Educating the World: Unni Koroth on building a thriving marketplace for their product

Written by Jyoti / on 12/19/2012 / 0 Comments

Categories: Innovation, PRODUCT Newsletter, Start-ups

Intro

Foradian's journey started in 2008 with eight childhood friends from Kasargod, Kerala. Fedena, the school management system which is currently deployed at over 40,000 schools across the world is the best-selling product for the company now.

Unni Koruth, Foradian's CEO reminisces, "We started the company because we wanted to do something on our own, with no specific industry or product in mind. Since most of us had experience in web technologies, we decided to start a web application development services company." Foradian was launched with seed money from 2 partners' families. While they started out as a services company, within three months they began focusing on developing a school management system for a local school. "For the first two years we did services and product development in parallel, but once the product gained traction, we decided to only focus on Fedena," says Koruth.

Innovating on opensource
Initially, while trying to sell Fedena to different schools, the team realized that deployment for each school required heavy customization, which made the model difficult to scale. They soon hit upon the idea of developing the school management platform as opensource software.

"Fedena helps in school administration tasks right from admission, to attendance to managing employees payroll. However, the innovation is not in the feature and functionality of the product," remarks Abdullah Hisham, Executive Director at Foradian.

In the crowded school management solutions market what makes Fedena stand out is the open source business model, where the basic solution is available at no cost while Foradian only charges for additional plug-ins. Other companies are also free to innovate and develop their plug-ins on Fedena. This has helped create a thriving ecosystem and marketplace for Fedena.

Spreading their wings
The founders describe their entrepreneurship journey as "fun". Their families, they say, have been very supportive and kept faith in them even when the going was tough, "Most startups face the valley of death after two years when the initial cash dries out. But all eight of us survived the value of death. And now we are turning in a profit. Today, all government schools in Kerala have installed the Fedena solution and the team is increasingly receiving inquiries from overseas," says Abdul Salaam, the President.

Foradian expects to touch US$1 million in revenues this year. The team has recently relocated the headquarters to Bangalore, however they plan to retain the Kasadgod office for "sentimental reasons". The founders speak passionately about their future plans and want to continue developing products for the education sector. "In the pipeline are solutions that will make textbooks free for every student and another software product that will address the lack of quality faculty, an issue that assails several schools. We will provide the A-Z of education products," claims Hisham.

 

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