I hear I forget
I see I remember
I do I understand.
This fairly explains how the aptitude of a student develops while learning in schools and colleges. The current educational curriculum emphasises more on the book based classroom learning. This curriculum has very less or no hands on experience based learning.
Worsening the situation is the current teaching methodology. The classroom lectures have now transformed into boring monologues leaving very less scope of exploration for the students. Ideally, every piece of information that they receive should intrigue them. While most students just simply listen to what they are being told to eventually forget.
If one reviews the literature and research on thinking and learning, it becomes apparent that if the focus is upon having the learner be actively engaged in the process of understanding in depth what is being learned (e.g. how to understand the concept of “niche” in ecological systems), experiential education is the way to go. If, instead the focus in on information transfer, (e.g. where the bathroom is located), probably the best way is to just tell the person directly.
Today we are brining the exclusive interview of the founders of QuarkMe. A Practical & experiential Learning Startup based out of Delhi & Working in Rajasthan on pilot project.
With QuarkeMe The founders are interested to revolutionize the learning & teaching methods in our education system. Lets see what the founders has to share with us on their startup and how their venture will help to improve education system in India.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
It’s ‘QuarkMe’. Quark is a subatomic particle and it signifies conceptual clarity at its roots. We started QuarkMe with the idea of minimizing the role of rote learning practices in our education system.
2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
Our clients are schools & other educational institutions, and hence students. Currently we are targeting VI-X standard students.
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
QuarkMe was started in Delhi, but is currently focusing on Jaipur, Rajasthan.
We will soon target neighbouring cities.
4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
It’s well known that the Indian education system, and the practices prevalent in the Indian society encourage the students to switch to rote learning at some point or the other. Learning a few things is fine, actually. But switching to rote learning over understanding the concepts and their application is not!
‘QuarkMe Experiential Learning Program’ is a custom program delivered at schools which comprises of practical and experiential learning. The program sees no limits to imagination. It helps students learn with realtime experiments, games, presentations, demos and more. It focuses on real-life application of concepts being taught at schools.
Learning, after all, doesn’t have to be boring!
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
I am a Mechanical Engineer, luckily by choice! During my highschool days when I was preparing for IIT-JEE, like most of the other students, I realised that the concepts that we were studying were really interesting and had relation to our daily lives. But all that mattered to the world around me, was getting high scores in engineering entrance exams. To me, understanding mattered more than scores.
I am NOT an IIT-ian. I am a proud aluminus of Shiv Nadar University. Had it been otherwise, I might not have risked everything for entrepreneurship.
During my undergrad days, I learnt to dream big & then do everything possible to make it a reality. Our university presented to us, tonnes of opportunities to learn and do something new. Starting from hardcore mechanical projects like manufacturing of cars, Hyperloop, etc. to entrepreneurship, my undergrad days made it possible. I co-founded QuarkMe during the final year of my mechanical engineering course.
6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Teaching aid providing companies. The biggest difference is that we are not selling any product (as of now). We are there to deliver our programs physically with our own assets.
7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
I worked with some of the finest and craziest people with expertise in various fields of work during my undergrad days. There I found a set people who made their presence felt in all teams that I worked with, and shared a unique kind of understanding with me. I thought of building a team for QuarkMe that could take up any kind of work and get it done, no matter how challenging it may be. When this thought struck me, I had two names in my mind: Yug Dave & Vijeth K.
Yug is a person with great courage and confidence. He is one of the most hardworking and committed people that I have met. He dropped out of college during his final year of civil engineering course, to pursue his entrepreneurial journey- full time!
Vijeth, on the other hand, is a sincere and enthusiastic learner. He has good technical knowledge and is a keen thinker.
8. How did you hire your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
We found the initial team members around us easily when we started. People were looking for experience through internships, and we were looking for them!
Work at QuarkMe may require various kinds of skill sets, but the desire to bring about a change & passion towards what one does are some winning factors.
9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Practically speaking, establishing a strong presence in 2-3 cities with our services in next 2 years is what will set us right on the path to success. Next few years will see a rapid expansion as horizontal deployment.
10. Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
We want QuarkMe to be recognized as a genuine brand of trust that motivates understanding and the freedom to realise one’s passion. Whatever service or product we might be in business with, we would be working towards the same goal.
11. What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
Getting our idea out in front of our target audience, preparation of structured programs according to demand, hiring and expansion to new areas. (Respectively)
12. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
No, not yet. We will soon raise funds, after getting sufficient traction.
13. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
We started young, with almost no experience about the field that we had jumped into. The supporting tech we were working with initially required skilled people to be hired, which was impossible without sufficient funds in our pockets. We managed somehow, but then no understanding of the market and competition made us learn some lessons the hard way. With sleepless nights and tonnes of GBs spent on understanding various aspects of entrepreneurship helped us find solutions each time. Senior entrepreneurs have also played an important role in guiding us.
14. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
Getting placed through an On-campus placement drive in a well recognized, massive company, for a core job is one of the dreams that an undergraduate student may have. Things get pretty challenging when you want to let that opportunity go after getting that job, especially when you want to choose a startup yet to generate revenue instead. I took up that job!
I took me a month to realize what was wrong throughout- I had not been able to work on my startup. I resigned within a month, even though I had relocated for that job. I had a lot of people to answer, but that day I was sure about what I wanted.
15. Are you married, single or in a relationship?
16. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ah, haven’t had a non-work time in a long long time! Haha, I play basketball and am fond of long drives!
17. What is your favorite food & holiday destination?
Umm not really a foodie. I love being close to nature, especially mountains. Among the hill-stations that I have been to, I would prefer visiting Barot again. I would definitely want to add places to my bucket list. Suggestions are welcome 🙂
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
I know it’s a cliche, but none other than Elon.
19. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Well, I think it’s about what matters the most in one’s life. I am not sure about those working for someone else, but entrepreneurs are people who have a vision that might challenge the traditional ways of life but pumps enough fuel in their hearts to be bold enough to stand alone against the stream!
20. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. Thinking of correcting all that went wrong is stupid. It would take away all the lessons learnt through the mistakes.
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Well it’s interesting to see more people quit their jobs 😀
22. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Indian society is one of the biggest challenges that a budding entrepreneur can face. The approach towards life is such that we all run away from risks.
I mean no offense to anyone, but many times the families may demotivate a person to an extent that she may give up even before trying! We need to understand that if a person is thinking about doing something that has not been done before, then there’s a possibility that others have not been able to see the opportunity that she sees. Others CAN INCLUDE ONE’S FAMILY & ELDERS!
It’s okay to fail, than not try.
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I am a Mechanical Engineer, graduated from Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida.
I come from a service background family with my father being an MBA, mother a PhD holder in Economics, and sister a doctor.
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
The speciality of linking each concept to our daily lives using physical demonstrations (through working models). The fact that it’s our team that’s delivering the program and interacting with students personally, against more easily scalable product based businesses, to ensure the quality sets us apart.
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Lack of guidance and support (both moral & financial).
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Success is very subjective. I have ‘successfully’ extracted what I wanted out of my engineering course and the projects during that time. QuarkMe, to me, got it’s first successful break when students didn’t want us to leave after our first program delivery. Student feedback is the measure of success after each program delivery.
QuarkMe, to me, would be a success when people start preferring understanding of concepts over scores. Till the time that happens, we are working towards being successful.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Anirudh Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder, Quarkme