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11 min readAugmenting Education: Studymarvel’s Founders On How They Are Bringing A Paradigm Shift In Education





The process of learning never stops. Learning is a continuous process that is heavily reliant on the principles of understanding and practice. This continuous process of learning takes place everywhere; from educational institutions to the natural surroundings. In the quest to learn and assimilate, individuals are exposed to conventional learning methods that are economical and practical in every aspect. While this conventional way of learning has garnered excellent results in the past, the same cannot be agreed upon in the present day and age. Owing to these facets, the learning curve of an individual does not take the desired curve, for it is being hindered by the lack of practicals or the resources that facilitate it. Along with resources, there are also very few business startup ideas that are spreading the true essence of learning.

With rapid expansions in every learning aspect, individuals can and would grasp faster and better with active learning that facilitates more practice sessions in the form of tutorials and practical experiments. Scientists and technologists around the world are constantly working on various business startup ideas to bridge the void between the virtual and practical worlds to provide more interesting, engaging and relevant information. Making use of the technological advancements in the areas of education, entertainment and gaming is Augmented Reality, where it changes the way one sees, imagines and assimilates the world around themselves.

The world of augmented reality uses the existing environment to overlay, integrate or superimpose new information onto it based on the requirements. From placing live 3D models in the environment to enriching the experience with the help of a phone camera, augmented reality creates an immersive and interactive experience in the real surroundings. A great example of using augmented reality would be the Pokemon Go, where users were catching virtual characters in the real world. The space of augmented reality has for long been deprived of marvellous business startup ideas that had the potential to make a difference until Studymarvel came into the picture.

Pokémon GO

Studymarvel, an incubating start-up under MIT’s EduGuild program, is aiming at making use of this technology to redefine the way students learn, perceive and understand. With the use of prototypes, illustrations and 3D models, individuals can be a part of interactive lessons and sessions that fosters intellectual curiosity. In their quest to inculcate the true sense of learning among the today’s students’, Studymarvel is bringing an environment that is apt for learning.

Amazed by their eccentricity and innovative technological advancements, we at Pick My Story interviewed the Co-Founders Yash Bodane and Soma Sharma, who’re one of the first and only augmented reality start-ups in the education domain. The business entrepreneurs have a plethora of knowledge and we’d love to share that with all of you.

 

Yash and Soma

Before we splurge out all the details, why don’t you give it a read down below:

1. Could you please throw some light on how Study Marvel started and the ideation process that went behind?

Studymarvel started back in September 2016 when Yash and Soma met in a Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality conference in Indore. Yash was showcasing durable Google cardboards under the name VRPerspective and Soma showed a demo of Augmented Reality furniture for the home. After exchanging email id’s, both of them started discussing the potential of AR/VR across various industries. Soma and Mayank were classmates in college and participated in various hackathons, where they showcased the applications of Augmented Reality. After months of discussion on various opportunities in AR, the three of them decided to build something for students in Augmented Reality and StudyMarvel was born.

One of the first business startup ideas was to make complex chemistry experiments and equipment that are easy to understand by the power of visualisation through 3D models in AR. With this came the first product of StudyMarvel which was ‘Immersive Chemistry’ – The Lab in Your Hand Book and Android Application.

2. Studymarvel is one of the start-ups that is being incubated under EduGild. How has it helped you in attaining your targets?

Studymarvel’s stint with Edugild started in March 2017, where the founders were hoping to get experience from Edtech Leaders in India and learn from other education startups who were being accelerated by EDUgild.
It is June 2017, and in these 5 months, the program has not only helped Studymarvel to think of and grab scalable opportunities in education domain equipped by AR but also helped all the co-founders to transform themselves into better thinkers, along with having the opportunity to understand the consumer & education industry in a better way. Edugild and the venture partners have helped Studymarvel to pivot, which wasn’t taking place in the team internally. Every 2 months, meetings and sessions at EDugild with industry and domain experts has made the founders of Studymarvel more mature thinkers while becoming better business leaders.

 

3. Studymarvel is one of the few educational startups in the country that is making use of Augmented Reality in helping your audience base. Considering it is in its nascent stages in India, how do you view its relevance and rise in the Indian commercial market?

Augmented Reality brings an immersive learning experience which provides a simulation environment for the learner to create 3D experiences while superimposing real media in the surrounding.

There are multiple ways in which AR can be incorporated into the learning process. While augmented books with virtual graphics superimposed on the pages are a great visual treat, experiencing AR even on regular books is also a possibility. Initially, AR might just be a complementary app to existing apps. But, the app can also be downloaded and used by those who do not use a specific kind of books as the technology would still be able to decode and read images, and hence, render an enhanced experience.

 

Talking about India’s scenario, smartphone penetration is booming and so is the penetration of internet. But as India’s traditional education system is rooted, it becomes a long cycle to sell solutions to the existing institutions. AR will enable and provide holistic solutions for education. The adoption rate is much higher in the western countries where teaching through iPad’s and use of tech in class is active. All Studymarvel and other business startup ideas can do are some predictions, utility AR applications, real-time environment tracking, efficient and accurate 3D model designing applications and wearable which will help to build a holistic environment for enabling AR in education and institutions.

