Chrysalis - Helping Every Child Discover Its Innate Potential

'Education is freedomsaid famous Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Education is meant to liberate us from ignorance. Education in its real sense should allow us to experience the joy of knowing the unknown. However, when we look around we see that in our country education has become a matter of fear rather than freedom. Today’s education system merely seems to be a tool to make children job-ready rather than life ready. The education system in India is simply letting the children absorb information and data rather than developing the thinking capabilities of the child. Chitra Ravi, a parent concerned over the damage that the present education system could do to her child, came up with certain solutions. Chitra started EZ Vidya, currently known as Chrysalis, that has come up with products that help in developing the thinking capabilities of the child, and makes education joyful, not fearful for the child.

StartupTalky interviewed Chrysalis' Director Ganesh Subramanian

Startup Success Story

StartupName Chrysalis
HeadQuarter (city) Chennai
Founder/s Name Chitra Ravi
Sector Education
Founded 2001
Parent Organization Chrysalis EZ Vidya Pvt. Ltd.

About Chrysalis and How it Works
Chrysalis - Founder
How was Chrysalis Started
Chrysalis – Name, Tagline and Logo
Chrysalis - Startup Launch
Chrysalis - User Acquisition
Chrysalis – Business Model and Revenue Model
Chrysalis - Funding & Investors
Chrysalis - Competitors
Chrysalis - Awards and Acheivements
Chrysalis – Future Plans

About Chrysalis and How it Works

Chrysalis has innovated an academic program for the formative years (2-12) years of a child’s education – “ThinkRoom”. Through the name itself, schools can easily understand the function of this programme, which is to awaken thinking, and where it is applied - in Classrooms. ThinkRoom is designed with a vision of awakening human potential in every child. The Curriculum (pedagogy) is created with a child centric philosophy.

Framework for Human Potential- Diagram by Chrysalis
Framework for Human Potential

Our school system produces children who are tested for memory in exams and not conceptual or thinking skills. In the past children were handed down information, without considering the development of their social thinking, emotional thinking, academic thinking or meta-cognitive thinking. Chrysalis do not wish to hand down information, they ensure that the children develop and practice the vital skill of thinking in relationship to the subjects being taught, they form habits of collaboration and self-management very early on, when their personalities are forming very deep notions about life and how to live in this world.

Chrysalis learning solutions can be adopted by any board or any school, as the solutions are designed under guidance of NCF (National curriculum framework) 2005 in terms of design of the pedagogy. ThinkRoom is an integrated academic program for maths, English, science and social studies in school. ThinkRoom is synthesis of Product (Subject Books called Studios), Service Design (Continuous Professional Development training for teachers) and (Mitra Tab) Technology for Authentic Assessment.

ThinkRoom though works within the constraints of the school syllabus, but completely transforming the way education is delivered. ThinkRoom awakens “thinking” in a child’s brain, and takes into account the whole brain, not just thinking that is academically brilliant, but while doing academics, they learn social and emotional and metacognitive skills, as the curriculum integrates learning in all dimensions within the context of the chapter being taught.

Relevant Read: Next Education - Offering 360 Degree Edtech Solutions to the K-12 Segment

Chrysalis - Founder

Chitra  Ravi is the founder of Chrysalis. A management graduate, Chitra has a great passion for education. Chitra deftly combines her skills in conceptualization, storyboarding and instructional design to deliver products and services which are dynamic and on par with any international curriculum standards. Chitra has widely traveled to the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and South East Asia and has participated in many international training programmes and conventions including the Project Zero conducted by the Harvard University exclusively for educators. She has also presented a programme on effective use of technology in K-12 curriculum for one of the biggest satellite channels in India.

How was Chrysalis Started

An English graduate and MBA degree holder, Chitra worked with Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank after graduation and later joined her family real estate business. She had no plans to venture into the education sector, until she realized that what her daughter was being taught at school was contributing nothing to bring out her innate potential. Being a parent she was genuinely concerned to see that most of the energy of the children at school was spent in rote learning rather than gaining practical experience.

She noticed that even computer science which should actually be taught practically, was being taught through textbooks rather than through practical training.

Children were wilting away due to the pressures of the system instead of blossoming into beautiful human beings - Ganesh says

Chitra wanted to make a difference to a way computer science is being taught at schools, and she started Chrysalis. Chrysalis  initially was into the development of  teacher training module ( focused on both skills and dispositions) and ICT curriculum, which was designed to deliver computer literacy. The ICT curriculum was designed based on Chrysalis' philosophy of making the children learn better through thinking.  This later paved way for ThinkRoom, where Chrysalis developed a curriculum based on its framework which is a combination of practices adopted by every progressive country in the area of education. The company was initially known as EZ Vidya and in 2016, it was named Chrysalis.

