January 14, 2016
Ashutosh Parab is the Founder of Edbrix, an interactive collaborative learning platform for students and teachers around the world.
1. First of all, can you tell us a little about your role and what you do at Edbrix?
Founder of Edbrix, a Bachelor of Engineer in Electronics and Communication, certified in Java and Oracle. Ashutosh has worked with diverse organizations such as Matlab, SPS, and Oracle.
I headed the Africa operation for Oracle and educational software in my early days. I have extensive international experience, having worked in India, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and the US.
With 24 years of experience in educational software, I understand the E-Learning environment and helped develop the industry disruptive Edbrix Learning Management System that is simple and complete.
Being an involved parent over the last few years, I saw my son struggle with multiple accounts for various programs being used by teachers. That gave me the idea that students and teachers in order to take advantage of technology in education need a system that was simplified and unified in one platform.
We started in 2013 developing a server based technology but ran into several issues and ended up with several course corrections to where we are today. A simple yet complete learning platform built on the common software tools being used on a day to day basis.
Having very limited resources we wear multiple hats in Edbrix. In addition to managing product development, I am also functioning as CEO trying to influence investors and showcase our product. As expected in the current atmosphere, we are getting a lot of interest from the investors.
We are in the process of meeting with investors and trying to find the right partners who would not only help us with funds but share our vision.
2. Can you tell us a little about your go to market strategy, current growth/marketing channels are working for you right now?
Within the strategic business units for Schools K-12, Colleges and Universities, and Business Enterprises, Edbrix will initially focus on the Secondary School segment with a targeted client base of Private and Charter Schools.
We feel that these school systems will embrace Edbrix more readily and can make decisions for implementation on a timelier basis.
Also, due to the higher average level of proficiency of the student body over public schools, teachers and students will easily integrate Edbrix as a key component into their course curriculums.
Indeed, public school systems represent a far greater market segment, however, the acceptance and implementation timeline for public schools will longer.
In our third year of operation, we will launch Edbrix for Colleges and Universities. Although the platform base will be the same for K-12 schools, we envision the platform to able to integrate more course content through archived instructional lectures, study groups, and third party providers.
Furthermore, the collegiate system will expand the ability for the faculty to reach more students with varied conditions and time frames. With reference for the Business Enterprise segment, this market will be primarily based on content hosting and management.
We have identified the need for virtual employee training for companies for an initial and ongoing basis. We have recognized the need for these systems to maintain a very high-security protocol to ensure that company proprietary information is only provided and disseminated to authorized personnel.
Further, there is a need for companies to provide virtual product support and instructional tutorials as part of the overall product support obligations to their customer base. Edbrix’s initial marketing strategy will be largely based on social media based and networking in the educational groups.
The biggest initial challenge will be to broadly get our name known in the local, regional, and national educational markets. Edbrix will become involved in several scholastic organizations throughout Texas and Southwest community which will give direct access to educators and administrators in the secondary schools.
Edbrix will be in attendance at regional and national school conferences, symposiums, and conventions. We have retained the services of a call center to initiate the preliminary contact to schools which will be followed up by direct contact with our sales representative seeking an opportunity to demonstrate our product.
For those potential school clients that a live demo is not feasible due to travel budget or personnel unavailability, we will conduct an online demonstration. With forthcoming investor funding, we will use the substantial portion of these funds to implement a comprehensive marketing and sales campaign.
3. What is the biggest mistake you have made with Edbrix so far that other founders can learn from?
Initially, Edbrix is designed for US market only, but later we found that there are big international requirements. We need to understand whatever you develop supports a big market and big audience.
Build open APIS to connect different industry expert modules rather than building from scratch.
4. Let’s talk you… what apps, blogs, and tools can’t you live without?
Wikipedia, Quora, Angel list, how it works, Facebook and LinkedIn
5. What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
We have developed many Edbrix modules/connectors those are helpful to make many educational processes easy.
For example, we build the entire application on google cloud, identified the different APIS which can be connected to the system to make it easy communication and collaboration.
One of the important thing that we have done instead of building entire New LMS system (where LMS market is already crowded) we have changed or turned the google and Microsoft productive tools into interactive classroom LMS.
That is time-saving life hack for bringing product quickly in the market.
6. What resource have you watched/read/listened to that’s had the biggest impact on your business/life recently, and why?
To understand more on startup, I have attended many startup presentations as well as became a member of startup groups locally as well as internationally.
Shark Tank is my favorite show on CNBC, helped me to understand investor’s responses and questions on various ventures.
Sites like angel list, Funding, Young startup Group helps me to connect to many people. Sites like Wikipedia, E-learning, helps me to understand educational trends.