Oust Labs, an education technology startup whose one-of-a-kind gamified platform helps students prepare better for competitive exams, has secured an undisclosed amount in seed funding round from T. V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education Services and Aarin Capital.
The company was founded in January 2015 in California by Shrikant Latkar, who was the Chief Marketing Officer of InMobi. It has been running trials of its app in smaller cities of Karnataka since August 2015. It has presence in California, Bangalore, Belagavi and Pune.
Oust Labs counts several Bay Area personalities as advisors including Paulette Altmaier, former head of partnerships at Khan Academy; Gurmeet Lamba, VP of Engineering of Sentient Technologies; and Venkatesh Venkataraman, entrepreneur and architect.
The startup, which might well be an instant hit in India, considering how students still rely on those age-old coaching classes methods for preparation, claims to have a total repository of 1.25 Lakh questions across physics, chemistry, maths, and biology subjects, which are curated by teachers and organized into modules.
It says that currently, it has more than 7,000 students on its platform. Those students play short 2-minute quizzes that consist of 5 questions on various subjects on their mobile devices., much like the popular app Quiz Up.
The company’s efforts include many forms of gamification and competitive challenges, cooperative knowledge discovery and sharing, and collaborative learning across local, state and national contexts.
Shrikant Latkar, founder and CEO of Oust Labs, said,
We tested our first version of the product with high school students last year. Based on their feedback, we completely re-architected our product to address their needs, so that students in smaller towns can seamlessly compete with students in larger metro cities and see where they stand. Several colleges, tuition centres and teachers are already using the product with their students and the feedback has been phenomenal. By making it easy for students to challenge peers in classes and other social contexts, we are able to engage students deeply in short bursts of time.
TV Mohandas Pai, who invested in the company, said in a prepared statement,
Online education is helping our students better prepare to excel in the knowledge-driven economy. While the challenge of delivering relevant and high-quality online content is being solved by a number of very promising ventures all over the world, there exists a larger fundamental challenge to engage and retain students’ attention on a constantly evolving paradigm of mobile and social.