Rethinking math education with ‘the world’s fastest human calculator’​

Rethinking math education with 'the world's fastest human calculator'​

Ten minutes into the first meeting with Bhanu, we knew we were speaking with someone very very special. Bhanu was not just a math prodigy**, he was an educator at heart with a deep commitment to improving how kids learn math. He’d spent years perfecting math pedagogy to make learning more personalized, outcome-oriented, and fun – even conducted workshops at schools and guiding the NCERT board in their mutual bid to use math as a way to advance the overall cognitive development of students. And now he wanted to leverage technology to share his gift with kids across the globe. There was no way we were passing up the chance to be a part of this mission!

Backing up, education has always been an area of deep interest for Lightspeed. Starting with TutorVista in the very early days to Byjus, Teachmint, Geniebook, Frontrow, and BlueLearn more recently, we have partnered with folks approaching the space from a variety of angles and have a deep perspective on what it takes to build large outcomes in this space. Additionally, Rohil from our investment team had spent over a year meeting potentially every edtech startup in India, and talking to field experts to refine our view on the Indian education market.

When we finally met Bhanu, three things were clear in our mind: (i) math education is the largest value pool when it comes to education, both from a cognitive impact as well as a spend perspective (ii) a strong educator-driven brand is the most important driver for non-linear growth in this space (iii) there’s appetite for Indian math teachers not just in India, but in several developed countries across the world due to the strong ‘STEM brand’ associated with India; this helps us quickly turn on distribution in different markets and scale with very health economics. Bhanzu quite literally checked all the boxes for us.

Since our investment last year, we’ve worked together to build a strong leadership team and develop the core product. It’s been such an inspiring journey to watch Bhanu grow from strength to strength, from a mission-driven educator to an astute entrepreneur. I’ve seen him maintain a really high bar when it comes to all company decisions – talent or product, think of creative ways to recruit and engage high-quality teachers for his platform, and take massively bold bets because he knows he can make it happen. Now that we are finally out of stealth, it gives me immense pride and joy to have been a part of this journey so far and we brace ourselves for what is to come. Thank you, Bhanu, for choosing to work with us!

** Who is Neelakantha Bhanu? A 22 year old math wiz who has officially been designated the world’s fastest human calculator. Bhanu holds 50+ Limca records, 4 world records, and is also the only Indian to have won Gold at the International Mind Olympiad (in 2020).

Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash- Wikipedia
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