Connecting classrooms to spread the good word

Connecting classrooms to spread the good word

February 6, 2017 | Business Line

 

B2B start-up models are enjoying growing faith among entrepreneurs and investors because they tend to become profitable at a faster rate than pure consumer-focussed businesses.

B2B start-ups typically rely on a strong product and the power of partnerships, which in turn seems to help them be conservative on spending, and even remain lean while pursuing growth. And in what seems to be a balanced combination of commercial growth and social impact, edu-tech start-up, Impartus Innovations is gunning for wider reach even in rural or inaccessible parts of the country, besides currently setting up teams in international markets.

‘Social good’ canvas

Amit Mahensaria, Co-founder, Impartus Innovations, says, “There are brick-and-mortar universities that may be hundreds of years old, and online players like Simplilearn, Udacity, Coursera. We know the pain points of traditional universities that have to compete. We’re the video platform through which institutes can serve their students.”

While language barriers and Indian languages should eventually be catered for, video-based learning can potentially benefit learners in conflict-torn or remote areas of India where teaching and other infrastructure is limited. Impartus is keen on connecting schools so that students from any part of the country can benefit from the same content. One key bridge to that reality would be to work closely with State governments.

“Just one hour of teaching by a software developer here, for example, can benefit 20,000 students when classrooms are connected. We’re already talking with State governments in Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Jharkhand on this,” Mahensaria shares.

Staying trim

Having raised under $5 million from Kaizen Private Equity a couple of years ago, the company is “well-funded for the India plan”. Impartus claims to have 75 per cent of video-learning market share in India and aims to achieve breakeven in India by this year-end; it is already “profitable on individual accounts”. With markets such as Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore looking promising, Impartus has incorporated a subsidiary in Hong Kong.

Mahensaria is aiming for at least 50 per cent of the company’s revenues to come from international markets in the medium-term. Currently at a headcount of 80 employees, he also intends to keep the company lean while growing commercially. “We don’t burn money. Ours is a traditional model where we prove our product for sales. But we’re a product company and we have global ambitions,” Mahensaria says, adding that he hopes to raise a round of large ticket funds in some months to help with improving video-learning in all ways possible.

Impartus’ broader game plan, though, is to personalise learning: the platform will make data-led recommendations relevant to the individual learner rather than aggregating data on classrooms.