The GMC Calibrator, US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital’s unique behavioural science driven product improvement program, which has successfully placed 17 digital startups on a growth trajectory over the last two cohorts, has now transformed itself into a virtual paid-for platform that will support over 30 digital start ups through the year.
The initiative, which started with an aim to make the mobile phone a device to promote ‘self-learning to earning’ by improving user engagement, monetisation and optimisation of mobile learning platforms, has delivered results of an average of 20 to 30 % improvement in user engagement post program.
Through the program, digital startups are empowered for scale through mentorship around behavioral science, data analytics, product and technology optimisation, as well as business growth strategies.
Speaking about the shift in program delivery, Omkar Kulkarni,Program Head, GMC Calibrator, said, “The driving factor that is making us take the virtual route is to help support more startups in a year than we could through the existing hybrid model. We are confident that our learnings from the last two cohorts can be effectively imparted, virtually.” Underscoring the rationale behind making the participating startups pay for the mentorship, he said, “When we started the program last year, it was a Zero Equity Accelerator Program with no guarantee of funding. The participants of the previous cohorts, as well as those in their peer group, are seeing value in the tangible results that the program has been delivering, be it in terms of product enhancements, user retention or even brand perception.”
Earlier this year, the second cohort of the program had nine startups from four countries – India, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Vietnam – wherein its focus was diversified from pure-play edtech to include startups in skilling, livelihoods and peer-to-peer learning space.
Impact snapshot from the programme
While the first cohort saw impressive outcomes with three startups going on to raise funding and two of them making it to Google Launchpad and Reliance’s Jio GenNext Accelerator, startups from the second cohort are beginning to see transformational outcomes.
InnerHour, the mental wellness app, is one step closer to realising its vision of impacting the lives of the one billion people on the planet who struggle with mental health. They have incorporated new behavioural science principles to enhance users’ commitment towards their plan, optimised performance of their chatbot, refined their data analytics framework, added new features in a meaningful manner, and included more engaging and interactive activities for the user. The implemented changes saw their retention and engagement metrics improved significantly. They have also seen significant growth in their active user base. Today, they stand at 4.53 rating on Play Store - higher than what it was before they entered the programme.
Building on their current strengths, Lal10, a Noida-based B2B marketplace for handlooms and handicrafts, is looking to become an aggregation portal for working capital loans and government schemes for artisans and expanding to include health insurance schemes for artisans as well. They also see themselves as a community interaction interface for peer-to-peer problem-solving between artisans.
Building on its 750,000+ registered verified user base, Matrubharti made its OTT Video streaming foray with the launch of Matrubharti Vishesh after participating in the program. Having accrued over 1.5 million video views already, it looks to position itself as the ‘Netflix of India.’
With Kenya-based Mums Village, the implementation solutions to change user behaviour on the website saw a 2.4x increase in pageviews and a 3.4x increase in time spent on the content. It also forayed into e-commerce with the launch of the MumsVillage Shop earlier this year.
Post the cohort, Quest Alliance plans to take their tech-based learning products to more young people and newer market segments with an upgraded version of the Quest App in 2020. KidTech startup Skipy is now gearing up for a global launch with multilingual content. They are also looking for partnerships for content and B2C distribution and sales.
Mosabi is looking to tap into the 2.2 trillion dollar opportunity in unmet demand for MSME finance in developing countries, globally. Aimed at unlocking financial opportunities through innovative learning, Mosabi empowers underserved populations in emerging markets with the "MBA for the rising billions" – phone-based, business-focused e-learning to help citizens increase their income and link to digital financial services.
As for Jaipur based startup Dcoder, which runs a cloud-powered IDE (online compiler) for programmers to code on-the-go on mobile and tablets, the program helped it to achieve 63 percent faster coding on Mobile by incorporating a custom keyboard using gesture control. The implementation of an Auto Complete Machine Learning mechanism helped it to reduce coding errors by 6x.
Finally, EdMicrohas not only attracted attention from several VCs, but its platform Onluyen.vn, has also gained strong traction over the last few months, with visits increasing by nearly 100 percent month-over-month.
Soliciting ‘Skin-In-The-Game’ Partnerships for Growth
For its virtual program to be self-sustainable, GMC Calibrator will be collaborating with partners like EdIndia Foundation (EF), a section 8 not-for-profit company incubated by Sterlite Power. EdIndia is focussed on leveraging technology and data analytics to create innovative solutions to impact education at scale.
“The GMC Calibrator program will supplement our efforts to refine the product offerings of startups by involving all the key stakeholders. The co-creative approach shall leverage internal wisdom and bringing in the right expertise, while ensuring buy-in and ownership at every step,” said Sonakshi Agarwal, Founder, EdIndia Foundation and Trustee, Sterlite Tech Foundation. “Our move to co-fund this program should be seen as a welcome trend where “skin in the game” enhances accountability of collaborating parties, positively influencing timelines and quality of collaborations”, she added.
Breaking away from its cohort format, applications for the GMC Calibrator and mentorship for the selected digital startups will now be open through the year.
Know more about the GMC Calibrator here.
Know more about EdIndia Foundation and its projects here.