With $4.1M funding and 2,00,000 hrs of classroom lectures, Impartus Innovations is helping 37,000+ students and faculty members in India
August 30, 2016
A number of students find it difficult to keep up with the materials introduced in classroom lectures. The standard lecture format was comprehensible to only few students, leaving others perplexed. Three friends ‑ Amit Mahensaria, Manish Kumar, and Alok Choudhury – faced the same problem. They struggled to get hold of the classroom lectures while trying to take down notes in college.
Back in 2013, the trio sensed a huge potential in the education sector when the market was in a nascent stage. Addressing the very problem became their explicit vision which led to the foundation of Impartus Innovations in December 2013.
Prior to starting up, Amit, an IIT Delhi alumnus, worked in the finance and education sector for more than a decade. Manish, an IIT Delhi graduate, worked with Citigroup as a technology professional and developed various approaches in software solutions. Alok, an IIT Madras alumnus, in his 12 years of experience designed everything from circuits to chips to algorithms to software.
Solving the issue
Bengaluru-based Impartus provides video-based learning solutions which enable educational institutions to capture, edit, and distribute classroom lectures. Its flagship product ‑ ‘Lecture Capture’ ‑ captures the lecture sessions, which include vocal lectures by educators, PowerPoint projections, black/white board writings and students’ responses.
It also allows students to stream the videos online through its web- and app-based platforms across devices, thereby automating the entire process and saving the expense of extra manpower and support staff.
“We record classroom lectures for the outside-the-classroom learning sessions or during exam preparation. The same can be live streamed to students across the globe, enabling institutions to connect to multiple campuses real-time”
Impartus Innovation helps teachers to reconnect with students after classroom hours and share more inputs on a given topic by adding notes, links and other related material to the videos available online.
The trio bootstrapped the venture with their personal savings and by borrowing funds from their friends and families. During their initial journey of hardships, they learnt that no matter how well-structured the plan is, the actual requirement of money will be more than what you have budgeted for.
Once the cash crunch period was over, the unwillingness of academic institutions and professors to deploy the video technology emerged as another challenge. They had to wait for hours to meet the principals of schools and colleges for an initial meeting and months to get an answer.
The meetings involved educating institutions about the concept of lecture capture and how videos in classroom can improve learning. In some cases, Amit says, university IT administrators are concerned that this may create an additional maintenance burden.
To mitigate these concerns, Impartus provides a complete end-to-end solution, including hardware, software, and extensive customer service. It delivers the Impartus solution to customers via the cloud (SaaS) using the web-browser on their computers, laptops or mobile devices.
Fortunately, IIM-Bangalore and PES Institute of Technology expressed interest, which further validated the idea of Impartus and helped to on board more number of institutions.
Today, Impartus Innovations has more than 70 institutions in the higher education sector of India. Some of the institutions include IIM-B, Shiv Nadar School, PES University Bangalore, IFIM Business School Bangalore, Anna University Chennai, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management Pune and IIIT Bangalore.
The company claims to have catered to more than 2,000 faculty users, 35,000 students across 600 classrooms and has recorded 2,00,000 hours of classroom lectures.
Recently, Impartus entered into a strategic partnership with Xerox Research Centre India (XRCI) to improve students’ engagement through efficient video search and navigation, including multimodal topic extraction which will offer contextually relevant content to supplement educational videos.
Funding and expansion
Last year, Impartus Innovations raised $4.1 million in Series A funding from Kaizen Private Equity, an education-focussed fund. With a team of 80 people, the company has presence across India and is planning to expand to Asia Pacific market (Greater China and South East Asia) and East Africa. It generates revenue from B2B sales and on a subscription basis from universities/institutions. It claims to be growing at a rate of 100-200 percent year-on-year.
Over the next few years, Impartus aims to serve distance-learning academies and corporate enterprises that seek to provide personalised and cost-efficient employee training.
Few startups have emerged in the video learning space in the last few years. Kolkata-based interactive education platform, Zeroinfy.com allows students to buy video lectures made by teachers. Hassan (Karnataka)-based Ignus introduced tablet-based coaching, which records the classroom sessions of the professors and display the same in the tablets.
Bengaluru-based cloud-based solution provider LinkStreet uses video for learning and collaboration. It has raised an undisclosed investment in Series A funding led by Faering Capital India Evolving Fund.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, India holds a very crucial place in the global education. It is estimated to have more than 1.4 million schools with 227 million students enrolled. When it comes to e-learning, India is considered as the second largest country after US.