. Now in Class X, Aryaman recently developed Shudhvayu - an air purifier with four vents that earned him a place in the India Book of Records.
Whizrobo is totally bootstrapped and runs on a subscription model, which differs for B2B and B2C clients. The couple initially invested Rs 10 lakh in the company and have clocked Rs 90 lakh in revenue in 3.5 years.
Recently, Dimple got an opportunity to participate in a women edtech cohort organised by Qualcomm.
“Attending the virtual programme gave me a well-planned crash course in addressing the issues inherent to being an entrepreneur. The mentorship programme addressed the challenges specific to my industry. Sessions with industry experts from Qualcomm, VCs, and angel investors brought a lot of insights and helped me to prepare a pitch deck for the future. I was able to also interact with other super-talented women entrepreneurs who are doing excellent innovation in their fields,” she says.
According to Dimple, its only major competitor is LEGO, which has a global presence. “My strategy is to reach a serviceable market size and then scale up to North India, where there are hardly few players,” she says.
COVID-19 has seen the startup develop a complete ecosystem comprising an online learning model and customised robotics kits.
My plan is to put my business operations on autopilot mode and develop my R&D and bring quality innovations, which can be used as real-life solutions. I wish to reach out to millions of students globally to scale up my venture to the next level,” Dimple says.
She also has some profound advice for other women entrepreneurs.
“Be open to the opportunities your life brings you. They may come disguised as challenges, but take them on even if you are not prepared. It is important to be ready to learn, to innovate, and keep an open mind. Also, have a good support system, someone who can see your vision and help you achieve it.”
Edited by Megha Reddy