QUEEN'S ROAD: Superprofs.com works with qualified academicians from across the country to provide online coaching for competitive exams.
The company recently launched a smartphone app that works on 2G and enables students to view HD video lectures even at a bandwidth of 100 kbps. These videos can be played without internet as well.
Piyush Agarwal, CEO and founder of the company, pursued his B Tech and M Tech at IIT Kanpur, after which he went to Stanford University on a full scholarship.
Stanford offers its students an extensive distance learning programmes through video lectures. This motivated Piyush to adopt video compression techniques and develop online courses that would benefit Indians in rural areas.
"Only major cities in India have centres that provide coaching for competitive exams. Students from villages need to travel a long way and spend a lot of money for a couple of years of coaching. Our company aims at bridging this gap," says Piyush.
Though there are many websites that offer study materials on the Internet, few have qualified tutors, he says. "Every professor in our network is efficient and popular among students."
From Bengaluru, around one-and-half lakh students visit Superprofs.com every month, and around two lakh students are already getting coached.
What does he think about tutorials weakening the formal college system and pressurising students to score more marks? "Students are ambitious and they want be at the top of their professions. Formal education alone will not get them there. That is where the extra coaching comes in handy," he added.
Students can enrol for the service by paying RS 5,000, which, Piyush says, is much cheaper than what other tutorials charge.
Superprofs is supported by tech companies like Lari Capital and IDB Capital. Flipkart, Myntra and Snapdeal also fund the start-up. The technical team behind the company comprises techies who graduated from the IITs and IIMs.
How challenging was it for them to find good teachers? "Indian cities have plenty of qualified academicians. Unfortunately, due to lack of proper infrastructure, their expertise is rarely tapped into. We approach professors personally and speak to them about Superprofs to get them on board," Piyush says.