4. Studymarvel in a way is aimed at revolutionising the education experience for students. Could you stress a little more on this facet and elaborate the same?

Here’s why Studymarvel’s Augmented Reality Platform will aid as the effective learning tool:

Interactive Lessons:

Creating storyboards while learning can help in better understanding of the topic. Each and every storyboard can be included with 3D models, Videos, URL’s, Teacher’s Notes which provides the learner and teacher to present and make every topic a liveable moment!

Learning Materials On the Go:
Many times lab restrictions in school might stop the student to experiment something new, which in most cases is dangerous too! Augmented Reality simulates the real life experience and lets you experiment using tools which could be chemicals and lab equipment in this scenario, The good part is, you will not burn your hands if the experiment goes wrong. It may give you an alert if you go wrong and suggest you the right tools to perform with.

Higher Retention:
Imagine being on any industrial site, looking through your device and see the equipment in front of you tagged with its name, contents, inspection dates, maintenance schedule etc.
Another tap on the phone and you’re watching a step-by- step video of the maintenance process which you’re about to undertake, if you’re under-qualified, it may give warnings not to proceed, look at your current qualifications passport and direct you to the correct learning path.

5. What are your expansion plans for Studymarvel? How are you looking at approaching funding?

We have been bootstrapping since inception and have been approached by few of the other incubators and private investors. With our Proof of concept, we internally discussed on how we can launch the app before securing the first round of investment. Somehow, the time has arrived and we will be soon going for our seed round. We want Studymarvel to be a global education AR platform, having multiple language support and making the learners switch from typing to visually searching keywords and queries.

6. What impact do you think GST will have on education sector as it is connected with a lot of other sectors in the industry?

While ‘education’ continues to be a very important part of any country’s economic process, it additionally has been a priority for the govt. in extending tax advantages and different concessions to spice up education (primary and skilled/technical) within the country.

As far as we have studied, following education related services are mentioned under the GST: Curriculum or syllabus related or course materials, Assessment and examination fees, Student administrative services such as registration, printing of academic transcripts, issuing or replacement of student cards, late fee payments, administration of the library etc. Excursion and field trips related to the course of study or part of curriculum requirement, except for food and accommodation supplied on those trips.

It doesn’t directly impact various business startup ideas currently, but we are keen to understand its pros and cons in Edtech industry and what kind of opportunities it brings as it rolls country wide.

7. Do you have any quotes, ideologies which you live by? We would like to know what drives the entrepreneur within you.

Irrespective of all of our co-founders being a part of Generation Y, and under the age of 25, understanding technology comes like a charm to us. The urge to create something is really hard to kill, and that’s what has been driving us. Being from a generation where we started with tacky button phones, to the smoothest touch phones and even wearables, we clearly have seen how scalable technologies have made the world simpler and smarter and we always strive to be a part of this revolution.

Some quotes which have always keep us moving are:

Frugality
Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed expense.

Customer Obsession
Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.

The above 2 quotes are from Amazon’s 14 Principles.

8. To Soma: India still has a very few number of female entrepreneurs. What is your vision about women entrepreneurship in India?

In India, women comprise about 30 percent of the corporate senior management positions, which is notably higher than the global average (24 percent). We believe that women entrepreneurs have an edge over male entrepreneurs. Edges matter to investors. And the numbers back this up outside India. I believe that this is also true in India.
But entrepreneurship in India is growing in the form of new business startup ideas, but lots of hindrances are still there for women to take entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, in India, the majority of the people link women as home-makers. The primary quality required to be an entrepreneur or business success is the ability to take risks and dream big. Culturally, women are not risk takers. The risk business is dominated by men. There are many exceptions, but I’m talking about the average.

AR Soma Talk

When it comes to women, the first thing that strikes is the society and its unjustified restrictions. If a woman is doing business, It’s nothing but if she cooks well then she is admirable. Even if she tries to come out of the box and prepares to take off on a dream flight, her own family starts imposing various restrictions.

On the other side, if we talk about opportunities arising for women entrepreneurs, it is just starting to gain some momentum. It will surely take time and steps by the Indian government for women entrepreneurs’ empowerment as well as by the entrepreneurs themselves. The socio-economic scenario in India is gradually changing for the better with various business startup ideas emerging and a comparison with last year’s gender rating substantiates this point. Without any steps taken by the government like properly framed policies are helping women to take an audacious step to choosing entrepreneurship as a career path.


We at Pick My Story truly believe in the business startup ideas that Yash and Soma have. Studymarvel clearly seems to be the startup for the future generations and we believe that it is bound to personify the education space in the country.

Do let us know what you think about our work by dropping a comment down here or by sending us a message on Facebook. Stay tuned and we will soon be here with some new stories to guide you through how to be an entrepreneur!

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1 Comment Already

  1. Nice write-up team pick my story.
    Great work.keep it up.

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