[Startup Bharat] How these IITians turned their pupil mission right into a worthwhile international edtech firm

Since college students the world over have grow to be fully depending on digital strategies to fulfil their day by day studying wants amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the shift has opened many doorways of alternatives for edtech startups. One of them driving the e-learning wave is Ahmedabad-based STEMpedia.

To leverage digital-only training throughout this pandemic, STEMpedia launched a brand new providing known as PictoBlox AI in June, which lets children develop their very own AI apps in an interactive and playful method. Under this programme, children can code programmes and be taught by making fascinating tasks and purposes, like face recognition-based attendance methods, gesture-controlled robots and video games, AI-based brand quiz, and rather more, by way of a project-based studying mannequin. 

STEMpedia staff

“PictoBlox AI is basically an online course which has been developed to help kids make the most of the new normal by learning critical 21st-century skills from the safety of their homes and become future-ready,” Abhishek Sharma, Co-founder of STEMpedia, tells YourStory. PictoBlox AI additionally has dwell tutor-led on-line programs.

Abhishek tells that one in all its on-line AI programs is being promoted by INDIAai, an initiative launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) of Government of India to advertise AI consciousness. 

He provides that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is among the key drivers of the long run with applied sciences resembling face detection methods, self-driving automobiles, and digital assistants turning into elements of our day by day lives.

“As a result, understanding it has become important for 21st-century kids. In light of the same, we have developed an ingenious AI-enabled graphical programming platform, PictoBlox AI, which helps kids learn core artificial intelligence and machine learning concepts in an engaging manner through project-based learning,” explains Abhishek.

Started in 2018 by IIT Kanpur alumni – Abhishek, Dhrupal R Shah, and Pankaj Kumar Verma, STEMpedia is an edtech startup that’s targeted on making certain that STEM (science, know-how, engineering, and arithmetic) training is accessible to each pupil by way of larger consciousness, and merchandise that allow extra hands-on studying. Its different training merchandise embody hands-on project-making kits, programming apps, a wide range of studying choices, and STEM coaching programmes.

Before STEMpedia

Abhishek, Dhrupal, and Pankaj studied collectively and spent appreciable time engaged on a wide range of tasks. While engaged on tech tasks, the trio realised that the e-learning know-how shouldn’t be that accessible, and in direction of the tip of 2015, they determined to fulfil know-how gaps and started engaged on their first product, ‘evive’.

In mid-2016, evive was launched for a world viewers on a preferred crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. Abhishek tells that evive was the primary profitable worldwide crowdfunding marketing campaign by Indian college college students. He provides that the mission marked an enormous success with none advertising and marketing finances and garnered pre-orders from over 30 nations inside two months.

Soon after ending the commencement, the founders shifted to Ahmedabad, the place they have been incubated at CIIE by IIM Ahmedabad. “Despite evive being a success, market research and consumer feedback redirected us to two major decisions – first, we shouldn’t be a hardware-only company and develop a complete learning ecosystem to be a disguisable player. Second, school-going children are a much bigger market and we should shift our focus to that segment,” recollects Abhishek.

From thereon, the staff began creating a healthful experiential studying ecosystem the place youngsters can discover kits, software program, purposes, studying content material, lessons, and lots of different issues to find out about rising applied sciences like AI, robotics, IoT, coding, electronics, and rather more.

“The offering includes DIY project-making kits, a graphical programming software, project-interaction application, a variety of learning options, and training programmes that blend theory with experiential learning and help inculcate innovativeness, creativity, and problem-solving skills. And that is how, in mid-2018, STEMpedia came into being,” tells Abhishek.


Abhishek tells that STEMpedia has come a great distance since its launch, serving a wide range of clients like colleges, educators, and fogeys with its services and products, benefiting over a 100,000 college students throughout greater than 40 nations. “Our topline has grown 10 times in the past two years, and we have also become a dominant player with schools and government initiatives like Atal Tinkering Labs, and Aspirational Districts in India, and with educators and businesses across the globe,” he provides.

STEMpedia has served over 100,000 college students throughout the globe, greater than 50 STEM training companies abroad, 150 Atal Tinkering Labs in India, about 250 colleges in India in addition to within the US, South America, Europe, Africa, and many others.

“STEMpedia’s educational kits, learning resources, teacher, and student training programmes have been designed to have a global flavour and owing to the quality and superior technological aspects of its offerings,” claims Abhishek.

Earlier this yr, STEMpedia was additionally one of the seven startups representing the country at the India Tech Park in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 at Las Vegas.

Market and competitors

While many sectors have had a significant impression and are bleeding funds attributable to COVID-19, edtech, however, is flourishing. A latest report by RedSeer and Omidyar Network India revealed that edtech customers – each paid and free distinctive customers – in Ok12 and publish Ok-12 phase have seen a rise from 2019 to 2020, with the consumer base doubling from 45 million to 90 million. There additionally has been a 50 p.c enhance within the time spent, which has gone up from 60 minutes to 90 minutes. According to the report, on-line training choices throughout Classes I to XII are projected to develop 6.Three instances by 2022, to create a $1.7 billion market. The post-Ok12 market is about to develop 3.7 instances to the touch $1.eight billion.

Namita Dalmia, Director, Investments, Omidyar Network India, mentioned, “The lockdown has provided massive tailwinds to the growing edtech space. Edtech offerings have helped millions of students across the country to continue their learning from home. These solutions are better, more convenient, and affordable alternatives for students and parents.” She added that the lockdown had additionally spurred development within the B2B area the place, in contrast to earlier, colleges, schools, and tuition centres have been aggressively adopting tech-based options.

While India has edtech unicorns like BYJU’s, STEMpedia notably competes with the likes of WitBlox, Avishkaar, SP Robotic Works, and Tinkerly in India, and Spherom Wonder Workshop, Makeblock, and LEGO Mindstorms globally.

Business mannequin, funding, and plans

STEMpedia has targeted on having optimistic unit economics from day one, tells Abhishek. Until 2017, it relied on pre-orders as a supply of capital, and in 2018, it raised a strategic seed spherical from its manufacturing accomplice, PCB Power Market, to broaden its R&D and content material creation groups.

“Since then, STEMpedia’s revenues have been sufficient to sustain its operations,” tells Abhishek.

In between, the startup constantly acquired strategic assist from organisations like Startup Nexus of the American Embassy in India, CIIE of IIM-Ahmedabad, Industries Commissionerate of the Government of Gujarat, techXchange of the Indian High Commission within the UK, PCB Power Market, and the Motwani Jadeja Foundation amongst others. 

In phrases of scale, STEMpedia has thus far expanded vertically inside rising STEM fields like AI, robotics, IoT, electronics, bodily computing, and coding for kids. The firm is now wanting ahead to a pre-Series A funding spherical this monetary yr to broaden its staff and launch new merchandise resembling reconfigurable AI equipment, amongst others.

“In the coming years, STEMpedia will be focusing on horizontal expansion across different geographies and revenue streams, and by 2024, we plan to reach $20 million in topline, while impacting a million students across the globe,” tells Abhishek.

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