It wasn’t easy in the beginning. Alefiya Bhatia, Founder and President, Crescerance, remembers the early days of her venture, working alone, figuring out how to keep trudging along, without a team or a support system. “But the best way to get through this is to ensure you consistently set goals for yourself and meet them, no matter what,” she says.
Today, Crescerance, a US-based education technology company, works with hundreds of schools and districts across the world for its product lines: Embr and MAD-learn, both supported on iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows phone. Its R&D centre arm is based in Noida.
Catering to the K-12 market (from kindergarten to class 12), Embr is a mobile communications solutions for school, district, college and universities, education service agency, or other education associations to better reach parents, staff, students, and other important stakeholders. With the convenience of passing information in real time, key stakeholders can have a meaningful two-way conversation. MAD-learn is a web-based platform, which enables school-going children to learn mobile development by making apps through its platform. “We are currently in four countries, with plans to expand to 10 in the next year or so,” says Namit Bhatia, CEO, Crescerance.
The idea for Crescerance germinated in Alefiya’s mind when she was working with schools. “It was frustrating how we were not able to communicate well with our parents and students. It was those experiences combined with the idea of building a company that plugged the cap with mobile apps for every single school to use for better and more streamlined communications,” she says.
It’s quite a journey this husband-wife team has made since 2011, when they were still trying to understand what their true market and product positioning was. “You never know this until you talk to 100 people. This is the rule of thumb,” says Alefiya. Building a team came with its own challenges, too, since it’s not easy finding the first “few crazies” as Alefiya puts it, who want to join your team and your vision.
Capital was a smaller risk, however, since they grew the company only as much as they could organically. And while Alefiya quit her job with a school and started the company in 2011, her husband only joined the company full-time once it had really taken off in 2013.
This August, the Atlanta-based company raised an undisclosed amount of Series A private funding as well. “Our investment is going to be primarily focussed at building our business up for scale to ensure repeatable sales, customer success, product development, and so on,” says Namit, adding how the focus will also be on putting the right processes and engines in place so as to reach thousands of schools.
The company is also optimistic about introducing MAD-Learn in India. “We’re looking for education sales candidates to bring this solution to schools nationwide. If you’re interested, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume!” says Alefiya.
Being associated with an education company means a great learning curve for those associated with it as well. As Ankur Goel, VP, Product Strategy, MAD-learn, puts it, “It’s a way of connecting with future generations and enabling them with technology to further their all-round development.”