[Exclusive Interview With Curious Jr Founder] 1.8 Lakh Students, 3.5 Lakh Apps, $1 Million Funding!
Recently we interacted with Mr. Mridul Ranjan Sahu, Co- founder, CuriousJr, where they are teaching programming to school kids from Class 6th to Class 12th.
Here are the highlights of the interview:
How was CuriousJr founded?
Ali, Amit, and I have known each other for 11 years and have worked or lived together since then. We wanted to make a difference in the education sector, which is very essential to us because education is one of the most significant aspects of our lives. We wanted to bring this into every student’s life, which pushed us to solve the problem of coding education for the masses. Coding education has enabled us to perceive the problem statement through a different lens and solve it for a sustainable solution.
CuriousJr started with the idea of enabling students without laptops to learn to code on their mobiles since 88% of K-12 students in India do not have access to laptops. During the lockdown, three of us got on a Zoom call and started writing down challenges we could address that would empower children all across the world. CuriousJr was born out of this need for a mobile solution for K12 children to learn coding.
We planned the MVP and launched our first product within 3 months of that zoom call in September 2020. The CuriousJr App Store was created so that children could publish and share their work with their friends and family. Later, a competition platform was developed so that students could compete with their fellow coders to see where they were in the ecosystem.
Funding and Expansion plan for CuriousJr
We have raised $1 million dollars in the seed round of funding. Currently, more than 180K students are learning to code on mobile devices each month. We look forward to taking it to 500K monthly students this year. Run Code is a metric we track which tells us the number of times a code has been run on CuriousJr. Students have run code more than 15 million times on CuriousJr and published more than 350K apps on the CuriousJr app store.
Do you think online will be the default mode for education in India? Are we ready for this transformation
Online education has become the most important part of the educational journey of students, which opens the market for the Edtech industry to reach millions of students across all the sectors. Smartphone edtech is reaching the masses without any restrictions of geography, which gives companies an opportunity to provide quality education to every student. Since COVID 19, EdTech adoption has accelerated since there was no option to study offline. What was expected in 2025 has come 5 years earlier. This also creates some challenges for Edtech to scale and create quality education rapidly.
How is your platform different from existing platforms?
We are focused on making coding accessible for everyone by innovating practice-led coding on mobile phones and making learning effective with vernacular content. India has 88% of students out of 270 million who do not have access to laptops. To help everyone learn coding, we need to bring innovative solutions that are compatible with our system, hence CuriousJr solving for the masses to learn coding. Mobile brings in scalable solutions that have the capability to educate more than 100 million students at a time. CuriousJr’s goal is to bring 100 million K-12 students in the next 5 years onto the platform.
How is India becoming an EdTech Capital?
India has proved its mettle in the fintech industry by creating scalable technology. Similarly, Edtech is growing every day, and India is able to solve problems that are acceptable globally. Both parents and educational institutions are excited to implement tech-enabled learning solutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions and subsequent lockdowns, making EdTech the most transformation needed sector in the country.
What was the pain point your startup wants to resolve ?
India comprises over 270 million K-12 students and 88% of K12 students in India do not have access to laptops and 79% students in India are learning in vernacular languages. CuriousJr began with the goal of allowing students without laptops to learn to code on their mobile devices in their own mother tongue.
The mission is to empower 500 million+ young learners to fill these positions in the future. The vision is to make coding accessible, effective and inexpensive to students of all financial levels.
What is your core offering, how many versions have been launched and what’s in the pipeline, what technology platform are you using?
In the process of learning, students create apps and games to publish on the CuriousJr App Store which keeps them motivated throughout the journey.
What are the courses and languages you provide and how is it different from the rest of the similar platforms?
How do you think Vernacular will play a big role in the edtech industry?
79% of the students in India have been learning the vernacular languages. We believe learning and thinking in mother tongue makes their learning effective and expands their imagination hence learning in mother tongue is quite effective and plays an important role in defining the education system.
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