[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Prerna Jhunjhunwala of Creative Galileo on steering storytelling through her learning app
Building a learning platform has been a passion for Prerna A Jhunjhunwala as she has seen first-hand how education can help people move ahead in life.
“My father owned jute factories, and those were sick units at that time with the CPIM [Communist Party of India (Marxist)] in Bengal. We used to spend a lot of time in these safety units. I was just 12 years old back then and I realised how education could be such a big equaliser as you move ahead in life,” recalls Prerna.
Started in July 2020, her e-learning apphas recorded over four million downloads and claims to have over five lakh monthly active users.
“Creative Galileo is India's first character-focused children's early learning app. It focuses on children from the age of three to 10 years, and it takes children through learning journeys by bringing together some of their most favourite characters,” she says.
“We have great partners like Amar Chitra Katha—digitised versions of storybooks that I actually grew up reading—Shemaroo stories of Ganesha and Krishna, Periwinkle, which has great e-learning content available. It is a package that ensures that the learning universe for children is gamified,” Prerna adds.
Her journey to launching the e-learning platform has been a long one. Prerna went to NYU Stern (School of Business), and eventually landed in Singapore where she started her own preschool. “Over the next five years, we scaled and had 600-700 kids in our school,” shares Prerna.
The entrepreneur then realised that she could reach only about 10,000 to 15,000 children via her brick-and-mortar setting. She, however, had dreamt of teaching millions. This nudged her to make a successful exit from her preschool and to start her own edtech journey.
Creative Galileo is not an individual-character driven platform; it’s an amalgamation of characters like Singham to Shaktimaan. The app focuses on the six learning domains of the child: numeracy, language, discovery of the world, gross motor skills, and social and emotional development.
“In the first six months, we saw a million downloads, and we had not done any marketing. It was a complete word-of-mouth popularity,” adds Prerna.
Raising capital is difficult for women founders.
About 94 percent funding goes to male founders and 6 percent women founders. “So, my simple maths is to look at the numbers: You have to be 94 percent better than male founders,” asserts Prerna.
As she made the transition from the physical business world to the world of a tech-enabled business, her first question was whether she would be able to replicate the same kind of success in a male-dominated tech world. Her advice to women is to stand in there with the confidence that you are there because you deserve to be there.
She says, ”When you are in a room full of men and you know that you did everything to be in that room and that you deserve to be in that room, that sense of power and confidence can make all the difference."
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti