Online YC Demo Day Includes a Byju’s Rival, Quiz Bowl App and Parenting Advice Platform

Mar 18, 2020

COVID-19 led to a more demure, online-only version of startup accelerator Y Combinator’s demo day event this week for its winter cohort.

Instead of company founders presenting to crowds at a venue in the San Francisco Bay Area, they provided one-slide presentations, a company description and biographies of employees for a Y Combinator website. The website will be available until April 15.

Here’s a look at some of the education-related companies “presenting” among the 197 companies in YC’s winter 2020 batch. Information comes from the materials the companies submitted to YC and their websites.

Able Jobs

HQ: Bangalore, India
Founded: 2019

Hiring candidates without the need of a resume filter, a job agency or scheduled interviews. That’s the selling point for Able Jobs, started in part by two former employees of online courses platform Udacity.

Able Jobs CEO Ravish Agrawal previously served as a growth marketing manager at Udacity, managing 60 percent of the company’s $4 million consumer-focused India business. Siddarth Srivastav, Able Jobs’ chief product officer, managed localization of Udacity courses in India.

The startup provides an app for job training in India in sales, support and marketing. Able Jobs promises companies no payment until a candidate is hired. At that point, companies pay Able Jobs the equivalent of one month of the employee’s annual salary—about $150—per hire. The company says it made 130 job placements in February and that it can train candidates for jobs in as little as five days.

Edlyft

HQ: San Francisco
Founded: 2019

For $250 a month per student, Edlyft provides computer science majors with group tutoring, study groups and guidance from people already proficient in the subject. The startup is available at seven four-year colleges in California and, after launching earlier this year, has eight paying students from the University of California at Los Angeles; UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley.

Users receive weekly hourlong homework walkthrough sessions led by a mentor, weekly 90-minute sessions for help on specific homework problems and four hours a week of mentor office hours, among other services. Reduced scholarship prices are available for students on financial aid.

This isn’t CEO Erika Hairston’s first foray into edtech. She previously led LinkedIn Learning’s social learning team as a product manager.

EduRev

HQ: Gurgaon, India
Founded: 2017

This startup aims to help students in India between 15 and 23 years old study for a variety of entrance and occupational exams. EduRev claims more than one million downloads and $140,000 in annual recurring revenue from 21,000 paying users.

With price packages that range from from 499 rupees (about $7) a month to 1,499 rupees (about $20) for two years, EduRev offers videos, notes and practice tests on subjects that range from business and programming to engineering and economics. The platform hosts more than 500 courses and 100,000 videos, documents and tests. Users receive access to study groups and a question bank of tens of thousands of questions.

Materials on the platform are available in multiple languages, including English, Hindi and French. Users who cannot afford the platform can also apply for partial scholarships.

The co-founders—CEO Kunaal Satija and chief operating officer Hardik Dhamija—are no strangers to edtech. In college, they founded an online exchange for used books that grew to 14 colleges and the sale of more than 3,000 books. They also founded a business-to-business company bought by a chain of educational institutes within three years of launch.

The startup previously participated in Facebook’s FbStart program for growing mobile startups.

A look at EduRev’s paid service

Modern Village

HQ: Seattle
Founded: 2019

For $30 a month, parents receive access to this startup’s scheduling app to help manage childcare, meals, sitters, teachers and chores, among other caregivers and tasks. Modern Village claims to save parents 10-plus hours a week, though it is only in closed beta testing.

Founder Avni Patel Thompson previously founded Poppy, another YC alum that connected parents with caregivers. The company shut down in 2018 despite raising $2 million and facilitating 36,000 bookings between thousands of families and caregivers, according to GeekWire. Thompson said at the time that she could not find a sustainable and scalable business model.

She also worked for about a year as a senior brand manager with Starbucks.

Pahamify

HQ: Bogor, Indonesia
Founded: 2019

CEO Syarif Rousyan Fikri started college at 15, dropped out of a doctorate program at 24 and became a YouTube personality, amassing 360,000 subscribers. Now, he leads the team at Pahamify, which provides an app for college entrance exam test prep for students in Indonesia.

Pahamify (or “Understand” in English) charges at least $24 a year for features that include animated videos, college counseling and practice exams. The app covers subjects that range from science to social studies to economics.

The startup claims to have $7,000 in monthly revenue through subscriptions. It’s leaders say that average user sessions are 45 minutes and that they have 65,000 monthly users.

Pantheon

HQ: San Francisco
Founded: 2019

Besting other students in quiz bowl-style questions could land students spots at colleges and companies. That’s the hope, anyway, for the founders of this startup, currently in beta testing and targeted toward high school and middle school students.

The app, formerly called Blitz Bowl, matches students based on skill level. It launched earlier this year and has drawn 58 users who have played 112 matches. Pantheon CEO and co-founder Akshath Sivaprasad previously built a nonprofit, offline version of the company called Science Infinity about 10 years ago. Science Infinity connects hundreds of students in the Seattle area.

Pantheon makes money by charging companies a recruiter fee for job candidates.

StayQrious

HQ: Bangalore, India
Founded: 2020

Employees from one of India’s top fundraising edtech companies, Byju’s, left the tutoring app provider to start this provider of live online coding classes for students ages 8 to 15 in India.

StayQrious chief product officer Shankar Ram worked in the ideation, design, implementation and iteration stages of the Byju’s platform. Co-founder Aanand Srinivas previously served as head of content for Byju’s—not to mention a similar role at Khan Academy’s India branch. And co-founder Avinash Anand worked as content development head of physics and a science content creator at Byju’s.

StayQrious claims to have a higher retention rate compared to Byju’s. As part of StayQrious, students are placed into small learning groups and must create apps as part of capstone projects.

Co-founder Aanand Srinivas introduces StayQrious

Trustle

HQ: San Francisco
Founded: 2019

When turning to the internet and social media for answers to why children have stopped sleeping and started throwing tantrums, parents may encounter contradictory and confusing information. Instead, Trustle proposes parents match with a dedicated parenting and child development expert to answer their questions.

How it works is parents first choose the payment package they want. For $50 a month, they receive a 45-minute initial call with an expert, unlimited text support and 30 minutes of calls a month. A $69 one-time consultation call includes two weeks of texting for follow-ups after the 45-minute call.

Next, parents select the issues they’re dealing with from a list and provide their child’s age. The platform matches parents with a coach who has at least a master’s degree in early childhood development or a similar field and 10-plus years of experience working with parents and young children.

Parents then schedule a time for the 45-minute video call with the coach. If parents have a problem beyond what coaches can handle, the coaches will bring in specialists who have at least a doctorate and 15 years of experience.

Before Trustle, CEO and co-founder Tom Sayer headed impact and adoption programs at Google for Education. He also previously built an edtech company with Trustle chief technology officer Catalin Voss. In 2015, they sold Sension, a computer vision company aimed at education, to Japanese company GAIA System Solutions.

An explainer video from Trustle

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