Indian parents are peculiar. They desperately want to make sure their kids excel in studies, so much so that they even engage the best private tutors for them before finding the best school. But for Vineet Dwivedi, a serial entrepreneur, the hunt for the best tutor for his kid ended up in the launch of flipClass, an online marketplace for private tuitions.
“My son needed help with Class V mathematics, but to my disbelief, the process of finding a teacher was both tiresome and unreliable. Despite the availability of a large number of tutors in the market, I found it difficult to hire a qualified and affordable tutor. I looked for days in various city classifieds and tutorials to help find that perfect tutor, who has vast subject knowledge, is easily approachable, and can make learning fun,” says Dwivedi. “After months of searching, the frustration and the desire to help myself and others like me got the best out of me. flipClass was started with the sole objective of providing a more professional approach to home tutoring,” he adds.
Bangalore- and Hyderabad-based flipClass aims to help children succeed academically and progress intellectually. The startup believes that personalised individual tuition helps the child learn better, clarify doubts and gives a chance to get ahead in the competitive environment. It provides tuition to children from kindergarten to class XII, across various education boards and subjects. The company also has tutors to help kids with various foreign languages such as French, German, Chinese and Spanish.
“All our tutors are well-qualified, experienced in various disciplines and come on board only after a stringent interview process. We also encourage people with a passion to teach to join us as part-timers to help make learning a joy and enriching experience,” adds Dwivedi.
flipClass works on a three-tier model to help cater to the customer’s requirement and give the best experience towards learning: a) online platform for matching the requirement of the parent with that of the tutor, b) assessment platform to gauge the student’s learning, and c) tools to support ongoing classes. Apart from this, it provides study material, worksheets, regular assessments to ensure the quality of teaching.
Home tuition a US$25 billion industry
India being a key player in the international education market, one can find that there are huge opportunities that present itself in various segments, adds Dwivedi. While the education sector itself is a huge market, the home-tuition industry is valued at US$25 billion, with an annual growth rate of 20 per cent.
flipClass, claims Dwivedi, has an active database of over 2,500 students and 5,000 filtered and experienced tutors on board who have successfully completed 100,000 academic hours. This keeps increasing at a rate of 15-20 per cent monthly. “In the last academic year, 210 students appeared for class X board examination, and 180 students appeared for class XI. About 82 per cent of our students scored more than 90 per cent in their respective examinations,” he shares.
For home tuition, the startup is mainly catering to students in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi, whereas the online tuition services are available across India. The company banks on a revenue-sharing model that helps tutors get a good chunk of the revenue. flipClass also incentivises tutors to encourage quality learning for students.
Raised funding through LetsVenture
Last August, the startup raised INR 1.5 crore (approx. US$240,000) via online deal-making platform LetsVenture for expansion and improvement of the technology platform. Dwivedi says flipClass will go to market to raise the next round of funding to expand the business to new cities in the next four-six months.
In Dwivedi’s view, as broadband penetration is fast growing in India, online tutoring with the advent of educational technology has a great future and scope. The company has also started providing blended tutoring (combination of home and online tuition), which is very effective in remote areas.
Dwivedi, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Bangalore, had earlier built Amogha Infotech, which developed algorithms in location-based services/mobile resource management (MRM); it got acquired by Xora, a leading MRM company in 2005.
His second startup, CareerMantra, developed a blended (online/offline) learning model; it was acqui-hired by TutorVista in March 2010.