Gray Matters Capital, an impact investor with a gender lens focused on enterprises working to improve access to affordable quality education and employability in India, has today announced the names of the eight participating organizations in the first cohort of its accelerator program – GMC Calibrator that was launched earlier in April this year.

The GMC Calibrator is India’s first accelerator program focused on improving learning outcomes via better ‘User Engagement Design’ of mobile apps of enterprises in the ‘Learning to Earning’ space.

In line with the impact investor’s gender focus, this six month blended zero-equity accelerator program will have its cohort work towards its mission of reaching one million users by 2020, of which 50% will be women and girls. This is to be achieved through focusing on behavioural understanding of users leading to product tweaks that improve learner engagement. The accelerator will also provide support around product strategy, monetization, optimization, distribution and user testing.

The eight enterprises selected for the first cohort of GMC Calibrator are listed below:

1. Laqsh Job Skills Academy

Laqsh Job Skills Academy Pvt Ltd is a social entrepreneurship focused on “Bridging the Skill Gap”. A partner of the National Skills Development Corporation, LAQSH offers skills training in the following segments:- IT-ITes, Retail, Banking, Hospitality, Electronics & Hardware, Beauty and wellness and Telecom. It delivers vocational education to students from 469 schools across 11 states. At Laqsh, Nation building by enhancing the employability of youth is a passion and priority.

2. MadGuy Labs

MadGuy Labs™ is a one-stop destination for all exam preparation related needs, right from finding suitable government exams to understanding /practicing topics to final selection. It is a personalized online exam preparation platform which represents the new era of the coaching institutes where students can study from the comfort of their homes in vernacular languages while having the same environment as a real classroom.

3. Meghshala

The success of any education system depends mainly on the quality of its teachers. Thus it becomes essential to train and develop teachers to ensure that students receive quality education. In December 2013, Jyoti Thyagarajan and Sridhar Ranganathan started Meghshala to address these concerns. The Meghshala team believes in the potential of teachers to be change makers. This automatically puts them in the driving seat towards the future. Now they must take their rightful place as the architects of the future generations.

Meghshala's content of over 2500 plus teachkits is used by over 16000 users across India. Using a combination of curriculum, technology and mentorship, Meghshala aims to meet the urgent need for quality education in India, keeping our teachers as a necessary focus.

4. Million Sparks Foundation

Million Sparks Foundation (MSF) is a not-for-profit organization set up in India with a vision to ensure that every child has access to great teachers and is building a mobile centered platform that focuses on teacher capacity building. The organization has been supported by, Central Square Foundation, and PayTM.

MSF has built a mobile centered platform called 'ChalkLit' which allows synergistic partnerships with NGOs, training organizations and Governments. MSF is already enabling online capacity building programs in the four states of Delhi, Goa, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and is in the process of rolling out in multiple other states. There are three interventions- grade specific curriculum linked content for teachers to refer before each class, multi-grade & multi-level topic based trainings for deeper conceptual & pedagogical understanding, and a social platform for interactions, latest updates, and sharing of best practices amongst educators. All of the content on the app is made bite sized and contextually relevant through localized examples, activities and assessments suitable for Indian classrooms.

The platform is a solution built from the ground up for the teachers by an excellent technical founding team, which also has actively taught in classrooms for over two decades, because teachers best understand their peers, their students & the gaps in student understanding.

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5. Multibhashi

Multibhashi is a language learning app with close to a million installs on the Android playstore which is focused on upskilling blue and grey collared professionals in job related communicative English. The product is an interactive audio-visual journey for the learner where the user gets to work on his/her reading, listening and speaking skills with least focus on writing. The app also allows the users to connect with real human trainers virtually and get personalised milestones and feedback.

6. WhizKidz Media

WhizKidz Media Private Ltd. is building technologies to support preschool children. These days a lot of toddlers begin using gadgets early and it creates challenges and opportunities for using technology the right way. WhizKidz believes the future will be transformed with technology in various aspects of education.

WhizKidz Media launched a preschool learning app OckyPocky which is revolutionising edutainment for preschoolers with interactive and personalised content in English and languages in Indian vernacular mother tongues delivered via flipped classrom methodology. With over 150,000+ kids on its journey, parents are assured of wholesome and enriching learning content in the safest environment. The products include speech training for preschoolers in English.

7. Sarkari Pariksha (Graposs Edutech)

Transforming the lives of the last mile aspirants at their level of ease, with digital access, digital delivery with hand holding the process of change & transformation, Graposs Edutech embraces its expertise in education, technology and professional management to train and skill millions across India for a successful future.

8. Stones2Milestones

Stones2Milestones is on a mission to 'Create a Nation of Readers', gifting children the will and skill to read in English.

Children going to English medium schools are expected to learn, read and speak in English, a language that is aspirational yet alien to them and their surroundings. In India itself, an estimated 9 out of 10 children read below grade levels.

Stones2Milestones solves the problem by providing diagnostic, affordable, research-based and intuitive reading & literacy solutions for schools, teachers & parents, which are systematic, culturally relevant and age-appropriate. Stones2Milestones currently impacts more than 100,000 children across 21 cities.

Announcing the 2018 program cohort, Ragini Chaudhary, India CEO, Gray Matters Capital said, “The Jury of the GMC Calibrator arrived at the final eight based on the parameters of vision articulation; potential to address problems at scale; potential to be disruptive; team quality; scope for impact in terms of gender and affordability; and the suitability of the mobile app for the GMC Calibrator. We are betting on the mobile apps of these eight organizations to help change the education and skilling paradigm as well as bridge gender gaps in education and workplace participation in India.”

The Accelerator Program commences with an in-person immersion week in Bengaluru from 20th June 2018 with the cohort members getting mentorship and engaging in on-on-one workshops in the areas of behavioural design, mobile product strategy, monetization and product optimization.

The GMC Calibrator is an accelerator program powered by ZingerLABS as anchor mentors, Final Mile Consulting as user behaviour specialists, besides Indian Angel Network, Amazon’s AWS Activate, EDUGILD and CL Educate’s Worldwide Academia Industry Network (WAIN).

Raj Lalwani (Monetization Lead - Ola Play, ANI Technologies), Siddharth Mathur (Founder & CEO, Fastah) and Vishalini Paliwal (Senior Director, Product Manager, MindTickle) are some of the other mentors besides experts from partner organizations such as Worldwide Academia Industry Network (WAIN) and Final Mile Consulting which the cohort will have access to via growth vouchers for the six month duration of the program.

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