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StoryMirror interviewed Cerebroz and asked about their journey. Read on to learn more.

When and how did you start Cerebroz? What inspired you to start Cerebroz? Please elaborate the entire story.

As an Underprivileged kid who became a scientist in United States in Stowers Institute For Medical Research, I aptly new the importance of education in my life. As a return gesture I always wanted to contribute to education system but fear of losing out on my successful career I hesitated for some time to start with what I always wanted to do. But after I joined as a researcher in US, I found myself spending more and more time in front of the TV screen and started thinking that I haven’t worked so hard to spent my life in front of TV screen, moreover I realised that my life was extremely influenced from TV, it dictates my emotions, my behaviour to some extent, my choices of products, my views, all in all I realised that I am not living my life myself, I am merely a puppet whose string is in the hand of TV (or People controlling TV), I looked around and found out that it’s not the specific things with me but it’s a generalise things that people are mere slaves to TV screen. I asked a question to myself that why does people surrender to TV screen, the answer was very clear that for entertainment, but still people hate the ads playing in between of the program. Being a scientist, I researched deeper and found out that why the brands pay huge amount of money for just few seconds when they knew that people are anyways going to change to different channels when the ad is going to play. So we thought of using the same thing at the advantage of viewer rather than to the advertisers. At this time the Idea of starting Cerebroz born in my head, which can kill two birds with one stone, fulfilling my dream of contributing to the education and also freeing people in real sense from digital Shackles. So at Cerebroz we develop EduTree: The Worlds first TV Ad Replacer/Blocker: Which can replace TV ads with K12 education. It took several sleepless nights for me to decide and quit my research career in US and I come back to India in Sep 2015 to start working on Cerebroz.


What was your seed capital and what were the challenges have you faced during the initial days?

Seed Capital: 22 lacs INR.

I started out with my savings when I returned back to India, which was roughly around 13 lacs INR. Later on I was supported by my family in which my Sister and my Mother, who were the first one to believe in the Idea and vision contributed 7 Lac and 2 Lac respectively. so the total seed capital we started with was 22 Lac. 

Challenges:

1. Convincing people to work for you without paying them, you need to share and show them the grand vision. #TeamBuilding

2. Getting access of the schools for generating pre-orders, we figured out by organising events for schools students. #CustomerAccess and #Preorder

3. I thought of convincing my mom will be the toughest thing for me but on the contrary she was the easiest to persuade. She was like do whatever you feel like doing, I know you will do great.


Please give a brief about your educational qualification and professional background.

I did my Schooling from the government schools in Surat, Gujarat.
2004-07 : Bachelor in Medical Technology from South Gujarat University, Surat, Gujarat
2007-09 : Master In Microbiology from M.S. University of Baroda, Vadodara, Gujarat
2009-10 : Junior Research Fellow in Indian Institute of Sciences (IISC), Bangalore
2010-12 : Research Student in Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi
2012-2015 : Researcher in Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, USA
2015 : Cerebroz.


Please elaborate more on the entire mechanism of how Cerebroz works and what is it all about?

Cerebroz is an Ed/AdTech Startup, who has developed world’s first TV Ad Replacer/Blocker.

What we do? - We replace TV ads with Education, Including K12, Social Education and General Knowledge. We are transforming TV from personal sales man to Personal Tutor. Television has a huge effect on our life and directly affects our health, behaviour and choices. It also affects students education and thus parent’s are concerned about kids TV viewing habits and time they spent on it. Parents knows the adverse effects of TV viewing on kids education, health, behaviour and are concern about it, but unfortunately there is no solution available till now. Too much TV viewing interferes with early learning experiences causing attention problem. Most of the Ads shown on TV are of junk, unhealthy foods, alcohol and tobacco which makes people buy things they don’t need and promotes the unhealthy life style. Moreover TV shapes our perception and influences our decision and choices and that’s the reason advertisers pay millions of dollars for just few seconds, we are using the same concept but for the betterment of the viewers. In short we are converting an Idiot Box in to Genius Box.

