Chirag Patel is an IT industry veteran, but has remained a technocrat at heart. He holds the patent on the concept/process used for CramBuddy, an android app that allows delivery of education content on mobile phones. “The idea germinated when I saw my high school son using flash cards, a study technique that has not changed over time. Students these days tend to spend more time memorising content rather than applying their learning. We knew there could be a better way for them to be motivated and challenged while remembering technical terms, dates, events, formulae, laws and other such mundane stuff,” explains Patel.
Patel studied at The Valley School, Bangalore, where he enjoyed the emphasis on holistic growth and picked up hobbies like photography, carpentry and aero modelling, which he indulges in even today. Patel was fascinated by computers at a very young age, because of his teacher who had earlier worked at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He later did a BE in computer science from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, where, in his final year, he created a reporting module for an optical reader that was installed at many large companies.
Having lost his father at a young age, Patel took up sericulture and also grew crops like coconut and coffee after graduation. He kept his interest in computer science alive by working on freelance projects. In 1998, Patel co-founded Agni Software to develop a highly customisable Enterprise Resource Planning system, before starting MobiTatva in 2011.
CramBuddy is a learning, revision and self-assessment social gaming app which was developed after extensive interaction with teenage students, who not only wanted learning content from their teachers, but also wanted to share content with friends and learn collaboratively. Patel says, “We created a platform using our IP protected MCDF™ - Mobility Content Delivery Framework, to enable content delivery for anyone who wishes to store, share or trade knowledge, both in open and closed groups.”
Launched in September 2012, CramBuddy has crowd-sourced more than 18,000 flash cards. It also collaborates with brands like BSA and Café Coffee Day, for the CramBuddy Monthly League contests. Since its Alpha release, it has garnered 15,000+ downloads, with crowd sourced content including 30+ student contributors and five academicians/business entities.
Initially, CramBuddy was a platform for the teachers/academicians to put up their content and the students being the content consumers. He says, “We got feedback from the students that they not only want the content from the teachers/academician but also wanted their content to be hosted in our platform which will help them and also their friends. This led CramBuddy to be a crowd-sourced content delivery platform.” Now their content has a mixture of general knowledge and academic quizzes, texts, illustrations, images and more, especially for students in classes VIII-XII. This content has been designed to grab and keep students’ attention, which is what sets them apart from their competitors in the same domain.
Patel says, “Entrepreneurs in the education space should understand the real pain points of Gen Z, rather than designing products based on how they themselves would like to be taught or use technology.” The mobile penetration among the 13-19 age group makes it a large market of 25 million students. Patel believes that is worth exploring and cashing in on.
The writer is an entrepreneur in the e-learning domain