BANGALORE: Vijay Babu Gandhi was concerned that his five-year old son, Aadhav, was spending a lot of time watching TV and playing with his mobile phone. As this is an age when the brain undergoes major development, he wanted to engage his son in meaningful activities, but was hard pressed for time and did not find anything readily available in the market. He teamed up with Arunprasad Durairaj, a former colleague from TCS, to start Flinto Learning Solutions, which develops products to engage kids at home, without the need for constant supervision by parents.
Flintobox is a series of monthly discovery boxes for children aged between three and seven, that have been conceptualised by educators, prototyped by designers, and manufactured by top-of-the-line printers. The boxed toys are shipped to customers every month, and include activities for children to create, play, explore and read about a particular theme, while catering to critical developmental areas like motor skills, social skills, communication, imagination and sensory evolution. The theme for March is ‘world Traveller’, and includes stories, games and activities.
Flintobox was awarded the ‘Coolest Startup of 2014’ Award by Business Today, the ‘Best Education Startup of 2014’ award by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and won the Wharton India Startup Competition 2015.
“After interviewing more than 65 parents to understand their ‘pain’ points, we wanted to see how many of them would be happy to get our first box for a discounted price. Over 50 parents signed up immediately. We built and shipped these boxes quickly. Within 15 days, more than 75 per cent of them came back asking for more,” recalls Durairaj about the early days of the venture. The Flintobox costs `1,095 for a one-month subscription, `2,985 for a three-month subscription and `5,370 for a six-month subscription. They currently have 5,500 paid subscribers for the product.
“I strongly believe that the existing early education system for children needs an upgrade. We brought in people with expertise in child development, game design and education to build the first Flintobox prototype. Parents and children loved the freshness of the idea and the quality of the product. This encouraged us to take the plunge to build Flintobox as a company,” says Durairaj. The company was incorporated in September 2013.
Durairaj worked with TCS for over five years before going to the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth, US, for his MBA. He then worked with the Mergers and Acquisitions team of Samsung Engineering, before co-founding Zinghopper, a location based ride-sharing service. He brings with him a strong background in product management. Gandhi has worked with technology companies like Sun Microsystems, Oracle and July Systems. He is an Instrumentation Engineer from Madras Institute of Technology, Anna University, Chennai. He is interested in photography and played squash during his college days.