Out of our interest to learn more about Engrami and its utilization for all online learners who spend a lot of time on MOOCs and online courses, we reached out to the person behind this app. And we were happy to interview Sandeep Bapna, Founder at Engrami.
Here is a transcript of the interview.
What would be an elevator pitch for someone who does not know about your product?
Engrami is a people discovery and messaging app for online learners on platforms like Coursera, edX and many more.
What is your company’s core value proposition? What problem are you solving and for whom?
With online courses you are offered a huge breadth of knowledge from many different fields, however this comes with the tradeoff that you are learning in a silo. A valuable part of the learning experience is sharing and discussing the new concepts you are being introduced to and building connections to those you learn with.
Through our free app, learners can connect with classmates, follow courses across different platforms and keep all their learning activity – courses, notes and connections – in one place.
How do you plan to check on the user satisfaction?
We are building a product that helps learners get the most out of learning content. Our core product development process is driven by constant user feedback. Each one in the team is required to talk to a few users every week. We also track certain metrics internally to help guide us what is working for our users and what is not.
What is the driving passion, why are you passionate about this product? What is your vision?
At Engrami we are a bunch of curious autodidacts. We love learning new subjects, traveling to new places and experiencing new adventures. We want to connect users around the world who share the passion of learning.
What is the stage of the product? Where do you see your company in 12 or 18 months from now?
Engrami App is currently available for iphones. Here is the link https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/engrami-the-mooc-app/id941582791?ls=1&mt=8. The app has been downloaded in 50+ countries. We are working on an android version. People interested in the android version can sign up on engrami.com. We are a team of 4, based out of Hauz Khas village.
What is the biggest need for your startup?
Engrami is a funded start-up and we are fortunate to have a good team in place. We are building a community for learners and the hardest part in building a community application is to get to critical mass.
What are your views about the growth of Education Technology industry?
We are living in interesting times when it comes to education sector. Our belief is that lots of changes currently underway (unbundling of services provided by college/university, availability of online content, personalized learning products, alternative methods of credentialing etc) will have a huge impact on the structure of the industry in the next 5-10 years.
Tell us about your team, who do you have supporting you? How did this start?
Sandeep Bapna is founder of Engrami. Previously, he had a long stint with IFC – World Bank’s private sector investment arm. At IFC, he led 30+ investments across Asia, Latin America and Africa.
While taking a course on gamification, Sandeep found himself missing the camaraderie of learning with classmates and interacting with them. He set out to find others in his course, and assembled a group of people from different parts of the world, including a student pursuing PhD in ramification, a CEO of a gaming company, a development economist amongst others. His group ended up having a completion rate that was substantially higher than the course average. He quickly realized that a set channel for learners to connect was missing in the learning space. Thus, he decided to build Engrami.
We are a team of 4, supported by advisors who are former entrepreneurs, education experts and VCs.
What/Who motivates you? Any thought leader or companies with innovation which you follow for success?
We look up to several education companies that are attempting to bring the best education to everyone in the world. We are big fans of Coursera, Khan Academy, Knewton amongst others.
Who would you call your competitors? And how are you different?
We are the first company that is attempting to build a complete social and engagement layer for online learners. Currently, the users are able to create similar functionality through a variety of tools like facebook groups, twitter, emails, course discussion forums, whatsapp and other messaging services. Managing multiple tools is cumbersome and a user needs to do this for each course she is taking. Engrami App provides a simple way to connect with classmates, follow courses across different platforms and keep all their learning activity – courses, notes and connections – in one place.
What are the biggest challenges of your edtech startup?
Getting to critical mass of users fast enough to kick in community benefits.
Do you think this app can solve problems for you online learners? Share your views in the comment box.