Behind the garb of your beautiful looking app or your favorite website or the operating system that you use, lies millions of lines of codes written in various computer languages. In today’s technology inundated world wherein everything is at your fingertips, it is imperative to understand that coding is not a nerd revelry anymore, and it must be taught to everyone, irrespective of whatever career choice an individual makes. Aligning with the same vision, Mindchamp, a Mumbai-based startup, is invested in simplifying coding for kids. TechGraph had the privilege of speaking with the co-founder of the company, Manasi Kashikar, who shared valuable insights about Mindchamp. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:
TechGraph: Tell us about your company?
Manasi Kashikar: MindChamp is a one and half year old startup. We are into teaching coding to kids (third to the eighth standard) in an informative and fun way. With the proliferation of technology, coding these days is not just a hobby of the nerds. In fact, the growing rise in technology is going to create a lot of job opportunities in the years to come. Therefore, kids need to learn the basics of coding, at least, to secure a job in the tech arena. Our aim is to mentor and train such kids from an early age allowing them to be more acquainted with it by the time they reach employment age.
TG: In today’s day and age where internet is in the hands of almost everyone and there are umpteen platforms that offer coding tutorials for free, how do you plan to earn using your business model?
MK: Well, our target audience is children from the age group 8-14 years that have an attention span of perhaps a minute. While I agree that there is a lot of free tutorial in the internet space, the learning curve from such sources, especially in India, hasn’t been immense. In our country, we still require professional help when it comes to learning. This is where we come in and present the content in a more fun and interesting way that can appeal to the kids. We provide gamified teaching solutions wherein a kid can enjoy while he learns. Our offline classes are designed specifically to help kids understand the complexities of coding through simple hands-on and practical exercises. For instance, we have fun-filled gamified activities that are designed to get the kids acquainted with the concept of a loop in programming. ‘Learning in disguise’, I suppose, would be an apt tagline for this. Moreover, we don’t want the kids to adopt the ‘commit to vomit’ learning module that we have experienced. Our aim is to make them smart, creative, and innovative individuals that can help shape the world.
TG: What is your operation model especially when you deal with a large number of individuals from teachers to kids? How do you streamline the workflow?
MK: To start off, I would like to admit it is difficult but we have devised a model that can mitigate the challenges. Our working operation model encircles a network of micro-franchises. Currently, we have 15 such franchises working across Mumbai and one in Pune. Let me elucidate this with an example. Suppose there is a woman, who is an engineer and have worked with tech companies but had to leave her job post maternity and is finding it difficult to get into the tech world again. We get hold of such individuals and allow them to be productive while maintaining their household responsibilities. Our entire operational framework is dominated by such powerful women.
TG: Is there any success story that has stemmed out of your micro-franchises?
MK: We have many such stories and to list out one is pretty difficult. However, I would like to highlight one such instance wherein a lady who had left her job in a tech firm post maternity and had been on sabbatical for four-five years. Mindchamp provided her the job that she always had loved and currently, she has earned more than 100,000 INR by teaching kids how to code. This is a testimony to the fact that Mindchamp is not just assisting the young ones but also acting as a platform for women or individuals to explore their potential and contribute to the education sector.
TG: Are there any personal anecdotes that led to the genesis of Mindchamp?
MK: Well, Sneha (co-founder of Mindchamp) and I are software engineers and we noticed that even after graduating from an engineering college, most of our classmates did not know how to code. This coerced us to think what can be done to mitigate this challenge and Sneha came up with the idea of starting Mindchamp. The core vision was to tackle the issue at the grassroots level and that’s how the framework of our firm was built.
TG: What is the roadmap for Mindchamp going forward?
MK: At this point in time, we want to focus only on coding tutorials through micro-franchises and moving ahead, we envision expanding to the length and breadth of India. Our vision has always been to educate kids and help them understand the nitty-gritty of coding early on, which in turn will be an added advantage when they reach the employable age.