This Edutainment Startup Is Scoring Top Marks With Home-schoolers
Championing the cause of providing the right exposure to children to various technologies, SP Robotic Works co-founder Sneha Priya pitches for empowering kids so that they can make the right career choice
Artificial intelligence’s (AI’s) place in our world is not something that can be questioned anymore. It’s going to define all the ways in which we run our businesses. The potential of AI is particularly visible in edtech, which has undergone a sea change during the pandemic years and has brought the future-forward. The global edtech and smart classroom market are poised to reach $181.3 billion by 2025. What was considered until recently the future of education is now the norm across the world.
This is especially evident in Asia, which is now home to some of the largest and rapidly scaling edtech businesses in the world. Of all the businesses in the region, it’s been edtech startups that have created the most disruption and, in turn, received the most funding. The southeast Asian population has always been early adopters of technology, and it’s no different with edtech. Naturally, the competition is likely to get intense in the years to come.
SP Robotic Works’ co-founder and chief executive officer Sneha Priya’s mantra to introduce any technology is simple: the right exposure at the right age. “It must not be the other way around—just making it compulsory for the kids.”
Decoding the hysteria around coding for children in India, Priya concedes that the way it (coding) is being communicated to the parents, and the kind of fear of missing out (FOMO) being created, is probably not going in the right direction. “But if a kid embraces coding, it will be useful for her future,” she said.
Started in 2012 by Pranavan and Sneha Priya, SP Robotic is an online edutainment company that specializes in providing experiential learning to students between the ages of 7 and 17, in the latest technologies such as robotics, coding, drone, AI, virtual reality (VR) and Internet-of-Things (IoT). The idea is to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education through AI-powered online learning platforms. “We have robotic courses designed in such a way that the child gets an exposure to all the components at an early age,” she shared.
The direct-to-consumer (D2C) startup SP Robotic, which has over 80 branches across India apart from the overseas presence, added 100,000 students post-pandemic. Stressing that the problem in the education system starts from an early age, when a child doesn’t get exposure or is not empowered to make the right choice, later on, Priya contends that there are millions of engineers who made wrong decisions in opting for such a profession. “They were not given the right exposure at the right age,” she said, adding that career changes could’ve happened if the child had been exposed to options early on.
Today, she lets on, if you ask any engineer or anybody the reason to opt for engineering, all of them will say it was the trend or their parents asked them to take it.
“The experience in Robotics - which is multidisciplinary and involves electrical, mechanical, and coding concepts, gave us the thought of teaching concepts with fun and with hands-on experiments that can bring about better understanding. Unlike our generation, where we were focused to achieve scores (not exactly learn), we wanted to change the phase of education which is merely producing unskilled labor rather than learned professionals who love what they do,” the co-founder stated as to how the company came about.
The company's driving belief is that education has to be viewed much differently, with marks being the outcomes of learning rather than being the primary moto of learning itself. With this belief, the company claims to deliver every concept in a practical learning model which involves hand-mind coordination making it more fun and engaging, thereby impacting a young mind positively to fall in love with learning and themselves too. The platform helps them find their strengths and thereby focus to become a master of it. The scaling challenge has been successfully addressed using their AI teacher called SPARKY which today delivers the learning in a fun and personalized way to every student.
The startup had two investment rounds in the past: Seed and Angel (a total of $1 million) from Indian Angel Network and The Chennai Angels to develop the AI platform and test the GTM models. This was followed by a $3 million Series A round.
The platform has an omnichannel presence with both models incorporating their AI teacher SPARKY to help young minds learn with fun and hands-on experiments. In the direct online model, customers can directly order the kit and course online and start learning from the comfort of their home, whereas, in the assisted online model, the company has centres located across the country where one could step in to collaborate and learn using the lab infrastructure (computers and kits) and their AI teacher SPARKY, with more than 75 centres across the country.
Priya believes that edtech is now seeing huge interest and rush in from a lot of companies. The sector being a blue ocean and the company, having their own ideologies of how they want to inspire millions of young minds, see this as an opportunity to create a positive impact on society. Only when many companies join together, such an impact can be created and the startup is sure to soar higher among all.