This woman entrepreneur’s learning app for children hit 1M downloads in just 6 months
Prerna Jhunjunwala remembers her father asking her to address a gathering of 3,000 workers in his factory when was just 12 years old.
“While standing in front of them, I only remembered what my father taught me: to stay strong, never be afraid, and believe in yourself. Throughout my growing years, there are many such instances and experiences where I learnt hard work, team building, commitment, and dedication from my parents. When I look back, I realise that those were the best learnings during my growing years, and I use them in every aspect of my life,” she recalls.
Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs, Prerna grew up in Kolkata and New Delhi, where she completed her schooling. She later graduated from NYU Stern School of Business.
Passion for children’s education
A screen grab of the Littlel Singham app
When she moved to Singapore, Prerna started her first school, Little Paddington, with 60 children and 10 teachers. Today, she says it has over 600 children from over 60 nationalities and 140 teachers imparting the best knowledge through various pedagogies.
Her passion for learning new things and education since childhood led her to start Creative Galileo’s Little Singham app for children between the ages of three and eight last year.
“Having travelled extensively throughout India, I could never stop imagining about the great divide that existed. While Tier I cities had excellent access to higher education, Tier II and III cities lacked these facilities. This deprivation made me realise that good education is a privilege in India versus every child's right. Having seen this very early in my life, I made up my mind to work towards democratising education, making it accessible to children even in India's remotest parts,” she says.
She also points out to recent research that says 94 percent of children in Class 3 could not do basic English and math. She aims to change this scenario with Little Singham – Early Learning App by providing quality content and learning experience to children in their foundational years.
Prerna took advantage of the upheaval unleashed by the pandemic following which the education sector underwent a significant transformation. With the shutdown of schools, the sector saw a seismic shift in student e-learning and associated platforms and she saw an opportunity to create an e-learning app for young children.
She explains: “Our app is based on the popular kid’s character, Little Singham. Having had the closest exposure with children while building my school in Singapore, I realised that there has to be an additional hook that makes learning fun for children. For instance, our favourite subject in school also used to be the one with our favourite teacher. We decided to introduce their favourite characters as part of their learning where they can associate themselves with them and feel a strong connection.”
Strong foundation in learning years
While internationally, many apps focus on character-based early learning to make learning fun and engaging, for example, Peppa Pig, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and others, Prerna believes there is no such app in India that caters to foundational learning for children aged three to eight years while keeping it fun.
Little Singham offers a curated curriculum from award-winning creators for personalised and integrated learning.
“Our app is a character-based early learning app that focuses on ensuring children have a strong foundation in the six learning domains of numeracy, language, social and emotional development, motor skills, creative expression, and discovery of the world. These learning domains have been captured into themes consistent with learning videos, games and e-books, with a single unifying concept to help children learn and retain ideas,” she says.
Prerna is aided by Anunay K, who comes with 16 years of experience in building games and interactive digital platforms for children. He was associated with Walt Disney for eight years.
The app, free to download, targets children from the Indian subcontinent and is seeing downloads from Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In India, Prerna says, they have been seeing massive downloads from Tier II and III cities.
Prerna claims that within a few months, the Little Singham app saw a whopping one million downloads from all over India, with an average rating of 4.8 stars. It has also seen up to 200,000 monthly active unique users during this period.
Currently bootstrapped, the founders are in conversation with leading Indian VCs to raise funds.
“We believe Creative Galileo will become a universe of e-learning for children with multiple popular characters in the next five years. Our strategy is simple - penetrating the country's remotest parts and strategically selecting edutainment content that can offer crucial reinforcement for learning. We are eyeing 10 million downloads in the next 18 months, and adding regional languages.
“We are set to launch smart learning journeys that assess children's learning levels and plan out their activities to achieve their learning goals, providing parents with regular updates on their improvements,” Prerna says.