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Avagmah brings world-class higher education to your fingertips

ST Bureau
New Delhi

Avagmah is an edtech startup that enables an MBA degree through a mobile app, and is already helping thousands of India's young professionals satisfy their career ambitions with an MBA from recognized Universities. Avagmah also provides an intuitive technology platform on a managed services model to assist universities and offers web and mobile application platforms, helping universities manage the lifecycle of their students, including marketing, admissions and other administration processes and the delivery of the courses.

Avagmah was founded in November 2013 by Karthik KS, Sankar Bora and Prasad G Palla. It has raised an undisclosed seed funding from Kris Gopalakrishnan and Atul Nishar in March 2016 and has raised a total of $5 million since inception.

In an interview with Startup Terminal, Karthik KS, Co-founder & CEO, Avagmah shares more insights about the venture and future goals.


ST: What was your inspiration behind starting up a new venture? 

Karthik KS: The present Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education in India is around 24% with only 33 million students enrolled in higher education, which is far below the developed countries GER of 50%+. The Govt. of India has set a target of achieving 30% GER by 2020. To enrol the additional 10 million students to achieve this target, even if we have a massive scale up of infrastructure, the quality of education imparted cannot be improved. Such expansion and improvement in quality would be possible only through usage of powerful ICT tools, mobile and increasing internet penetration in the country.

The Avagmah Platform is specifically designed to enable universities supplement traditional academic pedagogy with online academic delivery. This is what makes the Avagmah Platform the default destination for mid-career re-education for professionals who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to pursue their higher education from conventional mode. Using the platform, classes can be conducted and attended from anywhere by just using the internet.

The Avagmah Platform, designed for busy, ambitious professionals, solves the fundamental issues of access, quality and equity of higher education by connecting globally qualified faculty to reach thousands of quality students across geographies on any device.

I (Karthik KS) along with Sankar Bora and Pasad G Palla co-founded Avagmah in November 2013.

ST: Please tell us more about your organization.

Karthik KS: Avagmah is an EdTech company which provides the intuitive Avagmah Platform to universities and institutes including IIM Bangalore, AIMA, Pondicherry University and NMIMS Mumbai among others.

The platform helps universities reach a wider audience, where every university is provided a customized service model based on their individual requirements and goals. It also assists universities to manage marketing, student counselling, enrolment, virtual classroom, content development, student engagement and retention and much more using the Avagmah Platform. For students, the Avagmah Platform provides quality education delivered at your fingertips, better than a traditional classroom, using intuitive technology at every step. The platform is custom built to provide every student with guidance, interactivity and personalization across app and web.

Beyond transforming offline courses to the online mode, Avagmah provides a better than physical classroom learning experience. Students in Avagmah powered programs have busy personal and professional lives and balancing this with their higher education is not easy. Significant time and effort of every student is spent in planning and scheduling their subjects and homework. The Avagmah Platform removes the need for this effort through the Personalised Study Plan. The Personalised study plan schedules ‘learning items’ across subjects in a customized manner, based on each student’s progress and available learning time per week. This removes the hassle of planning their study schedules on a daily basis and lets them focus on only one thing, learning.

Further, learning from your classmates is one of the key requirements for students enrolling with top university programs. The Avagmah Platform provides the same experience of collaborative learning, where classmates are divided into cohorts and each cohort works on their assignments, case studies and much more directly on the platform. The Avagmah Platform integrates synchronous and asynchronous learning for students to simultaneously work on case studies and group projects. The Avagmah platform is also provides live interactive classes, video lectures, downloadable content with additional reference study materials like case studies, group assignments and submission, model question papers and self-assessments for exam prep and so on.

ST: What business opportunities do you see particularly in your sector-Edutech?

Karthik KS: The Indian higher education market including technical education is the largest education market in the world. As of 2014, 33.7 million students are enrolled. With the 30% GER target to be achieved by 2020, an additional 10 million students are expected to enrol.  
The Distance learning enrolments in India are expected to grow to 8.8 million by 2019 with the market size expected to grow to ~$18 bn by 2019.

Avagmah offers customized solutions to address the entire market size and each of its segments.

Avagmah leadership team (L to R: Prasad G Palla, Karthik KS, Sankar Bora)

ST: How has been your entrepreneurship journey so far? 

Karthik KS: Entrepreneurship is a very exciting journey. It gives you the opportunity to work with some of the best minds in the world, such as entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, to launch exciting new ideas, based on market understanding and thorough research. Over time, as these ideas are further adapted and success delivered, the end consumer benefits from your work and this becomes the most satisfying experience as an entrepreneur.

ST: As an entrepreneur, what challenges do you face in your day to day professional life, if any?

Karthik KS: A good idea needs capital at the right time. It is only when the two come together that it can result in a huge impact. Chasing this capital takes a toll on management bandwidth. However, there is no shortcut to it as capital owners need to understand the potential and risk before they invest. It is a part and parcel of the job of an entrepreneur.

ST: How big is your team? Are you planning to hire more?

Karthik KS: We currently have a highly qualified and experienced team of 80 and counting. As we plan to expand into other regions, we would be looking at growing our team.

ST:  What are your future plans? 

Karthik KS: Avagmah has proven a successful business model in South India and has now expanded into other geographies, replicating the same success model in other regions. Over the next few months, several new universities and institutes will be joining the platform to deliver their programs to students across geographies on the Avagmah Platform.

Further, with new universities and new geographies, the student enrolments will see an exponential increase.

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