This edtech startup is focusing on extracurricular activities for ‘holistic’ learning
Founded in 2021, edtech startup Ohana Academy aims to ensure the holistic development of children by honing real-life skills using extracurricular activities.
Over the years, schools have majorly focused on a set syllabus for subjects across languages, science, and social studies. While some also have facilities for physical training, music, and dancing classes as extracurricular activity, not all schools make it a major part of a student’s learning process.
Entrepreneur Saurabh Garg and Suyash Kothari, parents to a five-year-old and a two-year-old respectively, are addressing this market through.
Founded earlier this year, Singapore and Bengaluru-based Sivi Edutech, better known as Ohana Academy, is aimed at ensuring the holistic development of children aged 4-12 years by helping them develop real-life skills via extracurricular activities.
Speaking with YourStory, the founders — who have been friends for a long time — explain that the education system has become an important focus as their children are now looking to begin their educational journey.
“There are a few top-tier schools in metro cities looking at the holistic development of a student and place an importance on extracurricular activities but only some of us are privileged to access those. Both of us are from small towns and when we joined IIT Delhi, we realised the gap we share with other students from Tier-I cities,” Saurabh says.
At IIT, the duo realised that skills such as linguistics, communication, etc., are also critical. Having faced this problem personally, they want to ensure their children do not face a similar problem and are future-ready.
Ohana aims to become an education platform for students for “everything beyond school”. The founders want to make extracurricular activities and holistic development affordable and accessible for all.
At present, the startup offers live and interactive sessions across linguistics, arts and crafts, and health and fitness. It is looking to expand its offerings across many other sectors including emotional intelligence, social skills, among others.
“It is more of a Netflix kind of a platform where users pay a monthly subscription charge and students can access any number of classes,” Suyash explains.
According to the co-founders, 4-12 years is the formative period when a child gets to develop their own personality and explore their understanding of the world.
Ohana, which means ‘family’ in the Hawaiian language, is currently building a community that includes the students and their parents to connect with others across the world. It will also help them learn the culture and ways of others from a very young age.
“We are currently operating the entire community on Facebook but are working to build our own community platform. Generally, children only get to socialise with kids from their school or other educational institutes, or the neighbourhood. But through this community, they will be able to connect with students coming from different walks of life,” he explains.
Suyash adds that the startup provides a feedback report to parents after every class to report if the student liked it or not.
Business and more
Ohana claims to have around 5,000 users across India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, the US, and the UK. The startup has 50 teachers working on a contract basis.
Earlier this year, it raised pre-seed funding round and is now looking to raise a second round for further expansion.
The coronavirus pandemic led to an explosion in the online learning market. This also increased the demand for learning extra skills online and holistic development courses.
According to a study conducted by IIM Kozhikode, the Indian extracurricular market is projected to reach $5.8 billion in India in 2021. Other notable edtech players such as Yellow Class, Kyt, ClassBoat, among others are also operating in the extracurricular segment.
Speaking about the startup’s future plans, Saurabh says Ohana is currently looking to double its user base and have at least one million people as a part of its community in a year.
“In the long term, we are looking to create a digital-first holistic education curriculum. The idea is that while the parents send their children to any schools, they also subscribe to Ohana for 8-10 years. Once the students graduate from Ohana, they will be ready for life,” he signs off.
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Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta