The founders of www.fundamentor.com are Amol Patkar (36), Bhargavi AR (37) & Ankur Vohra (38). All of them are Mechanical Engineers from Delhi College of Engineering and then have done their MBAs. Amol from IIM Calcutta, Bhargavi from FMS and Ankur from IIM Ahmedabad.
We were presented with the opportunity to interview them.
1. Is there a particular reason you chose to improve the skills of students as opposed to any other part of society?
Students of today are the society of tomorrow. Successful society requires successful individuals & successful individuals require skills such as leadership, communication, effective decision making, problem solving, creative thinking & collaboration. Leadership and collaboration skills grow with experience. Other life skills are a direct function of a person’s Quantitative, Verbal, Inference and creative thinking aptitude. Research shows that these skills are best developed before the age of 20. The impact which development of these skills will make on the students future would be far more than any other part of the society and which in turn will contribute to a well balanced society in the future
2. What are your views on the present education system?
The education system is not homogenous but very heterogeneous and disparate in terms of demographics, facilities, fee structure, level and learning outcome. While a typical school environment equips students with a number of critical skill sets like foundation for higher learning, conceptual knowledge across subject streams, working in a competitive environment, creating interest in non-scholastic activities there is a huge opportunity for development of life skills which will hold them in good stead when they enter adulthood and face the real life. Also there is a huge opportunity today for use of technology in the education sector for making an impact.
3. Why use technology instead of a hands-on or face-to-face approach?
Technology has huge advantages in terms of:
- Cost effectiveness, Scalability & Consistency
- It can be made adaptive, personalized and uses variety of media for greater student engagement which takes care of students with different learning needs and pace
- Real time data and analytics based feedback over a large student population is possible only using technology
4. What about students who are unable to afford technology but still want to enhance their cognitive skills or life skills?
- It is a fallacy that technology is expensive or unaffordable, in fact online courses/applications are much more cost effective than similar classroom or face to face courses. Today with high level of penetration of internet and mobile internet devices, technology has become truly democratic and available to most people in some form or the other
- Also there are Social impact organizations which sponsor technology based solutions for the underprivileged. We ourselves are in the process of doing pilots for this section at extremely low costs
5. What are your views on the “brain drain” or migration of Indian students abroad?
In the current global economic scenario, it is a good thing as a great percentage of these people are able to contribute back to India in terms of resources and ideas.
6. Did you have a start up loan?
We are bootstrapped and have a few individual investors in India & US. We have also recently received a 25000 USD grant award from Internet.org (Facebook).
7. What advice would you give to other revolutionary business start-ups?
If you think you have a great idea just do it with complete commitment, faith and patience.
8. Who is your role model?
Ratan Tata for his amazing combination of integrity, vision and business acumen.
9. What inspired you to start this revolutionary initiative?
The founders were very passionate about skill development. All of us having spent long time in the corporate field realised that there is a huge gap in the skills which are needed for career success. Research showed that this problem has to be addressed much before the people entered the workforce so we decided to work with school students and use technology and gamification which will work with the children of today
10. Were there any obstacles you faced when starting your business?
There are no obstacles ever, only crossroads where one has to make decisions and then execute. Every day from day one we have been coming across one or more cross roads in terms of what to do , how to do it etc. These are related to business model, product, sales process , budgets etc.
11. What are the unique features of your website?
- Only site which uses gamification for aptitude development.
- Best in class user Experience and engagement..
- Reward redemption
12. How many students use your website?
We have more than 2000 users currently.
13. What is Fundamentor’s greatest achievement thus far?
- We started commercial deployment in Jul 2015 and in four months have acquired six schools and more than 2000 users.
- Fundamentor won the Impact Award in Education category in “India Innovation Challenge” organized by Facebook.
- Fundamentor was among the ten India Finalists of Global Edtech Startup Awards 2015.
- We have also been shortlisted for Economic Times Power of Ideas (2015) first round.
14. What is your vision for your company’s future?
We want be the go to portal/app for all school and college students for skills & aptitude development (life skills, cognitive aptitude development, aptitude based examinations)