In today’s day and age, our schools, colleges, and even our work have come to us rather than us going to a place to obtain that information. As digitalization has taken over, it’s also important for us to keep up with the times and make sure that the software platforms that we use for our education or work should be of a certain quality. This is where an all-in-one teaching platform like Classavo comes in.
Classavo is a platform that is inclusive of all the learning and teaching tools that a professor would need while being affordable. This also includes a fluid daily agenda system, interactive textbooks, polling, attendance, analytics, discussion boards, and more.
Team Sociobits connected with the CEO and Founder of Classavo, who has been on the Forbes 30 under 30 list, Mr. Rohan Shah to know more about his plans with the company, their expansion in the overseas market, and how COVID-19 redefined education and a lot of industries.
Team Sociobits: Could you tell us a little bit about Classavo?
Rohan Shah: Classavo is an educational technology company. We build SAAS platforms for colleges and universities where professors can actually adopt a platform to teach their classes with much better and more interactive content. The professors can edit the content, schedule it and make it truly digital which will help the students engage on a much more psychological level. This will also help the universities and professors to have real-time data on how students are actually doing.
Team Sociobits: What inspired you to create Classavo?
Rohan Shah: I was approached by a professor to co-author their math textbook. I realized that the textbook was very boring and no one was going to buy it or need it, including myself. I wondered why you couldn’t run the same programs inside an e-book, and my co-founder and I actually built something that you can make properly interactive. And the University thought that it had some potential and also had commercial value to it. They incubated us in the New York state and since then we have just been doing research and technology. We are also planning to make it reach more and more people.
Team Sociobits: When was Classavo founded?
Rohan Shah: We started our research in 2016 and that’s when we launched our initial program. After a couple of years, we realized what professors actually wanted. We understood that we could achieve this through SAAS, which was the most pragmatic way to do it, and that’s when in about 2018, we launched our first platform on a mass level. From there, we started entering into partnerships with publishers, content partners, and providers.
Team Sociobits: And how is this helping the universities and professors?
Rohan Shah: First of all it is helping students save costs. In North America, textbooks are very expensive, they are not that expensive in India. The cost is about $200 or more for a single textbook. So, instead of students paying $200, they can now just pay $20 for the same course, per semester. And with India, we are going to bring that with content as well as with interactivity. This also really helps the universities track how students are actually doing in the class so that they can help students before they drop out or fail.
Team Sociobits: Since 2018, how has your journey been so far?
Rohan Shah: It has been incredible, but it’s definitely been a roller coaster ride. We have had a lot of ups and a lot of downs. There has never been a dull moment. I am incredibly grateful for my team and that I can be on this journey.
Team Sociobits: Speaking about ups and downs, can you elaborate on the challenges you have faced along the way?
Rohan Shah: The biggest challenge of this journey was raising funds for our project. It was very hard for us because the investors thought that we won’t be able to bring the publishers on board and compete with them. It actually turned out to be false as through due diligence, we now have 1200 textbook lessons as well as an open-source platform where any publisher or author can self-publish their own content and we register it for them. So we have sort of become like Netflix or iTunes of the education industry.
Team Sociobits: Did the pandemic have adverse effects on your company too? What was the phase like?
Rohan Shah: I think most industries were affected quite a lot by the pandemic. Fortunately or unfortunately, for us, it was on the brighter side. There was a big shift in the education industry post-COVID. So pre-COVID we would have to put more effort into explaining our proposition and why that should be adopted. After COVID or during COVID, they came to us. So, I think there has been a shift in the inflection point that entirely shifts the learning curve for consumers and we are way beyond that curve now. So we are already apt to use online systems to teach the students.
Team Sociobits: COVID is on the verge of ending and the Edtech industry saw a huge boom during this period, your thoughts?
Rohan Shah: Absolutely right, I think it’s only continuing to grow because we have arrived at an inflection point and we are projected to almost double by 2026.
Team Sociobits: Have you during all this time not faced any scenario where maybe people want to go back to the older or simpler ways?
Rohan Shah: Yes, we have. I think that’s where we particularly focus on our platform, it’s always used in classes primarily. During COVID, we were making a lot of hybrid tools for universities to adapt to the circumstances. So, I think moving forward there is always going to be a hybrid model. We will have students wanting to go to a physical classroom, but still, they will have the ability and freedom to have it online when they want. Through Classavo, you have the ability to choose between online and offline.
“We now have 1200 textbook lessons as well as an open-source platform where any publisher or author can self-publish their own content and we register it for them. So we have sort of become like Netflix or iTunes of the education industry.”-Rohan Shah, CEO of Classavo
Team Sociobits: Do you have any competitors in the market?
Rohan Shah: Education is one of those fields where there are not a lot of people who want to get in. Especially in North America because sales are extremely hard and it is a very long process. Fortunately, we are lucky that we don’t have a lot of competitors, but India definitely is a booming market now. At the same time, we do have some players in the form of publishers or homework systems and LMS systems. And now we are going to integrate all of them so they are sure to be our partners.
Team Sociobits: How is your expansion going in India?
Rohan Shah: We started with our first university which is Woxsen University. We have a much more strategic partnership with Woxsen University in Hyderabad, India. Now we are planning to move forward from here on.
Team Sociobits: How are you planning to enter the Indian market?
Rohan Shah: It is going to be the most infrastructural well school to be adapted first, naturally and then we will see from there on. I think in the next year or two, India will be a very prime market for higher education. There is a lot of innovation in education in India and that actually comes to the rest of the world from India. But it’s usually in the K-12 format. Higher education in other colleges and universities has a large gap for creativity, which we intend to solve.
Team Sociobits: Apart from India, any other countries that are on your radar?
Rohan Shah: India is our main focus right now. Africa is another focus we have. I was in Africa two weeks ago. I think there is definitely a big opportunity there but I still think that it is a few years down the line.
Team Sociobits: Do you have any immediate goals for Classavo?
Rohan Shah: Tons of goals! So we are definitely expanding our team and our region’s market and we are always looking for the best and the brightest people to join our company. That is the first and foremost goal.
“We started with our first university which is Woxsen University. We have a much more strategic partnership with Woxsen University in Hyderabad, India. Now we are planning to move forward from here on.”-Rohan Shah
Team Sociobits: Do you think the Edtech industry will boom in the next 10 years?
Rohan Shah: Absolutely, I think it’s going to start to consolidate in the next few years. Just like any other industry, the big players are going to consolidate most of the market and it will get saturated. I think that the timing has also been very crucial for us as we have entered the market with a strategy.
Classavo is here and it’s here to stay. It promises to make education convenient for both students and professors and has taken adequate steps in that direction to ensure the same.