Rajeev Pathak (42) is the founder chief executive of Bangalore-based eDreams Edusoft Pvt. Ltd (estb.2010), a company which promises to infuse joy and fun into school curriculums through its innovative Funtoot solution. Developed around artificial intelligence with the intent of improving teaching effectiveness and learning outcomes, Funtoot is a first-of-its-kind digital tutor which is both intelligent and adaptive.
Newspeg. Almost coincident with its second anniversary in mid-June, eDreams Edusoft formally launched its Funtoot version 2.0, for which 25 medium and high-end schools (with an aggregate enrolment of 10,000 stud-ents) have already signed up. Earlier in end March, eDreams was adjudged among the Top 10 (seventh) of 432 companies by the jury of the Marico Innovation Foundation Awards 2012.
Genesis. The idea behind Funtoot originated from the early childhood education experiences of the eDreams core team comprising Suryaprakash Konanuru, Haris Poonthala, A. Jaya-prakash, Ram Jayaraman, Arun Kumar Rajaraman, and Pathak himself, most of whom quit their high-profile jobs at the IT behemoth Wipro to focus on education. “All of us felt the need to transform the classroom experience of children. Personalised teaching is a more joyous way of curriculum delivery which automatically improves learning out-comes. Pilot studies were conducted in 15 schools countrywide through the initial 14 months of product devel-opment,” recalls Pathak, an alumnus of BITS, Pilani and IIM-Bangalore with close to 20 years of work experience in ISRO and Wipro (R&D).
In July 2010, eDreams Edusoft was promoted by Pathak and co-founders with an initial investment of Rs.80 lakh sourced from their personal savings and contributions by friends. A year later just when capital was running out, the company won a competition for budding entrepreneurs called The Pitch-season 2 — sponsored by Bloom-bergUTV — for which it was awarded Rs.2.2 crore by investment consortium Mumbai Angels.
Direct talk. “Funtoot provides individual attention and personalised learning to each child which is a major challenge in the current schooling system. The USP of Funtoot is its ability to assess every child’s multiple characteristics and performance in real time, based on which the level of teaching depends. Funtoot is also capable of correcting errors when a child attempts a math problem and assists her to find the solution in exactly the same manner a human tutor would do in a one-on-one scenario. Funtoot identifies the learning deficits of each child and facilitates remedial education. Moreover, as Funtoot software is cloud computing compatible, schools don’t need to invest in additional IT infrast-ructure,” he adds.
Fees. Rs.100-200 per child per month.
Future plans. With eDreams Edusoft which currently has a headcount of 40, now smoothly on stream, Pathak has ambitious plans of signing up 50 schools and 20,000 children by March 2013 and 200 schools and 150,000 children by 2014. “To improve our bandwidth, we plan to build a large ecosystem of teachers and students across India. We intend to improve school attendance and learning out-comes in rural primary and secondary education to make up for teacher absenteeism and quality. We are also partnering with device vendors to make Funtoot apps available on digital devices such as PCs, tablets, Note-books and Netbooks,” he says.
Way to go!
Paromita Sengupta (Bangalore)