Why We do? - We want to covert TV from being a Personal Sales Man to a Personal Tutor.
Television has a huge effect on our life and directly affects our health, life style, behaviour and choices. It also affects students education and thus parent’s are concerned about kids TV viewing habits and time they spent on it. Parents knows the adverse effects of TV viewing on kids education, health, sleep and behaviour and are concern about it, but unfortunately no solution available till now. Too much TV viewing interferes with early learning experiences causing attention problem. Most of the Ads shown on TV are of junk, unhealthy foods, alcohol and tobacco which makes people buy things they don’t need and promotes the unhealthy life style. Moreover TV shapes our perception and influences our decision and choices and that’s the reason advertisers pay millions of dollars for just few seconds, we are using the same concept but for the betterment of the viewers.

How we do it? - We have developed the product EduTree, which replaces TV ads with K12 education. EduTree is connected with TV/Set top Box through HDMI cable and with Cerebroz’s server through wifi. Whenever the Ad comes on TV, server sends the signal over the wifi to EduTree and EduTree switches to Educational content stored inside it. We replace TV ads with Education, Including K12, Social Education and General Knowledge. Installation and use of EduTree is very simple, you just need to connect it with TV through HDMI or RCA cable, customised it and your are done. You can sit back, relax and enjoy your TV programme but in place of an annoying Ads you will see the educational programme which you have customised it. EduTree processes the TV signals and decides either it’s an ad or TV programme, all is done automatically, Users don’t need to do anything.


What in the number of students enrolment have you witnessed so far? How the students are benefiting from Cerebroz?

- We already have 956 orders from just six schools in Surat, Gujarat and are in final talks with 5 more schools for closing the deal.
- Students gets educated at the same time they get entertained without any extra efforts.

- Students remember the concepts as easily as they remember the ads.

- Students and parents become on the same page about kids education because they generally don’t sit separately with their kids but all watches TV together, so rather than getting bombarded with repeated brand messages it’s better they know about their kids education, it makes students and parent’s chemistry much better.

- EduTree will save parents pocket by saving amount spent on unnecessary things kids demand after watching ads.


EduTree can replace TV ad with K12 education, Social education and GK videos, Reducing negative ad effects on brain and curing TV addiction." Please elaborate more on your product EduTree and its functionality.

1. EduTree is the world’s first TV Ad Replacer/Blocker, which can replaces TV Ad’s with the K12 educational content, saving you from harmful effects of unwanted TV ads and programs on your brain while simultaneously educating you. On Average people spends 4-6h daily on TV which amounts approx. 30% of active life and in return get controlled by TV. People Eat, drink, wear, think, buy, and behave as TV tells them to. TV affects Education, health, behaviour, personal & social life.  

2. Educational contents of EduTree covers not only the K12 Academic education but also includes the general knowledge and social educational content, which is highly needed in present time but very few are providing it, if any.

3. Educational contents are specially designed and curated by scientist and video’s are of just ~100 sec. long to make the most impact.

4. EduTree can be used in place of an Educational tablet and can also convert dumb TV to Smart TV


How does your revenue model look like? What is your month on month revenue growth?

We follow the recurring revenue model, following are the main sources of revenue generation.

1. One time (Product) sell: 7,000 INR (~100 US Dollar)

2. Yearly Educational content Subscription: 2,000 INR/Year (~ $30/Year) 

3. Post sales service charges


What is the number of employees do you have and what is your current geographical presence?

- Current Number of Employs - 6

- Currently based out of Surat, Gujarat, by next month expanding to Vadodara.


Tell us more about your team. And brief profiles of founders also.

We have a core team of 6 members but currently our strength is 20 people.

1. Vijay Kantharia: Founder & CEO
Vijay was a Researcher/Scientist in Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, USA before deciding to dropout from his PhD and research career and move back to India. He has also served as researcher in Indian Institute of Sciences (IISC), Bangalore and IGIB, New Delhi. The inspiration for starting Cerebroz and developing EduTree is his personal story and life experience. Shared in detail

2. Nikhil Adroja: Founding Member (Hardware Product Engineer)
Nikhil is an experienced embedded hardware engineered who has worked with reputed hardware development company and has been involved in designing and making of hardware product from scratch prior to joining Cerebroz.

