Ever been stuck with that difficult math problem? Or a physics assignment you can’t seem to get your head around? When the deadlines are short and problems seem vast, waiting to ask your teacher the next day may not be the best solution. To resolve just that, a Mumbai based startup Scholr has developed a personalized online education service.
Founders Himanshu Nimje and Manil Gupta owe the idea to that time in school when they would get stuck with homework, with no one to help them comprehensively understand the concept at that very moment. And all it took was one conversation with Apple’s Siri. They realized that a similar use of technology could work perfectly well to address this particular problem.
So how does Scholr save your homework? All you have to do is take a picture of your problem and upload it to the app. The core technology is based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Nimje and Gupta have developed various algorithms to provide relevant learning assistance. One such algorithm, for example, is mathematical optical character recognition. This deciphers the math symbols in a snapshot and helps understand the exact question a student is asking.
The algorithm then provides relevant learning resources and gives the user a step-by-step solution to the problem. In a few cases where the technology is unable to provide an instant solution, Scholr ensures its experts provide assistance to the user within an hour.
The duo initially invested Rs 10 lakh for research and development of the app – especially to create the proprietary algorithms that give users instant answers. What stands testimony to the potential of their idea is the pre-seed funding of Rs 10 lakhs they received from their incubator IIIT Hyderabad and 50k ventures. This additional funding will now be used for customer acquisition and improving the accuracy of their solutions. What also works in their favour is being a part of IIIT Hyderabad’s Avishkar program, which gives the founders access to its extensive research in the area of AI.
With a compact team of six, Scholr currently has over 3000 students as users and on average, receives more than 1200 queries per day. And while the focus is currently on providing instant assistance and improving user experience, Scholr will start monetising its operations from the next academic year. The road ahead for Scholr will be providing micro-tutoring sessions for students on a chargeable basis. With a low customer acquisition cost, Scholr is confident of breaking even by end of 2017. Until then, the focus will be to make Scholr the lifesaver of every student.
A Demo Video of the app: