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education startups 2016-09-21

This EdTech startup sees itself as the Indian Unicorn in preschool education

AppyStore is an app with videos and curated content designed for children up to eight years of age.

By Associate Editor
This EdTech startup sees itself as the Indian Unicorn in preschool education

The EdTech sector in India is on a high. The e-learning sector in India is currently pegged at US $ 2-3 billion, and is expected to touch US$ 40 billion by 2017, as per IBEF data. In fact, it’s fast becoming a popular means of learning for toddlers too. Apps, tablets and interactive video websites are taking over the traditional methods of teaching little kids. One such startup looking to bridge the gaps in India’s preschool education is AppyStore.

AppyStore is an app with videos and curated content designed for children up to eight years of age. EducationBiz spoke to Manoj Barot, Director Marketing, AppyStore on the concept of the app and its contribution to India’s preschool education sector. Here are excerpts from the interview:

What led to AppyStore’s inception? Share the conceptualisation of Appystore.in.

The inception of the platform, AppyStore, in December 2014 was driven by the desire to tackle a few key challenges in India’s education space.

AppyStore is a comprehensive learning videos app with curated content designed for children up to 8 years of age. Spending just 30 minutes with AppyStore every day will support the parent in their child's development. AppyStore allows early childhood development for kids to be accessed by parents in all parts of India.

AppyStore is inspired by the theory of the Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardner and supports Developmental Milestone based learning for children. Our videos under various categories help in nurturing multiple intelligence in children and, hence, support the holistic development of a child. In addition, AppyStore delivers skill based worksheets free of cost every month to subscribers to practice the concepts learnt through the videos.

Our videos are categorised along 18 learning areas (clubbed under 7 themes) which have been developed on the basis of clear developmental milestones for a child by age. While setting the developmental milestones, the AppyStore team and AppyStore experts have looked at pre-school practices in India and globally. Kids get the content that is relevant to their age group. A parent has to select the age of the child and the learning area and the site accordingly filters appropriate content for consumption.

How does Appystore.in work? Share the pricing strategy.

AppyStore guarantees a secure environment for kids on its platform, where the child is able to develop life skills, communication abilities and hone math-learning skills. It also provides ample opportunity to investigate and experiment with videos on drawing, colouring, craft and origami which nurtures creativity.The AppyStore service is currently available to parents via its mobile app and its site (WAP and desktop). The site offers daily notification-based content recommendations that are relevant to the child's age. It works on a subscription-based payment model. It utilises multiple payment channels like mobile operator based billing to the recently introduced credit card, net banking, wallet services and cash on delivery. The app, which works on a subscription based payment model, has introduced special three-month, six-month and nine-month plans offering unlimited videos and free physical worksheets as part of its launch offer. Parents signing up now can get trial access to the app with free home delivery of worksheets. The worksheets are designed to help the child practice the concepts learnt through the videos.

What are the gaps that Appystore is aiming to fill in India’s education sector?

Preschool education in India is fraught with the following challenges:

# 1: According to Grant Thornton Report on 'Education in India', only 5 per cent of the preschool population is enrolled into a preschool. Hence, what is regarded as the most important developmental years for a child gets no guidance in India.

# 2: There is a scarcity of age-appropriate & developmental milestone based content. Discovery of online content is a problem.

# 3: Lack of standard developmental milestone based curriculum up to age 8 (Early Childhood Education Curriculum Framework;2012 by Ministry of Women & Child Development, India)

AppyStore has attempted to solve these problems in the following ways:

# 1: Delivery of fun learning videos to kids through our mobile android app & site (WAP, Desktop) to be able to make this content reach parents of preschoolers as mobile has fantastic reach in India due to low cost smartphones.

# 2: AppyStore team and AppyStore child development experts have looked at curriculum, in India and globally, across pre-schools. All our content- videos are rated and reviewed by our experts who are child psychologists, teachers and educators.

# 3: Identified developmental milestones and have curated content in 18 learning areas that serves a child's developmental needs specific to age. Every learning content on AppyStore is designed based on a curriculum so that a child can acquire knowledge & skills as per his/her developmental milestones

Have you tied up with any playschools or schools? If so, tell us more about your tie-ups?

We are in talks with a few top preschools. We will elaborate on the same as and when they come to fruition.

What is your business model? Elaborate.

AppyStore is based on subscription model. Parents can access the videos for their kids on the site (WAP/ desktop) and via the app. Parents can pay and subscribe using their mobile wallets (pre-paid cards/ post-paid bills) on WAP and within the app via cash on delivery, credit- debit cards and mobile wallets.

It is an extremely sustainable model as there will always be new content that will be curated by AppyStore child development experts to higher age groups.

What is your current market presence? What are your expansion plans? Tell us about your growth and ROI? How has the response on your app been?

AppyStore since launch (Dec 2014) has had 5.1 million visitors and 6.4 million video views.

The App since launch (Dec 2016) has 50k+ app downloads. Over all subscriptions have been 1.6 Million+.

AppyStore is working on quite a few product features which will be applicable to very young kids (0-1 yrs) with audio only stimulus and older kids via digital worksheets. This we believe will make the learning experience complete.

AppyStore since launch has been receiving very strong positive feedback from parents and kids. Our app on Google playstore has received more than 300+ reviews and is a 4.5-rated app.

Tell us about the funding raised for Appystore. What are these funds being utilised for?

Mauj Mobile has investors like West Bridge, Intel and Sequoia. Mauj Mobile had raised a capital of $10 MM in 2006. We will look at further investment as we move forward.

How do you think are EdTech startups changing the way toddlers were taught? Elaborate.

It’s easy to see how technology is changing how we manage our daily lives but in the education space, technology is not only changing how we live from day-to-day, it’s also changing how we learn and the schools we attend. Edtech startups are helping toddlers learn in a fun and entertaining way. It’s a combination of entertainment & education. AppyStore guarantees a secure environment for kids on its platform, where the child is able to develop life skills, communication abilities and hone math-learning skills. It also provides ample opportunity to investigate and experiment with videos on drawing, colouring, craft and origami which nurtures creativity. Children can improve logical thinking with fun puzzles and videos on nature and science. The content also encourages physical fitness, outdoor activities and instills good socio-emotional values. By making the AppyStore content a habit for 30 minutes every day, the platform assures parents, that a child receives sufficient stimulus to achieve generally accepted developmental milestones

What are the strategies that you adopt to cater to the competition in edtech edutainment?

As newer generations become parents their challenges will also evolve! We believe that in any category the most important and basic rule is to have a deep understanding of your target consumer and their needs. Therefore, always having your ear to the ground and building for the consumers of the future is the best way to keep ahead of the competition.

AppyStore has a very strong positive consumer acceptance today and a strong product roadmap to satisfy the consumer of the future.

Where do you see India’s education sector 5 years from now? Where do you see Appystore 5 years from now?

We have a very simple but strong vision for AppyStore. Deep understanding of the challenges parents of young children face today and the strong product pipeline for AppyStore reinforce our belief in the brand. We see AppyStore as an Indian Unicorn in the preschool education sector. 

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