3. Nilesh Suryavanshi: Founding Member (Software Product Engineer)
Nilesh is an alumni of Nirma Institute and an experienced embedded software developer who has worked with audio/ video embedded software development in the past.

4. Vikas Tiwari: Founding Member (Head of Design and Manufacturing)
He is a mechanical enggnear with designed focus and a creative thinker. He oversees and lead the Design and Manufacturing process of EduTree.

5. Sadariya Hiral: Founding Member (Creative Director)
Hiral is an entrepreneur cum Engineering dropout with passion for animation and visual art. he is a creative head and handles the content production team.

6. Dipika Kher: Founding Member (COO)
Dipika doesn’t have an HR or management degree but She is a brilliant manager and lead the Pre-order team and the day to day operations of the office.


What is your target market?

We are currently zeroing down on the K12 education sector so focusing on the K12 Students.


What is your Competitive advantages?

1. We are the world’s first TV Ad replacer with Education

2. We are the only people providing complete education, Academic, Social and General Knowledge.

3. All our educational content are conceptualised/curated by scientists

4. Each topic is explain is less than 100 sec.

5. We have multiple features built in EduTree for example, Apart from being the world’s first TV ad replacer It can also work as wifi router, Screen Caster, PIP, Personal Tutor, personal computer etc...


How do you plan to market your product? What are your customer acquisition strategies?

We are currently doing the face to face marketing, Approaching schools and demoing the product to students.

Special offers for Schools /Nursery (If they tie up with us) - Up to 40% discount Referral system: 250 INR Cash for every referral
Special offers for group orders (More than 10)



What do you want to achieve from this? What is your larger goal or vision?

We would like to free people form the digital media shackles and make them free in real sense. We would like people to use technology rather than get used by it. We would like to help them fulfil their dreams because Education is the only thing which is of key importance for changing peoples life and our founder is an example of it. With Cerebroz, we want to create a better society where people are socially and morally well educated and not just academically. In short we would like to enhance the positive effect of technology and reduce the negative ones and EduTree which replace TV ads with education is an example of it, there is more to come from us. Stay tuned for future product lines..

The Current goal is to transform TV from a personal sales man to persona tutor and change it from an Idiot box to Genius box.


What sort of support and feedback are you looking for from the community?

We always welcome suggestions and Feedback from the community member. Currently we are recruiting so people who believes in our vision and think they canbe part of our story in anyways, we welcome them all to contact us on kinjal@cerebroz.com or learn@cerebroz.com 

To understand us better, click here and here.


What are your growth and expansion plans for the next two to three years? What is your anticipation in terms of revenue for the next fiscal year?

In the next three years we aim to spread all over India with the students base of 100,000 using the product, which will grow our revenue close to 100 Crore. For the

next fiscal year of 2017-18 we aim to achieve students base of 10,000 with approx. 10 crore in revenue.


Watch the teachers View/testimonial on EduTree here

As a parent I feel that my child is under the control of TV and Feel the need of EduTree. I am eagerly waiting for EduTree launch and will be the first person to buy it.
- Mrs. Pratima Soni, Principal of LH Boghra High School, Surat

EduTree will create the social awareness and will reduce the negative effect of TV on society.
- Dr. Jayesh Joshi, Principal, KC kothari Highschool, Surat

Television Ad affects child psychology, EduTree might help parents save money by reducing useless spending on advertise product for kids.
- Mrs. Hetal Dadawala, Principal - Jivan Bharti Highschool, Surat

EduTree Should have to be in every home.
- Dr. Jayesh Joshi, Principal- KC Kothari Highschool, Surat

If EduTree provides education instead of ad on TV, students can easily understand the concept visually and can remember it for longer time.
- Mrs. Chetana Patel, Principal - Lord's Krishna International School, Surat


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