Only a teacher knows how tedious it is to read children’s test papers and grade them. So, what if there were an AI bot to help them?
Well, Solvio is just that. It allows students to take a photo of their paper, upload it and get instant feedback using the start-up’s API. But first, let’s see how it all began.
Founders and cousins Rohit Pentapati and Raviteja Manepalli, and a family member, a Bengaluru-based Math teacher, talked about the nightmare of grading 120 papers while travelling on a train. This made them think about automating the process. The two quit their jobs in June 2019 and got to work.
Officially launched in December 2020, the founders initially thought of selling it to schools. Solvio was incubated at IIM Bangalore and offered to international schools initially. When the pandemic struck and schools shut down, the founders adapted by pivoting their business model offering the tech as an api to other edtech companies. “We could let them integrate our technology with their products and push it into the market through already established channels,” says Pentapati. They got their big break when a New York-based company showed interest in their product.
The duo began improving the product based on feedback and roped in many data contractors to structure raw data to train the AI bot and hired people with a background in machine learning and some interns from IIT Kanpur to fine-tune the product.
With online education becoming mainstream due to COVID-19, there are many opportunities, Pentapati says. Most online assessments rely on multiple-choice questions but with Solvio, the students can handwrite detailed answers and let the AI bot grade them. That also enables a blended learning experience. Currently, the start-up focuses on math, sciences and social sciences for grades 1 to 12.
Today, the product is being used by 12 edtech companies. Once the schools reopen, the founders plan to offer them B2C products. Eventually, they plan to win over schools.