For Arjeeta Singh, education has always been an important part of her dream. She always thought he was a great leveler. She was three years old when she lost her father and was raised by her mother in Jodhpur.
Curious, Arjeeta asked a lot of questions. Growing up, she struggled with limited learning methods and conventional choices.
“It was in 2017, when I was leading the Jodhpur chapter of a youth organization, our team started ekSlate – where we helped underprivileged children learn with the help of our communities,” says the engineer. diploma. His history.
She realized that one slate is enough to embark on the learning journey. She decided to take mentoring and other learning elements to a higher level. It was then that she thought about extending and developing ekSlate.
“I moved to Mumbai soon after and was working for one of the leading electronics technology companies on mentoring programs for learners. When the pandemic hit, I visited my hometown of Jodhpur, where I met a lot of teachers who had lost their jobs (including my mother) or who were struggling with the online transition, ”says- she.
Adding: “While I also interacted with many students who had the same challenges that I had six years ago, all of these things were a big trigger, and I knew I had to do something about it. . Next thing I know, I quit my job, moved to Jodhpur, and formed a team to work on ekSlate.
Today, ekSlate is supported by Her & Now – a program implemented by GIZ on behalf of BMZ, Germany – and in partnership with the Government of India’s Department of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, which focuses on empowerment of women.
The Jodhpur-based e-learning platform ekSlate’s main product is mentoring, where the team provides tutoring through its marketplace – ekSlate Academy.
The platform focuses on personalizing learning experiences with the help of communities, such as tutors, mentors and counselors.
For Arjeeta and her team, one of the biggest challenges was to make the startup’s product relevant and affordable while ensuring adequate quality and customer experience.
Another challenge was to compete with edtech giants, like Unacademy and BYJU, and establish a loyal following.
“As a female entrepreneur, my biggest lesson has been managing stakeholders. There have been instances where salespeople or partners addressed the men in the room while talking about numbers etc., but over time that got better, ”Areejta shares.
The core ekSlate team consists of four people. Once Arjeeta got the idea in place, she hired her former colleague Mohit S as a co-founder.
In addition to ekSlate, Mohit continues to work for a US-based edtech startup to get a holistic view of how the industry works. He handles sales and marketing for ekSlate, actively working on the development of the startup’s mentoring program.
Founded in 2020, ekSlate has so far only carried out pilot projects and prototypes. She earns her income from tutoring programs, which help cover her team’s salaries and product development costs.
“We are still building our product and will be launching our first line of programs soon. We also launched two awareness / lead generation campaigns – first, Chupparustam – a virtual event for students in grades 6-12, and second – Learning Ambassador – a job preparation workshop for students from level II and III cities, ”Areejta explains.
Market and differentiation
RedSeer predicts that the K-12 online education sector will grow 6.3%, creating a market of $ 1.7 billion by 2022. According to Statista, the global education market e-learning was valued at $ 101 billion in 2019. It is expected to grow exponentially to over $ 370. billion by 2026.
All of eKSlate’s programs are built around self-paced learning, which helps the learner achieve the desired career outcome. These programs are based on modules, some of which are pre-recorded and others are live sessions with industry experts.
“From the pilots that we have led, we have received very good feedback, where the learners want to pay for our programs and continue to learn with us. The retention has been quite high. We also value our communities and the kind of experts we hire, ”says Areejta.
Turnover and future
EkSlate capsule courses start from Rs 599 per program. It also operates a subscription model. The startup also derives a portion of its income from the expert’s income for mentoring and tutoring. Experts charge an hourly rate, which differs from person to person.
“We are also developing various capsule courses, all based on results, and aimed at developing a particular competence for the learner. Operationally, it’s all about matching – putting the learner in touch with the right mentor or expert based on their needs, ”she explains.
She adds: “Right now we operate on the web. In a few months, we also hope to launch our app. We have an app for tutoring, but based on feedback received from learners, we need a major improvement.
The team started with an initial investment of Rs 1 lakh. So far his the average burn rate after hiring is from Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per month. The team is looking to expand further in Tier II and III cities, where startups like Homeguruji, Pocket Classroom and Graderz are already present.
“To women entrepreneurs, I would just say that there is no failure as an entrepreneur; only learn. Believe in yourself and in your idea, and give your best every day; the rest will fall into place, ”says Areejta.