iAugmentor is an AI driven, gamified, personalized assessment and learning platform, that create a real-time, personalized, on-the-go learning roadmap for learners. It was incorporated in 2016, in Gurgaon, India to provide a personalized learning experience to learners, by using intuitive and incisive technology. iAugmentor directs learning specific to individual learning gaps and desired workplace competencies through the use of cutting edge technology. We are publishing an interview with Mr. Pratik Marwah – Co-Founder & COO, iAugmentor.
Q.: Please tell us about the founders
Ans: There are three founders of iAugmentor. All the founders knew each through a common friend and we had been discussing various ideas whenever we would meet on drinks until the Eureka moment of founding iAugmentor came in February 2016. Each founder brings to the table an expertise and experience which makes the journey worthwhile.
Pratik Marwah who is the youngest and a Business face has been into Institutional Sales and started his career from a start-up in 2010 selling subscription to Colleges & Universities across India in various roles he had undertaken in his corporate life.He is responsible for Business Development, Marketing & Finance for the company.
Sameer Sikka is a veteran in the corporate training industry brings on board an experience of almost 20 years working with the foremost brands in India and abroad. iAugmentor’s learning and content is his baby with a vision to put all his years of experience in the platform.
Arindam Sen is the technology brain of the company who has built the product from the scratch with a vision to make it scalable and sustainable for the clients. He is a serial entrepreneur and came on board with the idea of iAugmentor after exiting from his previous venture.
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
Ans: Learning today has become boring and most of the people who join physical workshops or adopt e-learning have common issues like – The learning content is boring, one-way directed and has one size fits all approach apart from being expensive. As the technology progresses and concepts like Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, gamification or even micro learning have become the new phenomenon. Each user is now looking for unique learning methodologies which can be personalized as per there requirements and improvement areas. Hence we created iAugmentor APP which we believe is the solution to such problems.
Q.: Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: All the 3 founders are born in a small town and had to break down walls to get to where they are today. Be it in the Recruitment, Training or IT industry from each of us belong, we have faced issues while growing up and have worked a lot on ourselves by going through a lot of learning materials or physical exposure we got from our Jobs early in our career.
We wanted to create a platform which would help people who want to upskill themselves after determining there improvement areas and our technology platform acts as a virtual mentor in guiding them through a learning journey.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: Anyone looking to upgrade his or her skills on communication has an option to do a physical training in person by trainers or through an E-learning platform which are readily available in the market. iAugmentor is the next generation technology which acts a personalized mentor and is very different from any E-learning product.
- Its an Artificial intelligence driven, gamified and assessment based learning App which directs users to learn content based only on their weak areas in any course structure.
- Each learner has an option to avail learning through Videos, reading articles, games , ppts etc.
- ReA-(Response Analyser) which is another technical feature which helps users practice workplace situations by recording there video or audio and get benchmark there performance against an expert response.
- What was initially started as an offering for College & university students didn’t take off due to many reasons but when we pivoted our model to corporate training offering a varied no. of courses and technology features, things changed.
- Today iAugmentor is catering to the requirements of one the top corporates in India and gearing up to go worldwide with multiple collaborations which have been signed recently.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: iAugmentor is the only Indian start-up that has designed a learning platform giving access to a personalized mentor to every individual who desires to learn to augment (increase/enhance) his/her skill sets to achieve his potential. The assessment based learning tool is a personalized and adaptive medium that intuitively suggests a roadmap to an individual as per the learning tendencies, learning competencies and learning proclivities, constantly tracking progress as well. The one of its kind brand is headquartered in Gurugram, India that extends its services in the market of Egypt, Kuwait, Kenya, Malaysia & Singapore. THE USPs of our offering are that:
- The learning is personalized and the system understands the user learning style and level.
- Bite-sized learning
- Spaced repetition
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: We started our business model with the Colleges and the universities and even signed up 10 of them in the first 3 months but later on realized the concept of carrot and stick in learning for students. The management paid but the students didn’t realize the importance. We pivoted our model to the Corporate learning and signed up with Nokia. This was actually when the wheel started to move.
Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
Ans: The biggest failure till date has been trusting the wrong set of people and not being around the ambitious ones. There was a point when the entire team had left our company since we were not able to pay them on time and we had to start everything from the scratch however we are blessed with team we have now most of them hold ESOP’s in the company with a vision to succeed.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Ans: We typically charge a subscription fee for a quarterly ,six monthly or yearly learning program as per the requirements shared by the client. We are into B2B business where we sell the iAugmentor platform usage for behavioral and technical learning programs to be used by its employees. The clients give us there requirements and we also customize the programs as per the departments or geographies.
Q.: How did you get your first customer?
Ans: Our first client was Tula’s Group which is an Engineering College. The management is very young and progressive with a vision to succeed and had cut a cheque in the first meeting after listening to the concept we were building for the students.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: We got our first investment from Rajhasthan Angel India network (RAIN) in 2016 and then another angel round from Dubai based investors who are industry veterans and serial entrepreneurs themselves.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: We want to be the King of Customer Service training and offer behavioural and technical training opportunities in and around the Mobile Application. Today we are working with the biggest players in the telecom industry and hope to get on board all of them by the end of this year. Going forward we have a vision to create an APP which would we the world’s first technology mentor for people who want to enhance there personality and communication skills. We are actively raising funds for the same and open it up for all in a B2C business model.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in details:
Ans: We have been growing at more than 100% year on year and are already sitting on orders from current clients in the tune of USD 1 million or 7cr.and have served almost 20000 users till date. We are actively scouting for investors and in talks with many VC firms to raise money.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: We have figured out one of most important factor of engaging a learner after many failed attempts and are still building upon the same. Every user loves to play games and would prefer to learn through games and make his or her journey fun rather than boring. Hence we are expected to launch a full fledged game based learning application by August 2019 and do a POC in the B2C business model.
Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles.
Ans: We have Lavanya who is head of learning, Nikhil who leads the technology function , Savita who looks after the Sales function along with Nishant our Creative Head.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: We are looking to focus on expanding our Sales and Marketing outreach and launch a pilot of total game based learning app in this year.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: Just keep at it. Its easy to quit but once you make it big then nobody remembers how you came here.
Thanks Pratik. Best wishes.