Indian Institute of Technology is dubbed as an institute that facilitates brain-drain to developed nations from Indian soil for various decades. Also, the IIT ians are known to rule the technology and engineering arena in the country too. But the instance of IIT engineers taking up teaching with passion is a rare sight to find in our society. In this Teachers’ Day special feature, Kalam Fan Club introduces readers to an IIT crew lead by Mr. Vamsi Krishna that has reached the last mile in bringing Online Tutoring to even bandwidth scarce section of the nation through their innovative Ed-Tech product called WAVE- Whiteboard Audio Video Environment that can operate even at low-bandwidth internet speeds. Here is the complete story of inception, growth and future plans of Vedantu Innovations Pvt. Ltd., a brainchild of four IIT graduates Vamsi Krishna (Co-Founder), Pulkit Jain (Co-Founder, Head Product), Saurabh Saxena (Co-Founder, Head Academics) and Anand Prakash (Co-Founder).
The Journey Began with Lakshya
Vamsi and his team always were keen to improve the educational methodology being practised across the institutes in India. Vamsi Krishna even points out at an important fact that parents expect their wards to get best of the best education, but the same parents discourage their wards to take up teaching as a career! Obviously, the reason being teaching dubbed as a non-lucrative career for centuries. The team Vamsi had their task cut-out, bring in best of brains to teaching and make it a career of choice and not of chance.
Obviously, the team members got placed in corporate after their graduation at IIT. But within six months, they resigned from their roles and came together in 2006 to start up their first venture Lakshya- an institution to train youngsters to take up competitive exams. It was a traditional brick-mortar set-up, and all team members had started their journey as teachers at Lakshya. Soon they realized the need for capacity building and roped in like-minded youngsters to play teachers role. The organization grew rapidly and was expanded to 4 locations with training imparted to nearly 10000 students in the span of 6 years. The organization scaled up to serve 5000 students annually. By 2012 the team realized the limitations of Brick-Mortar set-up and sold it to a firm called MT-Educare to move in the new direction of venturing to the Online-Tutoring system through their new venture called Vedanta, whose seed was sown in the fertile platform of Lakshya.
Vedantu- Inception to Glory
Vedantu Innovations had its beginning in November 2014. With a mission to o ‘Glorify/glamorize the profession of Teaching’. The Name Vedantu signifies—‘Veda’ –ancient educational system and ‘tantu’— Network. So a Network based value education is what team Vamsi visualized. While the team has demarcated roles and responsibilities of players: While Pulkit Jain heads the product team through WAVE technology platform. Saurabh handles the academic division to maintain a seamless delivery process, collaboration with teachers, content development. Anand looks after human resources so that it is aligned to Vedantu’s vision.
The Heart of Vedantu—WAVE Platform
The Revolutionary WAVE- Whiteboard, Audio, and Video Environment technology in-house platform have enabled Vedantu to be a Tech-Based Education provider. As mentioned earlier the teaching sessions are all low bandwidth enabled ones which are very much relevant in the Indian context. The teachers are a pool of highly qualified professionals who have cracked toughest examinations and can easily understand the psychology of student community.
The USP of Vedantu—Democratization & Personalization
Vedantu provides a two folded service to student and teaching community through its personalization and democratization model. Personalization is achieved through self-paced learning according to the grasping speed of student. The student learns from a highly qualified teacher on a one-to-one basis, LIVE, without having to face the pressure to catch up with their peer group.
Democratization is achieved by offering choice to both students and teachers. Teachers are provided with a market place to decide timings of their session, pricing, create their own packages etc. Students can browse through the available teacher’s list to decide upon the most suitable teacher for their needs. Also, Vedantu is the only platform in India to offer this on-demand doubt clearing facility, especially useful for students while they prepare for exams
The Growth Realized
According to Vamsi, The vision of personalizing and democratizing learning is met in just a year time as Vedantu is able to connect 250 plus cities with the best teachers across the country. An IIT alumnus located in Western India can teach students in remotest part of eastern India otherwise who do not have access to high-quality teachers. A pool of ‘teachers by choice’ is created by Vedantu in a short span of time whose profiles range from dedicated homemakers to professional teachers with zeal for teaching. Vedantu is also able to bring in a slow but steady change in the mindsets of parents who were initially reluctant to accept online tutoring as a solution for their children’s learning. Also, many parents have slowly begun to acknowledge the convenience of online mode over visiting study centers at distant places.
Vamsi’s perspective on Online Tutoring in India
As per Vamsi’s understanding nearly 250 million students are in a K12 segment from which 80 million studying in private schools goes for one or the other form of private tuitions. So Online tutoring has a huge potential to tap such student community and according to various statistics available overall online education system will grow as $40 billion industry by the end of 2017.
Word of advice to Entrepreneurs
Vamsi recalls the difficulties faced by his team in initial days of Lakshya to arrange for funds as they were not even entertained to fetch loans from Banks. His word of advice to startups is that every successful startup would have faced one or the other hostility during the growth phase. ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’- is the mantra of Vamsi to Entrepreneurs’. He urges them to aim at the sky and develop out of box thinking as Govt. of India is also keen on building a start up the eco system.
This Teachers’ Day, Kalam Fan Club is proud of these IIT graduates who threw away routine corporate high paying jobs to transform the Indian Education scenario by embracing teaching profession and have brought in the facelift through technology enablement.