Sathya Raghu V Mokkapati is the poster boy for multitasking. Apart from running an award-winning startup Kheyti, which provides low cost technological solution to small farmers, he is also a teacher who teaches chartered accountancy (CA) in several cities across the country.
Even with Kheyti taking up most of his time, he wanted to understand how his teaching could be improved. Through 2016, he interacted with over 500 students to try and find what kind of assistance they were looking for in education.
“Like Coca-Cola once said that its biggest competitor is water. While interacting with my students, they told me that I must build something that is a competition to WhatsApp and Facebook. Meaning, I have to build something that even more engaging than those social media platforms,” Sathya said.
He then decided to build an education module that was extremely intuitive, engaging and interactive. “The idea was to bridge the gap between those who don’t get access to education and quality teachers through highly engaging videos that anyone can access over a computer, a laptop or a smartphone,” he added.
But starting another project while already engaged with Kheyti turned out to be a challenge.
So he brought his friend Sriram Somayajula, who is a CA, a CFA and completed his MBA from the Indian School of Business, on board. He also brought a couple of his former students on board and founded IndigoLearn.
The team spent two months making minimum viable products, showcasing it to over 600 students, receiving feedback from them and improving based on it. Once most of the feedback was taken into consideration, IndigoLearn launched its app on Saturday at T-Hub where Sathya’s Kheyti was incubated.
How is IndigoLearn different from any online course?
The founders argue that IndigoLearn is not just any educational video-making company.
“The major challenge the education sector faces is trying to find a balance between what students want and what teachers know students want. And how do you find a sweet spot between the two without compromising on quality? That is exactly what Indigo does,” Sriram said.
IndigoLearn is an online education platform that offers CA courses to students preparing for the entrance exam. It uses a combination of the best of CA faculty, CA toppers and big data to offer engaging and personalised teaching to students.
It offers highly engaging videos where the instructor explains concepts of CA along with graphics to make understanding easier.
For every video, Indigo has brought on board professional movie makers who not only shoot the video, but also work on the graphics and post production work. In fact, these are the same people who worked on popular movies like Baahubali 2.
To ensure the learning process does not get boring, every class is divided into byte sizes of eight to ten minutes each. After every eight minutes, there is an assessment to ensure the student has understood whatever was taught until then.
The assessments too, have been created in a gamified manner that makes them enjoyable. For every assessment, the student receives points and a social ranking. Sathya says that this gratification makes students want to learn and perform better.
Based on students’ answers during assessments an algorithm can point out their strength and weaknesses. Indigo then points the student towards the particular part of the module to strengthen her/his knowledge.
To teach the modules, IndigoLearn has 10 teachers on board including Sathya and Sriram. Indigo currently has two level of CA–CA inter and final and teaches the subject ‘Standards on auditing’.
Additionally, every student is prompted to create a learning timetable for themselves, which is monitored by Indigo’s team. “We send messages, emails and even make calls to ensure students adhere to the discipline they set for themselves,” Sriram says.
IndigoLearn will work on a freemium model. There will be a few demos and courses which can be accessed for free. However, beyond that the student will have to pay. Currently, for the Standards on Auditing class for CA intermediate, Indigo charges Rs 999 and Rs 1,299 for the Standards on Auditing class for CA final.
At the launch on Monday, IndigoLearn launched the website and the Android app. It plans on launching the iOS app in the next one month.
Within the first two hours of the launch, IndigoLearn had registered 50 students. It aims to bring onboard 5,000 paying students in six months. It is also in the process of adding more teachers to its platform.
Having invested around Rs 50 lakh so far, IndigoLearn is currently looking to raise funds to be able to have the complete CA course on its platform by March 2018. In the long term, it is also planning to add CFA, CPA and other legal and professional courses.