This social platform wants to inculcate a love for books and make reading rewarding for children
In a world where children are now attending school online, the charm and value of reading books is fast declining.
Aware of this sad truth, Richa Sethi quit her lucrative corporate profession to make the habit of reading accessible and attractive to young, independent readers. She began by hosting children’s literature fests, and creating exclusive content for Tata Sky, aimed at inculcating writing skills in children.
In 2018, she launched Mumbai-based GetLitt! as a social community platform.
GetLitt! offers children between the ages of 7 and 14 years access to the best of children’s books from over 25 globally acclaimed children’s publishers, for a subscription fee of Rs 300 per month/Rs 2,700 per year.
“It was our passion to create a space for children where they could easily access the best stories. We began with an initial investment of Rs 20 lakh through which we created a secure platform for storing books licensed from publishers, and designed a gamified space to encourage reading and self-expression through reward points,” Richa says.
A bookish community
Richa has more than 20 years of experience in the startup and FMCG space. A graduate of MDI, Gurgaon, and an NLP Practitioner, she has been a business mentor with Technoserve Foundation USA and the Cherie Blair Foundation UK, and worked with Philips Electronics Limited previously. When it came to launching her own venture, she combined her knowledge with her desire to empower children to create their own stories.
Her vision was to facilitate a community that encouraged children to upskill their language and communication abilities, through constant motivation.
GetLitt!’s website and app gives users access to multitudes of books, and lets them participate in numerous book-related activities. They also have opportunities to attend global programmes like Reading Olympiads, Virtual Museum Hunts, and an exhaustive language arts curriculum designed specially by a team of in-house experts and authors at GetLitt!
Richa says, “We have seen stable growth in the first year of operations and our customer base grew by 5X in the last year. I believe this is because parents and schools were looking for literature and language resources to keep children meaningfully engaged.
"Our unique initiatives like the bi-annual Online Reading Olympiad, Masterclasses on topics like podcasting and lyric writing for a fee of Rs 2,999/- per module, and the complimentary access of our library to schools, have been received very well.”
GetLitt! Founder Richa Sethi aims to facilitate a community that encourages children to upskill their language and communication abilities, through constant motivation.
Slow and steady growth
One can access GetLitt! through its website and app that can be downloaded on Android mobile devices and Apple’s iPad. With a registration base of 12,000 users – 48 percent on the app and 52 percent on their website – the platform is clocking steady growth, but is yet to make money.
“We have not broken even as of now, but that has not deterred us. I prefer to measure our success in numbers of a different kind – we have created a platform for children boasting a curated list of over 700 of the best and latest children’s book titles, we have facilitated the reading of over 1.9 million pages by children of different ages, and we have received over 11,000 book reviews on GetLitt!
"We pride ourselves on being the only platform of its kind to provide an an in-depth open space for children around books, language arts skills, and a place to express themselves,” Richa shares.
The 11-member team based in Mumbai is a testament to their slow yet steady growth, and their commitment to making stories of all kinds accessible to children.
The efforts of the team at GetLitt! were recognised by the JioDeveloper GrowthPad programme. They were also the winners of the ‘Tech for Impact’ cohort at the Zone Startups Accelerator programme supported by the Bombay Stock Exchange, and were among the Top 10 Startups at the US India Business Council Summit of 2018.
Over the last year, GetLitt! has witnessed a surge in popularity around the world. The platform has struck a chord with children from countries like Canada, Dubai, USA, Hong Kong, UK, Singapore and Egypt. Though the majority of their users are of Indian origin, they hope to widen their user base to include other nationalities through their outreach partners.
The only stories on offer at the moment are those penned in English. However, vernacular versions are on the cards.
The GetLitt! platform lets children easily access the best stories in a gamified manner to encourage reading and self-expression.
What sets them apart
By aiming GetLitt! exclusively at independent readers, Richa hopes to inculcate a genuine love of reading from a young age, even if parents do not have the time to read to their children.
GetLitt! is gamified – there is a leader board and user progression is measured on the basis of points earned for every book read and reviewed, or upon successful completion of any activity. In about two months, they plan to offer a platform for children to publish their own books.
Vermeen Kapoor, Director at Barclays Bank, gifted a subscription of GetLitt! to her niece as a birthday present, with the hope of encouraging her to write. All praise for their writing programme, Vermeen says, “We used to wait to read her work and marvelled at how a gentle nudge could develop a child's talent!”.
Harinder Puri, a home-maker based in Hyderabad, says the platform’s constantly updated library proved the biggest attraction for her 10-year-old daughter – an avid reader who had been through most books prescribed for her age group in libraries she accessed earlier.
Their first Virtual Museum Hunt organised in May 2021 introduced children and their parents to the collections and stories of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, earlier known as the Victoria and Albert Museum in Mumbai.
Registered participants explored the space through the Google Arts and Culture website and deciphered clues to hunt for highlighted objects and stories.
GetLitt! organised a virtual museum hunt in May 2021 to introduce children to the collections and stories of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum.
The hunt was designed so that children would have ample time to learn about the collections on display and test their existing knowledge by unravelling the given clues. A minimal fee of Rs 100 per participant attracted many children, and encouraged the team at GetLitt! to host one every quarter.
Signing off, Richa says, “We pride ourselves on creating an active community for children, where they can express themselves while continually learning about varied language arts.”