Over the years, technology has changed the landscape of the Indian education sector, which paved the way for the edtech industry. According to reports, the opportunity in India’s online edtech market is estimated to soar to $1.96 billion in 2021. However, the critical factor responsible for this growth is the evolution of technology in this industry.
The edtech industry is set to play a key role in revolutionizing the education sector by addressing new challenges. These companies are working to introduce tools to analyse learning outcomes, and design interactive and structured pedagogy systems to increase engagement levels of students.
With such a vision, Noida-based edtech startup Gradeup has been working with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to provide a comprehensive exam preparation platform that provides live online courses from some of India’s best faculties.
Founded in 2013 by Sanjeev Kumar, Shobhit Bhatnagar and Vibhu Bhushan, Gradeup is an online preparation platform for competitive exams with a strong user base of more than 20 million exam aspirants. In the last four years, Gradeup has managed to raise $10 million in Series A funding from Times Internet, which has invested in and acquired other successful ventures such as Gaana, Delhivery, and MX player, among others.
Gradeup is a freemium platform, where anyone preparing for competitive exams can download the app or visit the website to start their preparation. Users can join the community, interact with fellow peers and mentors to get their doubts cleared, and access preparation material like previous years’ question papers, quizzes, and more. Additionally, there are certain paid services like Green card for the purchase of test series and Classroom – live classes, which aspirants can avail to add further value to their preparation.
How Is It Different From Others In The Market?
According to the founders, Gradeup is the only platform in the Indian edtech space to harness the latent potential of peer-to-peer learning and grow a thriving academic community out of it. Gradeup’s users have reported substantial improvement in preparation by interacting with other students. They said, “The peer-to-peer academic community has also been beneficial in adding efficacy as students have aided in the filtration process considerably, helping other candidates avoid studying redundant topics, suggesting the best source material to understand a particular topic, or guiding them to new avenues of information.”
How Gradeup Utilizes AI & ML
This platform is working on developing ML models to read complex math equations from images and use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to search equations better. They have also improved their AI algorithms to improve spam detection in community posts and searches.
Currently, the accuracy of their model stands at around 83%. Furthermore, the founders are in the process of building AI systems by which they can detect the quality of live classes and its effectiveness.
The founders said that Gradeup has been implementing AI and ML techniques to solve a few major problems. These are:-
- Helping students retain learnings for longer periods – An AI system is built which recommends a topic to students to revise after x number of days, based on their accuracy, last attempt, difficulty level of topic, and other parameters.
- Analysing question images for search – Gradeup’s ML algorithms are used to detect if a question contains equations, histogram, diagrams and other objects. Based on that, they run different OCRS and search algorithms to find an answer to the problem.
- Spam Filtering – To create a check on the quality of content created by users, Gradeup has deployed ML models which can detect if an image or text contains spam or other irrelevant content, and stops the user from proceeding.
The Core Tech Stack
Gradeup is fully hosted on AWS and uses Kubernetes for server deployment. For backed services, it uses latest technologies like NodeJS and Golang. Depending on the use-cases, the company uses different databases, which are postgres, cassandra and elasticsearch.
Kafka is being used as a queuing system, and in the front of the website, the company uses NextJS & ReactJS. In Android, the company has started moving the codes to Kotlin from Java, and most of the APIs are moved from REST-based to graphql.
Tackling Hiring Phase
According to the founders, the following three things play a vital role in the hiring process-
- Culture fit
- Passion for work and the right attitude
- Depth in the area of expertise
The other potential players in the space who are considered competitors include Unacademy, Adda and Testbook.
According to the founders, in the next five years, Gradeup is planning to cater to most of the exams that happen across India. They stated, “Our superior education quality will be able to help over five crore Indians prepare for different exams. We will be able to deliver the best results among our peers because of our strong focus on quality.”