Published: 21st July 2021
This Bengaluru start-up has helped over 100k tuition teachers and coaching institutions across India go digital
Winuall is a one-stop solution that has saved several tutors from going bankrupt during the pandemic. This is what they have coming up next
For years on end, thousands of specialised tuition teachers, entrance exam czars and subject kings have run their centres like their own fiefdoms. You go there, you study, you're probably in IIT. Or not. The amount of digital in the entire process was possibly limited to the number of phones carried by you, your friends and your paid-by-the-hour teacher.
And then just before the pandemic things started changing for tutors. They realised that taking a large part of their work digital - from quizzes to marking to scheduling made more sense than cramming kids in your garage. And economically, well, that's a whole other ballgame. Which is where Winuall nailed it in 2018. A Bengaluru-based start-up that says that they have digitally transformed the lives and working of over 10,000 tutors across India, things really exploded for them when the pandemic hit. In a good way. Every tutor in town needed to go online and in a hurry.
And as their Co-founder and CEO Ashwin Purohit puts it, the teacher makes the rules, these just make it happen digitally. Having raised over $2 million in funding the start-up is primed for more like letting Indian tutors go global, collaborate with each other to offer better solutions for students and more. Excerpts from a chat:
Winuall seems to have taken off. How exactly does it work?
We intend to solve the teachers' problem. We are a plug and play solution for all tutors who want to take their content and go digital. We provide the wherewithal for teachers to do all their functions online and that includes conducting live classes, taking quizzes, sharing the content online, recording lectures, sharing documents like notes, communicating with students and parents to ultimately provide a seamless learning experience for everyone. We aim to improve the learning outcomes of students and the teaching outcomes for the teachers. We have now developed our services in such a way that the revenue streams improve for the tutors availing our service. Some of our customers have now expanded by teaching content across different nations as well.
TUTOR UP: Ashwini Purohit and Saurabh Vyas
Where did the thought behind creating Winuall come from?
It actually began when I was in Kota for my engineering coaching classes where lakhs of students come every year to realise their dream of getting into an engineering college. So there was no system of personalised learning available to students. The content given to every student was the same. When I was close to graduating from my college, I went back to Kota and interacted with the tutors and then I realised that they had an even bigger problem at hand. The fees used to be handled in cash and it was a very manual way of working for them. The tutors then wondered why can't they become their own bosses and own their own businesses. That is how the idea behind Winuall came about.
How can teachers market their content? Is that something that's easy for them?
Our aim was always to make things simple for teachers. As we have seen during the pandemic, learning can be enabled online with the right tools. For instance, we enable the teachers to run their own advertisements and use services like market analytics for learning the outcomes of using a service like URL shorteners. We integrated all our services in one product. The educator using our services is in full control of his or her enterprise. They do not require an additional resource person like a graphic designer or a copywriter to market or augment their end goal. We also provide recommendations as to how they should provide their content and which areas they should focus on.
Which sort of tutors have come on board more?
We have provided support to numerous enterprises that include coaching for UPSC exams, bank entrances, school olympiads, KVPY scholarship exams, NTSE exam and even regular K-12 tuitions. There are courses on skill development as well like classes to learn big data science, coding etc. We also provide help to conduct hobby-oriented learning content like music and dance. We have even enabled women to run their own enterprises like tailoring. In the end, everyone who wishes to educate, gets their own brand and mobile application and become independent edupreneurs.
It can't have been easy. Were there times when you wanted to give up?
There were a few areas where we struggled to come up with solutions initially. One such issue was that of vernacular language. As we know, the content one wants to impart can be done in any language. So one thing that we worked on from day one was that we must enable content creation in any language and that language should never be a hindrance to the entrepreneur. This has enabled people to teach cryptocurrency in Marathi and English speaking courses in Gujarati. Another major challenge lies in developing our infrastructure in such a way that it allows us to cater to the needs of thousands of people who want to have their own individual brand and app. This was certainly a difficult task and that is why we have had to upgrade on our infrastructure significantly.
With your funding streaming in, what is next?
One of the things that we have got coming up is the aspect of allowing teacher to teacher collaboration. We want to enable an ecosystem where teachers can recommend each other and collaborate to help each other out by increasing the revenues. It would solve the entire problem of creating demand and supplying it.