Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 03 March 2024 9.51 PM IST

Education with 'Interval'; Start-up overcomes challenges to serve 25,000 students across 30 countries


MALAPPURAM: Interval, an educational startup encountered a temporary closure lasting six months due to Covid-19 after accumulating a debt of Rs 13 lakh. Presently, it conducts online tuition sessions for approximately 25,000 students across 30 countries. Initially established in a 150 square feet building in Areekkodu, it now operates from a six-story headquarters spanning 30,000 square feet. The startup boasts a team of 4,400 online tutors including 234 full-time teachers with 97 percent being women.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman commended Interval during the Kerala Kaumudi Development Conclave in Thiruvananthapuram. Founded in 2018 by ten graduate students in a small room in Kondotti, the startup offers online tuition ranging from Kindergarten to Plus Two levels.

Interval's inception stemmed from providing tuition to children who faced challenge with reading and writing. OK Sanafir, the founder and CEO and a BSc Psychology student at Kondotti Blossom College shared this idea with friends. Their initiative started with an advertisement promising to rectify reading and writing issues in 15 days for children. Initially, facing financial struggles and unable to afford rent due to low student enrollment, they persevered by posting notices and using their personal funds. Eventually, gaining traction through word-of-mouth, they charged Rs 50 for admission and employed part-time teachers.

Despite a year without income except for paying staff salaries, Interval expanded its offices to Mancheri, Ramanattukara and Areekkodu appointing six full-time teachers. However, Covid-19 forced office closures, plunging them into a debt of 13 lakhs. Some team members left while others persisted taking a Rs 5,000 loan and extensively advertising their services. This effort resulted in 150 students joining marking a pivotal moment as they launched their online platform.

The tutoring schedule now spans from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm, tailored to each student's academic and psychological needs.

Interval is overseen by OK Sanafir along with Rameez Ali, Shibili Amin, Aslah Tadathil and Najim Illyas. It's the sole Indian startup selected to participate in Global Experience Tampere in Finland. Two team members are currently in Finland developing a curriculum for its launch in July 2024.

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