Students participating in the ThinkRoom Programme
Students participating in the ThinkRoom Programme

Chrysalis’ logo is a butterfly. Chrysalis is the state of transformation from pupa to a butterfly, and butterflies are as colorful as the different kids who Chrysalis reaches out to. Nothing better communicates what they intend to do and with whom, they intend to bring a transformation in the education system and love to make products that benefit the children.

Chrysalis Logo
Chrysalis Logo

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Chrysalis - Startup Launch

Chrysalis’ team members were in communication with some schools through ICT programme and when they came up with ThinkRoom, they promoted it organically, presented it in a lot of Principal forums, like sahodaya and more. They conducted Principal connect events across their reachable geography according to their capacity at the time.

The startup focused on consistent great product design, direct sales and events that connected them to the stakeholders. Chrysalis is very organic in the way they proceed.

Chrysalis - User Acquisition

Schools are a complex eco-system and the teachers, principals, school owners, parents; all of them are crucial, and it is important for Chrysalis that its curriculum is trusted by all these stakeholders. Therefore, it is different from SaaS products or other services offered in the market.

school partnerships are an emotional bond - Ganesh

Chrysalis team strive to maintain and nurture these valued bonds with its partner schools through continuous communication. Their campaigns are built to inspire transformation in the mind-sets of the stakeholders and, mostly BTL (Below the Line) in nature.

There is one campaign that brought Chrysalis a lot of traction - “Dream for the Child” , written by Chrysalis' marketing head and recorded in Chrysalis CEO - Mrs. Chitra Ravi’s voice, it had a huge impact, and attracted 2000 members from different walks of life to join Chrysalis.

Chrysalis - Business Model and Revenue Model

Chrysalis is a B2B business and their financial transactions are with the school authorities, specifically, the school owners. ThinkRoom is Chrysalis' flagship product. Good part of their revenue is from this product.

Chrysalis - Funding and Investors

In 2017, Chrysalis raised undisclosed amount of funding from Manterra and Gray Matters Capital ( GMC)

Chrysalis - Competitors

Actually, it is the children who motivate us to do our best

As competition is concerned,  the Chrysalis team do not see the school eco-system as a marketplace. Neither, they try to size up the competition to remain ahead of them .

Our product is designed to fundamentally change the nature of education while our competitors, to say it simply, are focused on making the delivery of the current education in its old state itself, faster, easier, better etc. Yes, the market does perceive Chrysalis in the same category, so we don’t try to stay ahead, but simply communicate the divergent benefit that we are offering, and it requires an empowered school leader who is looking for such curriculum to associate with us - Ganesh says explaining Chyrsalis' view on competition

Chrysalis - Awards and Acheivements

  • In 2002, Chrysalis (EZ Vidya) entered into Wipro's 'Quality Education Forum'. EZ Vidya within just 6 months from its inception became partners with Wipro for research in education.
  • In 2011, EZ Vidya received mBillionth Award for innovation in education for 'Bridge IT', an initiative to use standard mobile phone for improving quality for  teaching.
  • In 2013, Buzzle App was introduced by Chrysalis ( EZ Vidya). Buzzle was India's first personalized learning and assessment app which is integrated with 'Studio' ( Studio is a component of Chrysalis' product - 'ThinkRoom')
  • In 2013, E Z Vidya Pvt. Ltd. was chosen as the Game Changer of the year from a pool of 63000 companies, by ET NOW Leaders of Tomorrow.
  • In 2017 - Best Academic Innovative Curriculum,  by Indian Education Awards.
  • In 2018 -  Chrysalis was featured among the top 7 companies in KIES EduAwards.
Chrysalis Founder, Chitra Ravi at The ET Now 'Game Changer of the Year Award', 2013
Chrysalis Founder, Chitra Ravi at The ET Now 'Game Changer of the Year Award', 2013

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Chrysalis - Future Plans

Chrysalis has partnered with 700 schools till now and has reached over 4,00,000 students. Chrysalis enjoys the highest retention rates in the industry with over 80%. The company is aiming to scale up and reach as many schools they can, with a growth rate of 40%+.

we are organic in our leadership as well, so we have to see how this shapes up. Education is going through a transformation now,  and we are rightly positioned to take a lead, because we already have a well developed curriculum framework, and as a proof of concept, we have 700 schools operational in the existing design.

Besides, Chrysalis is now operating in 10 Indian states including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, and also Nepal and Africa. The company is also slowly reaching Maharashtra, Delhi, northern states of the country.

Chrysalis envisions to awaken Human Potential in every child, and is aiming to scale from its current 700 partner schools to 1500 schools in 2019-20.

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About Chayanika Goswami

  • Assam