Ever sat in a classroom attending a lecture to suddenly realise that you have lost thread of the topic sometime back and now keeping up with the teacher is a task? 3 friends Amit Mahensaria, Manish Kumar, and Alok Choudhury – faced the same predicament. It was a big task for them to keep up the classroom lecture while taking down notes at the same time in college.
Addressing the very problem led to the genesis of Impartus Innovations in December 2013. When the 3 friends came together they brought with them diverse skill sets which together would provide a strong backbone to Impartus. Amit, an IIT Delhi alumnus, brought with him more than 10 years of experience of working in the finance and education sector. Manish, an IIT Delhi graduate, brought in his comfort of developing software approaches to solving problems for Citigroup. Alok, an IIT Madras alumnus, in his 12 years of experience was a designer with experience in designing circuits, chips, algorithms and software.
The Bengaluru-based start-up provides learning solutions based on the video platform allowing educational institutions to capture, edit, and distribute classroom lectures. The flagship product, called ‘Lecture Capture’ captures the lecture , including vocal lectures by educators, PowerPoint projections, black/white board writings and even students’ responses.
“We record classroom lectures for the outside-the-classroom learning sessions or during exam preparation. The same can be live streamed to students across the globe, enabling institutions to connect to multiple campuses real-time”, says Amit.
The Impartus Innovation platform enables teachers to reconnect with students after classroom hours and share additional inputs on topics taught in the class by adding notes, links and other related material to the videos available online.
In the initial days, the trio chipped in with their personal savings and borrowed funds from friends and families. One of the earliest lessons learned was that no matter how meticulous the financial planning, the actual need for money will always outpace the budgeted amount.
The next difficulty was the unwillingness of academic institutions and professors to adopt the video technology. Simply meeting the Principal of a school took days if not hours and then too the replies were never forthcoming.
In some cases, the team met resistance from the IT administrators of Universities who were concerned about additional maintenance burden. To allay these fears, Impartus decided to provide complete end-to-end solution, including hardware, software, and extensive customer service. The Impartus solution is delivered via the cloud (SaaS) and just needs a web browser on the user device like the computer, laptop or mobile device.
The validation of the idea of Impartus Innovation came after educational giants IIM-Bangalore and PES Institute of Technology expressed interest. This helped on board more institutions.
Today, Impartus Innovations boasts of more than 70 institutions in the higher education sector of India including premier institutes like IIM-B, Shiv Nadar School, PES University Bangalore, IFIM Business School Bangalore, Anna University Chennai, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management Pune and IIIT Bangalore.
The company claims to have recorded over 2,00,000 hours of classroom lectures, catering to more than 2,000 faculty users and 35,000 students across 600 classrooms.
Funding and future plans
Last year, the start-up successfully raised $4.1 million in Series A funding from Kaizen Private Equity, an education-focussed fund. The company currently operates with a team of 80 people across India and plans to expand to Asia Pacific market (Greater China and South East Asia) and East Africa. The revenues are driven by B2B sales and by subscriptions from universities/institutions.
In the coming years, Impartus plans to target distance-learning academies and corporate enterprises that wish to provide personalised and cost-efficient employee training.
Impartus have a few competitors in the video learning space. Kolkata-based interactive education platform, Zeroinfy.com allows students to buy video lectures made by teachers. Hassan (Karnataka)-based Ignus introduced tablet-based coaching, which records the classroom sessions of the professors and display the same in the tablets.
Bengaluru-based cloud-based solution provider LinkStreet uses video for learning and collaboration. It has raised an undisclosed investment in Series A funding led by Faering Capital India Evolving Fund.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, India is considered as the second largest country after US in the area of e-learning.
Read the original story by Aparajita Choudhury at www.yourstory.com
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