How Vawsum Bridges the Gap Between Parents, Teachers and Kids

Ed-tech is drastically changing the education scenario in India. Lately, many tech startups have come up with innovative ways to solve different issues. There are ed-tech startups for learning math, science, language, etc, for finding a college or for funding student’s educations and much more.

Vawsum, a Kolkata based Ed-Tech startup has come up with yet another innovative idea. This ed-tech startup connects the parents and teachers so that the parent’s remain updated about the child’s performance in school and can take an active part in the child's education. We interviewed Vawsum founder Aditya Maheswari to know more about the startup.

Vawsum Startup Success Story

Startup Name Vawsum
Headquarter Kolkata
Founders Aditya Maheswari, Sayantan Bhattacharjee & Gagan Maheshwari
Sector Ed-tech
Founded 2016
Parent Organization Vawsum Schools Pvt. Ltd.

About Vawsum
Education and Ed-tech Industry in India
Founders of Vawsum and Team
How was Vawsum Started
Vawsum - Name and Logo
What is Vawsum
Vawsum - Business Model and Revenue Model
Vawsum - User Acquisition
Vawsum - Funding and Investors
Vawsum - Competitors
Vawsum - Growth
Vawsum - Awards and Acheivements
Vawsum - Future Plans

About Vawsum

Vawsum is an ed-tech startup based in Kolkata. Founded in 2016, Vawsum focuses on digital learning, parent-teacher communication and child safety. Schools can now send class notes, class updates and educational videos at a click of a button to enhance students’ learning. Besides, Vawsum app has amazing features like real-time attendance updates, in-app fees payments, school bus proximity notifications to enhance the child’s safety. Vawsum envisions to empower parents to provide holistic growth to their children.

We believe that Learning can be made awesome for all sections of society, irrespective of pedagogy, economic, behavioral and geographic constraints by leveraging technology.

Education and Ed-tech Industry in India

Vawsum is primarily made for educational institutes. Educational Institutes include pre-schools, primary, secondary and higher secondary schools, graduate and post graduate colleges as well as tuition and coaching institutes.

There is a large number of educational institutes in India. The K-12 school system in India is one of the largest in the world with more than 1.4 million schools. Again Wikipedia mentions that In January 2019, India had over 900 universities and 40,000 colleges. Besides, there are also a huge number of coaching centers. Vawsum as such has a wide industry to serve.

As far as the Ed-Tech sector is concerned, it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.4% during 2018 – 2024.

Relevant Read: EdTech Startup 'Notebook' is Making Self Learning Easy for School Goers

Founders of Vawsum and Team

Aditya Maheswari, Sayantan Bhattacharjee and Gagan Maheswari founded Vawsum in 2016.

Aditya Maheswari is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vawsum. Aditya is an alumnus of Calcutta Boys’ School. He completed his graduation with economics honours from Presidency University Kolkata and MBA from Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) Delhi. Following that he completed CFA (USA). Aditya has 6+ years of experience working with Hindustan Unilever. A Gold Medallist in School, Aditya had always wanted to make a difference in the field of education by incorporating technology. With that vision, he started Vawsum.

Sayantan Bhattacharjee is the Chief Operation Officer (COO) of Vawsum. Sayantan is an alumnus of Calcutta University and did his MBA from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. He did his schooling from various schools across India such as Indore Public School, Lilavati Bai Poddar High School Mumbai, St. Paul’s School Patna and completing from Calcutta Boys’ School. Prior to Vawsum, Sayantan has 8+ years of experience in Sales and Marketing, in organizations like Madura Coats, Avon Beauty Products and VLCC.

Gagan Maheswari is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Vawsum. Gagan is an engineer from Birla Institute of Technology (BITS), Mesra. Gagan did his schooling from Lincolns High School and BSF senior secondary residential school, Siliguri. Prior to Vawsum, Gagan has worked with HP, Infosys and Samsung with 10+ years of experience in Healthcare, Internet Banking and Railway projects.

Vawsum has structured itself into various departments such as Information Technology, Marketing, Digital, Customer Service, Human Resources, Finance for smooth functioning. Vawsum has specialists in the field of education, software, training and change management. The company’s varied team has got engineers from IIT, NIT, etc., management professionals from NMIMS, FMS as well as members with experience of working with leading companies with the education industry.

How was Vawsum Started

The idea to start Vawsum came to Aditya, who himself as a young parent was facing the challenge of not being able to take an active part in his child’s upbringing. It was 2015, and Aditya was working in Hindustan Unilever and was quite busy in his professional life. As a young parent, he wanted to be actively involved in his child’s education and upbringing, but his work left me with little time.

He explored available options for some technology or solution that would help him take part in his child’s upbringing and ensure better education and safety. He realized that the options available in the market were either too expensive or too complicated or simply ineffective. This inspired Aditya to think about a product that could fill this gap and help parents like him be an active part of the child's education.

Vawsum was conceived out of the stubborn desire to be an active participant in every event, throughout my child’s education, with minimal time and cost investment -Aditya

The name Vawsum is derived from the words ‘very awesome’.

Our core idea was to “make learning awesome”. Hence, awesome was a word which stuck to our mind. Then one fine day, our tech guy said, what we are making isn’t just Awesome, but more than that “very awesome” or in short “Vawsum”.  

