You can now watch Powerpuff girls while they calculate complex mathematics equations for you. Your science class is taught by Dexter and Popeye is conducting PE lessons. Education as you know it has changed. Learning new things is now fun. Sounds unbelievable, right? Well, this isn’t an alternate universe. You just stepped into Prerna Jhunjhunwala’s creative world.
Prerna has put in a lot of hard work to make this world a reality. If you have never seen a rising start-up founder in action, her workplace would be a good start. The hustle never stops. The founder of Creative Galileo and its much-acclaimed Little Singham app does not believe in unwinding or switching off. “Being an entrepreneur requires commitment, discipline, time, and energy,” she explains.
Prerna conceived the idea of Creative Galileo in the middle of a raging pandemic in 2020. Life had come to a standstill and everyone was confined to home. A mother and educational entrepreneur, Prerna could see that the kids were bearing the brunt. Their education and development was suffering. As the founder of Little Paddington, Singapore’s leading pre-school chain, she knew the next step was to conquer the e-learning space. “That happened sooner than I thought,” she recollects. That is because Prerna did not waste any time. She saw a gap, seized the opportunity, and the app was live by July 2020.
A first-of-its-kind character-based e-learning app, Creative Galileo is Prerna’s attempt to modernise education by harnessing the power of technology. The concept is quite compelling. The app combines education with entertainment by integrating kids’ favourite characters into learning modules. Personalisation and gamification have turbocharged the app’s growth. It has a line-up of India’s most popular children’s characters like Little Singham, Little Krishna, and Golmaal Jr. to educate via story-telling. These regional superheroes are the biggest differentiators for Creative Galileo. The app targets kids from the age of 3 to 10 who relate to these characters. This way, the kids can learn foundational skills and also enjoy the process. Prerna believes that children learn best when they play and have fun, and her app has been proving exactly that.
Since its inception, the e-learning app has seen over 7 million downloads and 7,00,000 monthly active users. These are big numbers for a platform that started less than two years ago. The best part? Little Singham has been received well in both urban and rural areas. This is a personal achievement for Prerna, as she has worked hard to bridge the gap.
When Prerna was a young girl, she witnessed a vast divide in education access. She noticed that it was still a luxury in so many communities and remote areas across the country. Prerna is now working on making education accessible for everyone with Creative Galileo. The educational needs of unprivileged communities have been kept at the heart of her start-up’s development. “We’ve worked extremely hard to keep our app’s size below 10MB, significantly lower than other e-learning apps in the market which typically vary between 80-100MB,” she adds. The app is also free to use, which aligns with Prerna’s vision to ensure that education is always available, even for users who struggle with data use limits.
With her app, Prerna has challenged the mindset that education and fun do not go hand in hand. She has brought a paradigm shift. As someone who is revolutionising India’s EdTech industry, Prerna’s story had to be a part of our #POPxoWomenWhoWin series. In a recent chat, she talked to us about Creative Galileo, the new face of India’s education system, and her dream of democratising education. Excerpts below:
How do you begin your day?
My mornings are with my child and taking care of her morning routine. After dropping her to school, I go to my office.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
My typical day revolves around planning and meetings. Being a start-up founder, I also review opportunities, manage operations, and research new growth ideas. Amidst all this, I ensure I keep a couple of hours for myself every day, which I spend strategising the company’s future roadmap.
How did you get interested in EdTech?
While travelling across India at a young age, I witnessed a vast divide in education access. It felt as if education was only accessible by a few, while it was a luxury for others. This deprivation led me to make up my mind to make education accessible to children in the remotest parts of India.
Tell us a little about Creative Galileo
Children learn best when they play and have fun. With this thought in mind, I came up with the idea of integrating education and entertainment. We introduced ‘edutainment’ by leveraging kids’ favourite characters, the ones they can relate to. During our initial research, we figured that the majority of the EdTech players were focusing on test preparation and higher school education, leaving behind foundational learning. This is where we saw an opportunity to create a robust e-learning platform for kids. Our platform focuses on ensuring children have a strong foundation in the six learning domains of numeracy, language, social and emotional development, motor skills, creative expression, and the discovery of the world.
From my initial years, I wanted to work towards democratising education, making it accessible to children. After setting up successful preschools in Singapore, I started Creative Galileo amidst the pandemic as part of my quest and vision to reach out to millions of young minds and enhance their foundational learning.
Little Singham by Creative Galileo has turned out to be a huge hit? Tell us about what went into its making.
Children are easily attracted to characters. Little Singham, one of our 17 characters on the platform, is the super cop of this generation, who stands for his honesty, bravery, and great ethics. The idea was to effectively use kids’ favourite characters, where the child can relate to them and get personalised and immersive learning on his journey with these characters.
We have categorised modules into themes that are consistent with learning videos, games, and e-books, all of which have a common unifying notion to aid children in learning and remembering concepts. We are happy with the response we have received for the app. To date, we have had approx 7 Million downloads.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career?
Launching my first preschool in Singapore, Little Paddington, and then scaling it up to become one of the leading and best preschools. I knew I wanted to do something in the education segment; I saw my vision taking shape with my preschool.
What would you term as your biggest professional accomplishment so far?
From building one of Singapore’s leading preschools to establishing Creative Galileo, every single part of my professional journey has been rewarding,
What are the skills or qualities that have helped you succeed?
Hard work, perseverance, and passion for creating something useful.
A mantra that you swear by in your professional and/or personal life?
A vision is a dream with a plan. If you don’t dream it, you can’t live it!
What advice would you give to youngsters considering a career in EdTech?
It definitely is one of the fastest-growing sectors. My advice to youngsters would be to make sure their product fits the market. It is a competitive industry; it is absolutely critical to understand the market and trends. Be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy and leverage their strengths.
How do you unwind?
I don’t believe in unwinding or switching off. The time I spend with my family and daughter during post office hours is the best way to unwind before returning to my laptop again.
Prerna Jhunjhunwala lives in Singapore. Her journey has been inspiring and wholesome. Team POPxo wishes her all the luck in her future endeavours.