As the digital revolution unfolds in India, the meagre 20% Internet penetration is poised to rise quickly with each passing year. Technology is not leaving any sector deprived of its impact, be it retail, travel, payments, education, healthcare, agriculture and even governance. Young entrepreneurs are coming up with ways to tap onto this opportunity to create a difference in their own ways. Education is one of the above mentioned sectors that has a direct impact on the society, many eLearning and EduTech ventures are operating in this sector to change the way education is imparted. To contribute its own bit to this industry is New Delhi based startup Eckovation.
Founded in June 2014, Eckovation is a free mobile and web based application that serves as a classroom communication tool wherein students, teachers and parents can get a singular platform to connect and collaborate for the overall development of the students.
Present Scenario and Need
In most of the schools in India, a direct interaction between parents and teachers is limited to the occasional parent-teacher conferences where the progress the child is discussed in a few quick moments. Writing notes in diaries and getting parents’ signature as an acknowledgement is another age old way of communication between these two parties. Learning happens both at home and school, but still there isn’t a way how both sides can track and work upon a child’s development in an effective manner. Be it homework or a regular announcement, primary school teachers particularly have to go through the laborious task of distributing circulars or writing notes for each student.
The team at Eckovation believes that smartphones are the best way to create an easily accessible platform that can make lives easier for teachers, students and parents. “We at Eckovation are planning to create a platform where students, teachers, peers and parents would be connected on a secure platform and proper dissemination of knowledge and information would be carried out in the process touching the lives of students across the country through our application.”
The company was started by Ritesh Singh and Akshat Goel by doing an extensive research on the education market. Ritesh is an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and has worked with Bosch R&D as a Senior Engineer and has two patents under his name. Akshat joined gaming major, DeNA in Japan after graduating from IIT Delhi in 2012.
“So far, a teacher could interact with a limited number of students during a session. We will connect them to a larger section of students, who will benefit from their knowledge.” says Ritesh. The app allows teachers to share images, audio, video, polls with students & parents. It can be used either to make mass announcements or one on one communication.
It allows parents to know the happenings in the school, how their daughter/son is coping up with studies, and also to get in touch with the teachers for help when required.
The likelihood of such a communication tool being misused does exist, teachers in particular would have the concern of getting spammed by messages from both parents and teachers. In order to avoid such a situation, the app gives teachers the control over communications – whether they want to use the app as an announcement center or as a two way chat center.
Progress and Way Forward
The startup had launched its year in June 2015, and claims to have 35000+ users along with 400+ teachers on its platform, both web and mobile. Google Play statistics show that its app has upto 5000 downloads at the moment. Eckovation is however targeting a million users by the end of 2016.
The company isn’t monetizing presently, its running on external funding raised from Chandigarh Angel Network and other private investors. It has two market competitors in India, Knit and Flinnt. This year January, Knit raised seed funding from Amit Rambhia, Angel Investor Forum and Rohit Jain.
The company is targeting students in the K-12 segment, publicly-supported school grades prior to college. According to a report by EY and FICCI, this segment in India is one of the largest in the world, which had more than 1.4 million schools with 250+ million students enrolled in 2011. While the sheer size of this opportunity seems lucrative, it has to be noted that many schools are still not equipped even with basic IT facilities. Smartphones can certainly be a starting point to bring about a change if such innovations are executed well.