IMAX Program, a personalized education start-up that serves 800+ schools and 300,000 students across India, has raised USD 13.5 million from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, LGT Impact Ventures, and existing investor Aspada. This is the largest investment in ed-tech space focused on providing curriculum services to K-12 schools in India.
The current infusion of funds in 2018 will be used to further innovate the product, enhance in-school service experience and expand the customer base through multiple distribution channels. IMAX will also explore working with K12 publishers internationally, to deliver high quality in-school remedial programs to a global student base.
The IMAX Program includes textbooks, workbooks, school exams, feedback reports and individualised remedial worksheets along with teacher manuals and teacher training modules. The uniqueness of the program is in using the regular school exam data to provide individualised remedial worksheets. To ensure smooth integration with schools, the technology platform works at the backend to deliver exams, reports and remedial worksheets in print. The exam-remediation loop ensures that the key learning gaps are identified and bridged, thereby maximising learning. Till date, IMAX Program has delivered more than 1.7 million individualised remedial worksheets.
Varun Kumar, co-founder, IMAX Program said, “We are excited to have MSDF and LGT Impact Ventures on board with Aspada, our existing investor. Their experience will be critical to our growth story. We have a high-energy team of 300 members led by the founders and our CBO Janardan Singh, and our CTO Yogi Kulkarni, with a combined total experience of over 60 years. With this round, we will now further deliver a better experience for our customers and partners, and accelerate the expansion of our commercial operations in India. We will also be selectively looking at prospective markets abroad. We aim to impact 2 million students by 2020.”
Naveen Mandava, Co-founder, IMAX Program, added, “Our vision at IMAX Program is to help ‘create the best version of each learner’. We can achieve this by leveraging technology where a child can receive individualised content, appropriate for their level, gaps and interest. Using the millions of incoming data points from school exams, we can continuously upgrade our teacher lesson plans, textbook content and remedial worksheets. We want to invest in developing the product further to predict and remediate learning gaps as frequently as possible. As of today, no publisher or edtech player in India is able to influence classroom learning using student data. That needs to change.”
IMAX conducted more than 500,000 assessments across 11 states in India, developing a deep understanding of classroom transactions and student learning. This helped them conceptualise and build an innovative curriculum program leveraging internal school exams in the process. In 2015, Aspada invested USD 1.8M to help IMAX implement affordable technology to the classrooms to enhance school’s ability to measure and impact learning outcomes effectively.
Commenting on the investment in the IMAX Program, Prachi Windlass, director, India Programs, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, said, “Education in India is waiting for its data revolution. We need models that leverage technology for applying data and analytics to improve learning outcomes for every student. However, there are genuine challenges in implementing such models due to variety in curriculum, pedagogy and assessments across multiple states in the country. IMAX Program’s full-stack learning system has demonstrated that it can achieve scale and be adopted successfully in schools with monthly school fees as low as USD 10 per student. We are excited to support the talented team at IMAX Program in their journey to impact student learning outcomes.”
Govind Shivkumar, investment manager at LGT Impact Ventures, said, “We believe that IMAX Program has developed the right set of business and technology capabilities to increase learning quality in schools. With the experience of the promoters, and an execution-focused team, they will be able to sustainably expand their customer base in India and abroad. Their product will be especially valuable for many schools in Asia and Africa, where access to technology is a constraint.”
Anoop Polavaram, operating oartner, Aspada, said, "Over the last 3 years, IMAX Program has carved out a new category in the K-12 edtech space by reinventing school exams to capture data on individual student’ capabilities so the learning loop can be completed through personalized programs. With a solid leadership team in place, Varun and Naveen will now embark on the next phase to scale the model. The company's access to student data through school assessments places it in a unique position to become a canonical leader in the K-12 space. We are glad to continue investing in the team and their vision."