With an experience in ILFS education as the head of new media and education division, Abinash Tripathy was in Pune recently to be a part of the sixth edition of Proto.in held in the city. With a technology education masters from Harvard, he was present at the event with his four member team as one of the fourteen finalists shortlisted for the main showcases projected in the event. During the busy schedule of the day, the team from English Seekho, Entreux Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Found some time to tell our team a little more about their product.
VP: Could you tell us a little more about English Seekho?
Abinash Tripathy: When you look at urban India, there are a lot of English speaking courses. However, this access is minimum in the rural heartlands. So we wanted to see if we can standardize knowledge and improve basic English speaking skills by using a mobile phone. For eg: Almost everyone knows the basic phrases like Good morning, How are you etc. We want to make the rural people understand the context in which these phrases should be used.
VP: What inspired this particular product and what is your target audience?
Abinash Tripathy: We have been a part of the education space for more than ten years now. We look at creating mass learning models in education through media. We had no idea about creating this particular technology and this is where Entreux helped us. Speech recognition has happened for the first time in India. We have special speech engineers who understand the Indian accents and help make their pronunciation better. We are targeting rural and semi urban youth as well as immigrants in cities.
VP: What is the revenue model you have in mind? Has the recession affected you in any manner?
Abinash Tripathy: We charge Rs 20 per month. One course can be completed within one and a half months. Also, the charge per minute is about 60 paise. One lesson lasts for around 5-8 minutes thus costing maximum Rs 70-80. In short our revenue model says that 80% of the total revenue that is created is kept by the service provider, in this case Tata Indicom, and we get the rest 20%. As far as the recession goes, our charges get us some 200 subscribers every day as customers. We have had talks with some subscribers. All they have to say is that they are extremely happy with the particular service with no mention of the recession. Also, education as a sector is the least affected by recession.
VP: What is the USP of English seekho and what are the future plans?
Abinash Tripathy: The USP would be that we want to positively impact the human capital on India. As far as the future plans are concerned we have plans to first localize the service. Currently the service is very North India based. We plan to expand it to South India by expanding the language base. We will localize the service so as to expand our customer base. From there we will be looking at the global market. There is a huge demand for English lessons even in the international markets. Right now we have taken our first step into a very large unexplored market.
VP: Why Proto.in and what are your expectations from the event?
Abinash Tripathy: Proto.in is one of the largest start up showcases in India. Being a part of this event is our way of telling the world that we are the force behind English Seekho. We are basically looking for follow ups on funding so that we can do all the things we want to do. Developing a speech engine for India is not an easy job so we need the right backing for that.
VP: What would your advice be to newcomers in the entrepreneur space?
Abinash Tripathy: They really need to solve the real customer needs. If your product tries to copy, it does not create a market and it does not impact the customers. If you try to impact lots of people’s lives, you will taste success sooner.
[Image courtesy: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/object3/1585/29/n129356550791_1590.jpg]