Housing.com co-founder Advitiya Sharma’s new venture Genius Learning Lab will start off with 500 technology-led ‘micro schools’ across five cities. Genius Micro Schools will open their doors in July after the selection of teacher-entrepreneurs is over.
A month after leaving Housing.com, Sharma is in the process of setting up a network of micro schools run by individual teachers who will teach kindergarten to eighth standard students mathematics, science and English at their homes. Sharma said Genius will begin with five cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
Sharma and four others – two Silicon Valley-based technologists and two educators whose names he declined to disclose – are behind this venture. The website of the venture, inviting teachers to become partners was launched on Thursday night.
“We have got around 500 calls from those who would like to be our partners. Around 300 of them are teachers themselves and we even got calls from a 65-year-old retired CEO who is passionate about teaching,” claimed Sharma.
He said the firm would select teachers in the next one to two months and offer them training. A teacher will run three to four batches of 5-8 students and can earn up to Rs 80,000 working for 20 hours a week, according to Sharma. Classes would be conducted at the teacher’s home/ tuition centre, so Genius Labs would not have to invest in any real estate.
Students will be taught through projects and group activities that will be beyond the school syllabus, with the use of a curriculum and technology tools developed by Genius Learning Lab.
Genius Micro Schools is inspired by Silicon Valley-based Altschool that uses independent teachers, technology tools and research to offer a personalised learning experience for school children. Altschool had raised $100 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and others.
Sharma said Genius is currently bootstrapped. Several ed-tech firms have raised funding recently. Last month, online tutorial firm Byju’s raised $75 million (about Rs 500 crore) from Sequoia India and Belgian investment firm Sofina, making it the biggest ever investment in the ed-tech space.
Prior to that, financial services and analytics education startup Imarticus Learning raised $1 million (around Rs 6.7 crore) from a group of investors including VC fund Blinc Advisors.
A BTech and MTech from IIT Bombay, Sharma was a board member of SoftBank-backed Housing.com and quit the company in March.
Among Housing’s dozen founders, nine, including CEO Rahul Yadav who was fired by the company’s board led by its investors, left the firm at various stages to start off on their own. A week back, three of them – Abhishek Anand, Ravish Naresh and Sanat Ghosh left Housing to start a new venture. Rahul Yadav last year launched his e-governance startup Intelligent Interfaces which received undisclosed amount of funding from Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal and cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan.
Housing.com, incorporated as Locon Solutions Pvt. Ltd, is now led by CEO Jason Kothari who joined the company as chief business officer in August last year.