Relevant Read: The Learning Buddy- Making Learning Fun with Augmented Reality

What is Vawsum

The Vawsum app connects the parents, students and teachers and helps them interact and share information with one another, get important updates and even pay fees. Once all the stakeholders of a school download the Vawsum mobile app, all school-specific communication will be routed through the App.

There are three sections of the App:

  1. “Diaries” for One to Many communication
  2. “Messages” for One to One communication
  3. “Reports and Tools” for Attendance, Fees, Bus tracking and other modules used by the school for school management.

Each “Diary” represents a “Class-Section-Subject” combination. Teachers are mapped to Diaries on the basis of subjects they teach, and students and their parents are mapped to Diaries basis subjects the student studies. A teacher selects the relevant Diary and makes a “Diary Entry” to communicate with the members of a Diary.  Moment, the teacher makes the “Diary entry” the parents get a notification and an SMS on their mobile.

Teachers can use the “Announcement” feature to send classwork and homework updates. He can attach pictures, files and videos to discuss a chapter concept or other matter. The teacher is free to share media content created by self or from websites and YouTube. The hassle of repeated follow-ups with administrative staff of the school will no longer hold back teachers from sharing important updates with parents. Moreover, the personal details are not shared with parents unlike in other messaging applications.

Teachers use the “Quiz” feature of Vawsum to take MCQ tests and the “Poll” feature to solicit opinions. Students can engage with teachers and between themselves to get their doubts resolved even after school hours.

Vawsum ensures that all the stakeholders of a school understands and can use the app properly. It focuses that any institute that takes the Vawsum mobile application is given complete details of the application so that admin, professors and students can use it. Vawsum has an on-ground service team of about 100 members, who are regularly in contact with the customers to ensure that they are content and satisfied with its product.

Vawsum - Business Model and Revenue Model

Vawsum currently has a B2B business model. It enters in contract with the schools and provides its software to schools.

Speaking of the revenue model, schools pay a monthly subscription charge for availing Vawsum for its stakeholders. The subscription charge is on a per-student basis. Revenue is enhanced by sales of premium modules which focus on child security, parent’s convenience and school productivity. Offline SMS service is also available at an additional charge.

Vawsum - User Acquisition

Vawsum is a product which is easy to understand, however, being in the technology space the Vawsum team felt the need to have a physical demonstration of the product as well as on ground training. They believed that handling “change management” will be key to the success of its product.

Vawsum initially focused on play schools. The playschool community being a close-knit one, the Vawsum team was able to get many references from the playschools they served. This helped Vawsum build a good customer base.

Vawsum has a phygital model i.e it has a physical relationship management team to complement its digital product. This helps Vawsum build good customer relations.

The company is focusing on going deep in select cities for increasing its user base, instead of spreading wings.

We believed that concentrating on selected cities will serve well for the B2B evolving market that we are working in, and helped us move from 100 to 1000 + clients.

While Vawsum was initially offering its services to pre-school only, there is an interesting story behind how it started to offer its services to schools.

“Initially we thought of Vawsum as a product tailored for pre-schools. In fact, all of our initial clients were preschools. A new employee had joined Vawsum. Due to the gap in his training, he was under the impression that we targeted schools as well. When he converted his first school, a new market opened for us. Ever since the response has been great. Today, 80% of our clients are Schools!”- Says Aditya

Relevant Read: My Class Campus- An All in One Education ERP

Vawsum - Funding and Investors

Vawsum has not raised any external funding till date.

Vawsum - Competitors

The top competitors of Vawsum are Uolo, Teno & Class Dojo.

Any company providing a communication platform is a threat to Vawsum. We also have a large unorganized market with local players.

Vawsum - Growth

Vawsum currently has a good stronghold in East India. Vawsum’s most notable clients are Mt. Litera Zee School and Ajmal Group of Colleges.

Mt. Litera Zee School is a franchisee school with schools spread across India and they were already using a similar platform as a school management tool. Getting an appointment itself was difficult, and then after a lot of following up, they agreed to use our product because it was helping them win more students.

Ajmal Group of Colleges is based in northeast India. They needed an inclusive solution for parents of students who did not own smartphones, as well as spoke in regional languages. It is an achievement for the Vawsum team to create a product considering these requirements.

While working for Ajmal Group of Colleges, we understood the gap between the rural and digital India and built on our product. This helped us to expand our horizons and deliver a quality product to close the gaps between different classes of people in India.

Vawsum - Awards and Achievements

Some of the rewards and recognition received by Vawsum are-

  • Awarded by Shri. Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister Maharashtra at MGC 2019
  • Recognized as a STARTUP by DIPP (GOI)
  • Selected by Niti Aayog (GOI) to meet the French Delegation.
  • Selected by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India (AGNIi) for the Innovation Showcase
  • National Finalists in TiE Hot Pitch
  • National Finalists in TATA, IIM-C organized Social Ventures Competition

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Vawsum - Future Plans

Vausum aims is to "Make Learning Awesome" and is planning to strengthen the offerings of "Digital Learning", "Instant Communication" & "Child Safety". Vawsum is working towards introducing  products like Vaw-Me, Teaching Assistant and Vawsum Competitions. Vaw-Me will consist of curated engaging content related to students and parents. Teaching assistant contains content based on CBSE syllabus and competitions will promote inter-school engagement/ activities.

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About Chayanika Goswami

Chayanika is an MBA in Finance and a trained Digital Marketer. SEO and content writing are her hobbies turned profession. She is a rover. In her free time, she loves traveling and cracking jokes.
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