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How this entrepreneur couple founded a curated marketplace for play-based learning material and toys

By Tenzin Norzom
August 18, 2021, Updated on : Fri Aug 20 2021 01:32:02 GMT+0000
How this entrepreneur couple founded a curated marketplace for play-based learning material and toys
Based in Gurugram, Purba Mazumdar and Siddhartha Nagar founded JoGenii to ensure that rote learning becomes a thing of the past for children across age groups in India.
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Women entrepreneur

Two years ago, when husband-wife duo Purba Mazumdar and Siddhartha Nagar moved back to their hometown Gurugram from the US, they got to see first-hand the difference in the education system between  the two countries. 

“The pre-school and daycare centres in the US as well as the kind of toys available in the market harnesses developmental skills and hands-on experience as opposed to the rote learning method that seems predominant in India,” Purba says. 

Not willing to compromise on her son’s learning and growth, and a wish to have the best for her son, led her on to the entrepreneurial path, and in December 2019, the couple founded JoGenii. The platform is a curated marketplace for play-based learning products, toys, games, and books for children of all age groups. This includes social and emotional skills, communication, and reading skills, among others.


Purba firmly believes that each child has a genius inside them. She explains that JoGenii is a portmanteau of the terms ‘Jo’ - a Scottish word meaning sweetheart - and ‘Genii’ which is the plural form of genius.


Women entrepreneur

Education space and the pandemic

An MBA from Mumbai’s S.P. Jain Centre of Management, Purba has worked in corporates like Tata Consultancy Services, and was working as a design manager at a healthcare startup when she decided to start JoGenii. 


Purba noted a lack of understanding of the early childhood education space in India ,and wanted to manufacture products and build a D2C market to enable a change in learning method. This was the idea till she came across many women like herself, who had felt a different approach in learning was necessary and had taken the entrepreneurial plunge and founded various learning tools and platforms as a solution. 


“A lot of women and educators were already working on various initiatives and products but were not getting visibility beyond their region. That is when I decided to bring them all in one space,” she tells HerStory. 


Starting by featuring five brands on JoGenii, Siddhartha adds that discovery, meaningful engagement, and feedback from customers become a problem even when they are present on major ecommerce sites because these sites are not dedicated to the children's learning space.


Today, more than 80 brand partners featured on the platform are led by women entrepreneurs, making up for 90 percent of the products available on JoGenii. Like most edtech and learning-based companies, JoGenii tapped into the growth opportunity that the pandemic brought forth.


When the coronavirus-induced lockdown meant increased screen time for all students, parents were concerned about all the learning taking place online for an indefinite period. 

“We saw the market shaping up for us, and parents understanding the need for the kind of products that we offer for a quality early childhood education, especially for children younger than 6 years. So, the pandemic did help accelerate the business because we thought it would take at least two to five years to educate the market,” Purba shares. With pre-schools closed, recommendations among parents also grew.

So far, it has catered to over 10,000 customers and built a community of more than 25,000 people through their social media platforms. 


Purba also maintains that she wouldn’t strictly identify the brand as an education startup because it is more focused on building skills across age groups for children.

Skill building

(Products featured on JoGenii)

The roadblocks and market entry

For Purba and Siddhartha, who together bring 30 years of corporate experience, entrepreneurship meant they had to learn all the nitty gritties - right from shipping, logistics, and hiring to negotiating with all the big and small stakeholders. 


The duo is confident about the market opportunity that lies ahead: The pre-school and early education market in India was valued at $3,480 million in 2020, and expected to grow at a CAGR of 12 percent between 2021 and 2026, according to the International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group (IMARC). 


One of the key problems the brand faced initially was convincing the parents. Purva says while many competitors have come up in the children’s market (she declined to name them), most of them are focused on lifestyle products or they gradually pivot towards lifestyle products and services. 


To reach parents and convince them of their dedication to remain a curated marketplace for purely learning-based products, Purba and Siddhartha became consultant partners with many pre-schools. 


Moving ahead, the duo hope to bring more sustainable brands on board, and tap the domestic market further.



YourStory’s flagship startup-tech and leadership conference will return virtually for its 13th edition on October 25-30, 2021. Sign up for updates on TechSparks or to express your interest in partnerships and speaker opportunities here.


For more on TechSparks 2021, click here.


Applications are now open for Tech30 2021, a list of 30 most promising tech startups from India. Apply or nominate an early-stage startup to become a Tech30 2021 startup here.


Edited by Anju Narayanan

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