ByteLearn has created an intuitive AI tutor to help students with math problems
Launched in 2021, edtech startup ByteLearn uses artificial intelligence to help students “unstuck” on math problems.
The pandemic has caused a shift in the way education is imparted, especially for subjects that require one-on-one student-teacher interactions.
While teachers and students have done their best to adjust to these changing times, edtech startups have also risen to the occasion to provide assistance.
A new player in the edtech space, 2021-born, is an AI (artificial intelligence)-powered teaching assistant that helps students with maths problems, evaluates performance, grades tests, and enables them to learn any topic via its AI-powered tutoring engine.
Its founders, serial entrepreneurs Aditya Singhal and Nishant Sinha have been in the edtech space for more than 15 years and have founded several startups in the space to solve problems for students.
Their last startupwas founded by them in June 2019 and was acquired by Vedantu in February 2021. Instasolv instantly clears doubts in science and mathematics for Class VI to XII students, as well as for IIT-JEE and NEET aspirants. Students can find solutions on this platform simply by posting a photo of the question on the app.
Their latest startup, ByteLearn, helps ease pain points in online education.
“ByteLearn is like a brain which can create content, questions and can solve these questions. Teachers use it to create homework assignments. It goes to the students, who start solving those questions and wherever they are stuck, ByteLearn helps them to get unstuck,” explains Co-Founder Aditya.
“The AI tutor ByteLearn gets students unstuck but not in an answer format. So most of the other platforms give the final answer and students see whether their answer is right or not. We do it step by step,” he adds.
Additionally, the assistant builds a knowledge graph of students’ skills and analyses the gaps to assign grade or difficulty levels, providing actionable insights for the teachers to leverage.
The assistant does so by collecting data like which are the steps where students are faltering. The data is then passed to the teacher in the form of reports to help the teacher understand the strengths and weaknesses of the student.
ByteLearn also conserves a teacher’s time by up to 40 percent by assisting them in creating tests, quizzes, and homework on its platform, the company said in a statement.
“We are like a Tesla of education,” says Aditya.
The maths curriculum available on the platform is in a modular format and has been broken into micro pieces.
“Depending on which country we would like to implement the syllabus in, it's an easy job for the team just to gather the pieces in the way the syllabus is designed in that country, and the same content can then be leveraged for a different country,” says Aditya.
ByteLearn is currently running pilots in the US and is looking to expand to India in the next two to three years.
“By May or June we are looking at at least 100,000 teachers and a million students using the platform but we are not looking at monetising right now,” Aditya explains. “Monetisation will start probably in Q3 and Q4 of the financial year 2023. We are currently focusing on customer retention.”
In December 2021, the edtech startup raised a $9.5 million seed funding round which was led by 9Unicorns, Chiratae Ventures, and Leo Capital, and also saw participation from Venture Catalysts, Goodwater Capital, Earlsfield Capital, and Kettleborough VC, among others.
Meet the team
The AI-based edtech startup has been made in the parent-subsidiary format with the parent company based in the Silicon Valley in the US and a subsidiary in India.. The team in the US is responsible for the content, curriculum, and design of the product and consists of 10 members.
The team in the US includes Harvard alum Kitt Hirasaki, who has worked at the American non-profit educational organisation Khan Academy for seven years, and Charuta Joshi, Master Fellow at Math for America, who has spent 15 years teaching in the US while also creating curriculum for New York school districts.
The team in India is based out of Noida, Uttar Pradesh and has between 30 to 40 members who manage the artificial intelligence and machine learning work for the platform.
This team includes IIT Delhi alumni Dr. Ankur Narang who has over 26 years of experience with AI and data and IIT Madras alumni Dr Hari Sankar who is now the lead AI scientist at Bytelearn.
While working on Instasolv, the founders connected a lot of teachers with students on a live chat format in case of questions the answers to which were not available in question banks and help books.
This gave Aditya and Nishant an idea and they experimented with the live chat option for 2-3 months to realise that the engagement and retention of this specific cohort was 3-5x of the other students on the platform, given that Instasolv already had a high number, compared to industry benchmark in terms of engagement.
“That was a eureka moment for us,” says Nishant Co-Founder, ByteLearn. “That's when we thought, if we can build a live chat based platform where students can directly connect with teachers and get their query solved one on one that will be much more engaging for the students.”
Right after Instasolv was acquired by Bengaluru-based startup Vedantu, Aditya and Nishant started working on developing Bytelearn.
“When we started working on Bytelearn, we realised that scaling up something like that on a live chat platform will not be economically feasible because then you have to have to connect one student with one teacher,” explains Nishant.
“That is when we realised that let's solve this problem using machine learning in AI where we can mimic a live teacher on chat and the student can connect with that AI tutor or teaching assistant and get his query resolved. That's how the idea was born,” he adds.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti