Published: 09th November 2018
This IIT Madras student's app, Melvano, is like LinkedIn for IIT aspirants, only more 'testy'
If you believed that social media was far removed from entrance exams like JEE, check out Melvano, an app developed by an IIT Madras student Taran Singh,for self-learning aspirants to network
Imagine if you told your parents that you could crack JEE by downloading an app where the people who solved your doubts were most likely friends or peers, how do you think they'd react? As strange a proposition as that sounds like, in this day of the much-hyped entrance exam coaching centre, that's exactly how Melvano works. And in case you're wondering just how well it works, here's proof: the founder, Taran Singh, a student at IIT Madras.
Budding Entrepreneur: Taran Singh is is a fifth-year student of Aerospace Engineering
To give you the lowdown of how Melvano works, it is a study-oriented networking app that connects self-studying individuals who are looking to appear for Engineering entrance exams. They are provided with a platform to connect with others to compete in the MCQ tests or clarify doubts and participate in group discussions over complicated topics.
Teacher, App-developer and Rockstar student
If you're wondering why an IIT student like Taran Singh thought about a teaching app, it's because he has the heart for it. Teaching is something he loved from a very young age and he takes time off from college to teach and train students who want to be a part of IIT or any other engineering college across India. "I took time off to train aspiring engineers over the last three years and that is when I realised the need and benefits of additional training. In this day and age, every student struggles with concentration and is constantly bothered by notifications on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Social media is addictive because of the inherent need of every individual to socialise — which is an inborn trait — and in all the chaos we forget our responsibility of being a student — 'studying'. In order to bridge the gap between learning and social media, Melvano was created, thus combining the power of socialisation and learning attentively," he says.
Reward calling: Taran Singh won the title 'Most Innovative start-up' at HedNxt a national level startup competition conducted by Krazybee
Behold, the leaderboard beckons
Similar to any other social media platform, Melvano even has a social media feed that updates you on the tests taken by your friends and connections. "Melvano has a social reward system as well, wherein students are given points based on the learning activities undertaken on the forum. By learning activities, I mean taking tests and initiating discussions over doubts," he adds.
How do they keep track of the points received? PUBG style, apparently. "Simple, you have access to the leaderboard, which is an additional benefit that comes with the app. Individuals are ranked based on the points they have earned thus leading to a social competition online. As far my knowledge goes, featuring names on the leaderboard at any competition boosts confidence and your ego and that is exactly what the Melvano users get to experience," he explains.
Time is money. Well, not really
Setting up an app like Melvano would have taken a whole load of perseverance. Taran runs us through the journey, "I've had my ideas rejected every now and then, but being someone who was open to learning at all times I sought out my professor's mentorship, persevered and brainstormed for a unique idea. I also equipped myself to be the entrepreneur I wanted to be. And behold, a year later I had Melvano up and ready to launch. In terms of finance, I had all the support I needed from IIT Madras' Nirmaan (a pre-incubation cell) and an angel investor who believed in my vision and I couldn't be more grateful."
If you think students have the luxury of time, you should check out Taran's schedule to understand why he disagrees. "Being a student, an entrepreneur and a teacher is not an easy task, especially with the demanding 85% attendance being a compulsory slab set by the University," he laughs. He goes on to add, "I struggle with my academics and juggling responsibilities is not something I am used to. Time management was a task, I could not afford to set my start-up aside for my studies vice-versa, but I am alive and I am learning," he smiles.