My Startup : AIEMS
The Lesson I learned from my Startup
My startup story, How it started during a Pandemic
As of mid-May, 2020 in the middle of a pandemic, a great idea struck my mind. With record high unemployment and the uncertainty and chaos dominating our everyday life; there is always a tiny glimpse of hope. A wise man once told me, if you are not presented with an opportunity, then create your own opportunity. Hence, the journey started with the constant struggle and sleepless night as I fell in love with my first startup AIEMS.
Venture Name: “AIEMS( Artificial Intelligent Education Monitoring System): Development of an Advanced Artificial Intelligent (AI) Monitoring and Feedback System for Online Education ”
As a college graduate during a pandemic the opportunities on landing a dream job is indeed very slim. Most of us struggle due to limited opportunities and businesses are least likely to hire because of the uncertainty. Experts are also predicting that a recession is inevitable in the near future and with global travel closed down and borders locked , we are likely to take a step back from future advancement. Apart from all the words of panic, it is also important to realize that most millionaires are created during a recession ( if it is any consolation).
Though small businesses are striving o manage, but larger corporations are are able to leverage on technology and preserved cash flow to continue their operations. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are becoming richer every second because they are adapting to technology to keep their businesses operational even in these difficult times. One of the sector that is least impacted by this chaos is the technology sector. The faith in technology by the community is still undeterred.
Though most states in the US and across the globe are lifting their lock down, but there is still an ongoing debate on the exact timeline when people will be confident to resume to their everyday activities. One of the hard hit community due to this pandemic is the education sector. Educators and students have been away from the traditional classroom teaching from mid-March and most campuses are planning on keeping their classes online for the upcoming Fall semester. The unprecedented shift to complete online education platform has made many challenges: both from a mentor and student perspective.
As an entrepreneur you are suppose to grab an opportunity as they are presented. It is predicted that the online education is likely to reach $325 billion in the next 5 years.This number is likely to appreciate, because with international travel being closed down, colleges have to leverage on the platform to attract global and domestic students.
This inspired me to start working on my startup concept “AIEMS” with the vision of a SMART classroom and a step towards the future of a SMARTer community. Like any entrepreneur with their startup , our biggest challenge is lack of funds and mentorship. My friends, family and roommates were always very supportive but I knew that it is my action that would make the difference. I would say that for any entrepreneur to succeed, the most important aspect in the right mindset.
As Marc Antony puts it: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”.
How it started?
When I started taking online classes I realized there are still major challenges that needs to be addressed. According to a study by Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, educators are struggling to ensure the integrity of a student’s online assessment. The key concern addressed by them include that the registered student is the one that is actively participating in assignments and taking online assessments.
Once I realized an underlying concern, the next step was to find a cost-effective solution. For any business to succeed, it is important for the following factors to be accounted:
(1) Business Viability: This involved the long term survival prospect of my business and its ability to generate revenue. With most universities across the globe shifting to online education, the viability of the project is indeed sustainable. Education is America’s second largest industry and the sector includes 77,000 institutions with total revenue of $67 billion.
The federal government offers approximately $80 billion to subsidize higher education. This offers stable opportunity for growth and offers less risk for the industry to collapse any time.
(2) Competitors: There are very few competitors in this sector of online proctoring and one of the notable name in this industry is ProctorU. Though it is a notable name but it still has some of the underlying tech related issues during student proctoring time.
(3) Competitive Advantage: The concept of AIEMS extends beyond just online proctoring. Though our primary focus is online proctoring but it plans on expanding beyond that horizon. It plans on expanding its services to cater to real time feedback on student performance and offer customized learning services. To the best of our knowledge there is no such platform that offers the trio and we plan on extending this services at a reasonable rate to both students and institutions.
One of the major challenge as an educator is identifying the learning style of students. Most students can be easily categorized into the following sections:
(1) Verbal: They prefer to learn through key words.
(2)Visual:They prefer to learn through pictures.
(3) Auditory: They prefer to learn through sound/rhythm.
(4) Physical/ Kin-aesthetic: They prefer to learn by physical touch.
(5) Logical/ Mathematical: They prefer to learn through reasoning.
As an educator it is not always possible to address all the different learning styles in the lesson plan. AIEMS can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to address these challenges and overcome the issues addressed by many students. This platform will allow students to reach their highest potential while simultaneously reducing the effort from the mentors.
(4) Finances: Though most businesses require an angel investor or venture capital ( such as Gust and AngelList), but tech startups have the advantage on requiring minimum startup capital. Though AIEMS is still at its infant stage of development we did not require huge investment as of yet. However as we grow in the future months we are more likely to raise capital and reach out to potential investors.
The company is still a work in progress but one of the major challenges is customer