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The Major Challenge Was To Convince Parents & Educators: Arunprasad Durairaj, Flintobox

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Arunprasad Durairaj, Co-founder, Flinto Learning Solutions, talks about the company and its products

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To keep children engage in any physical activity has become a challenge for parents.  In fact, most of the children are spending a disproportionate amount of time in front of screens. To make them free from the The same problem was faced by 3 dads; Arunprasad Durairaj, Vijaybabu Gandhi and Shreenidhi SP. In 2013, they have launched Flinto Learning Solutions, it aims to create products, tools, content and activities to promote activity based learning for 02 to 12 year old children. 

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Arunprasad Durairaj, Co-founder, Flinto Learning Solutions, talks about the company and its products.

What made you start this? 

Vijay, Shreenidhi and I (Arunprasad) have been friends for more than 10 years. In 2013, Vijay - father to 5-year-old Aadhav, came to us with a problem that his son was spending a disproportionate amount of time in front of screens. Vijay found it very difficult to deviate his son from gadgets and keep him meaningfully engaged as he was juggling between a busy schedule and prioritizing his son’s developmental needs. With nuclear families increasing in number where both the parents go out to work there’s hardly any time for parents to engage kids meaningfully at home.

Vijay bounced an idea that if there was someone who could professionally curate toys, activities, and books, it would be a huge benefit for parents and could cause a lasting impact on the child’s life. 

We all loved that idea as we were also young parents facing similar situations and we personally experienced the lack of quality education in India. On a related note, in a country with a billion population, the rate of penetration of early education was only an abysmal 15%. This fuelled us to create an opportunity to positively impact children’s early years across different mediums of learning. This encouraged our team to take the plunge and build Flinto as a company to close the growing gap in early education.

What challenges a startup can face in its initial time? 

Being a pioneer in the education subscription box industry in India, the challenges we faced with our unconventional products were manifold. 

Challenges in Product 

Our products cater to children, parents, and educators. 

The major challenge was to convince parents and educators that the products are safe and provide a holistic fun learning experience for their children and at the same time satisfy the kids' need for exploration, education, and entertainment.

To overcome this, we built a team with child psychologists, early learning experts, and game designers to carefully design our products, keeping in mind the different demands of our customers. Safety, engagement and life lessons are the three core elements we built into the product. All our products undergo a rigorous testing process and are produced in such a way that it meets all the requirements of the end-users. Our well researched,  ready-to-use learning tools enable parents and educators to provide high-quality engagement and education to children.

Challenges in Marketing 

The biggest marketing challenge was that most people in the target group were not problem-aware. To overcome that challenge, we had to create loads of content to create awareness and interest in the target audience, which included children, parents and preschool owners. With creative and innovative content, we could educate them about the scope and importance of our products. 

We also faced multiple problems across domains and addressed each of them with innovative solutions that make our customers happy and stick with us for a long term. 

Difference between Flintobox and FlintoClass. What’s your marketing strategy for Flintobox and FlintoClass.

Flinto creates products, tools, and activities that promote rich early learning experiences in children across different mediums of learning including home and school.

Flinto has two major offerings. Flintobox for home and FlintoClass for preschools.  

Flintobox caters to children and their parents. It’s a fun activity box to engage children between 2-12 years meaningfully at home. Each box is loaded with play-based activities to promote holistic growth and development in a fun and explorative way.  With a new theme every month, Flintobox is designed to recreate the curiosity and creativity that children are losing in this digital world.

FlintoClass caters to preschool owners, teachers, and students. It provides a comprehensive package to run world-class preschools at affordable costs.

With FlintoClass, everything needed to run a successful preschool will be packed and shipped to the preschool every month.

We engage in creating awareness in early learning to parents and educators as that’s a very important aspect in a child’s growth. We majorly sell our products online. Our customers are our brand ambassadors. Word-of-mouth publicity brings us most of the revenue because of higher levels of customer satisfaction. We recently stepped into the retail market with phenomenal success.

How it is different from others? 

Flinto is the only company in India that has an R&D Centre for children focusing on early learning and development. Flinto focuses on holistic learning & development of children by creating products across all mediums of learning. Our products resonate with every child, parent and educator and fix vexing issues they face in terms of early education. There is hardly any company, which designs products that address all the developmental needs of children. A few companies are trying to address the odds and ends of early child education through digital gaming, toy retailing, marketing, publishing, preschooling etc, but no one does it holistically as we do.

Name a few schools those are using your techniques or FlintoClass-preschool as their curriculum or extra activity.

FlintoClass has impacted the lives of children from different parts of India and abroad. FlintoClass is now present in 500+ preschools delivering early education to 15,000+ children in 8 countries. We focus more on making early education accessible in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

A few schools that use FlintoClass curriculum in India are:

Rainbow Preschool, Surat, Gujarat, Iffath’s Playhouse, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, Akshara Playschool And Kindergarten, Perumbavoor, Kerala and Kids Lounge ELC Centre, Chennai, Tamil Nadu have added FlitoClass in their curriculum. And we are looking for more tie-ups in the coming year. 

You provide learning kits on a subscription basis, please explain about the same.

Flinto works on a subscription-basis where the payment is made in advance and the boxes are shipped to the subscribers’ doorsteps every month.

For our products, we have different subscription plans that cater to the different needs of our customers. About 99% of our customers are happy with our products and services and the high renewal rate is a testament to the all-round development and engagement the kids receive at home and preschools.

Do you have tie-ups with government schools as well? If yes, please share us the details, and if not, are you planning something on this.

We don’t have tie-ups with government school as of now. We have conceptualized multiple plans around how FlintoClass can transform early learning in India and we are closer to achieving it.

9. ‘Right to education for everyone’ is one of the fundamental rights of our constitution. How come you are fulfilling this statement or doing any CSR work to support this? (because everyone can’t buy it)

Flinto works with multiple NGOs who have a network in this segment to distribute our products and tools to support kids who are in need of early education.

Right to education doesn’t stop with academics. Education is much more than structured and theoretical learning that happens in a restrictive environment.  In a country like India, the awareness and importance of Early Education are abysmally low. Flinto solves this problem by creating awareness about the right kind of early learning and creating the right products and tools for it. We invest a lot of time and resource into creating content to educate parents and educators about how early learning can be delivered across different mediums in a powerful way.

For example, We have a blog that has well-researched articles to educate people about parenting, child development, early learning and much more.

Flinto productizes and standardizes early education in such a way that a child learning in a state-of-the-art school and a child learning under a tree receives the same world-class learning experience.

On our 5th Anniversary, for every order that got placed, we delivered one box to the NGOs to support underprivileged children.

With Flinto-Class, how do you plan to empower women in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities?

In tier 2 and tier 3 cities, the opportunities for women in career and entrepreneurship are lesser compared to women in tier 1 cities. Women who are passionate about running preschools find it challenging with limited educators and financial resources.  With FlintoClass, we are aiming to make early education accessible to even the remotest and the most rural areas of the world. By productizing and standardizing preschool education, Flinto is helping every educator, irrespective of their experience and background, to deliver a world-class program to children.  By removing the dependency on the educator and financial resources, Flinto has empowered more than 500 women, entrepreneurs, to start or enhance their preschools to provide world-class early learning program to children. In the next 3 years, Flinto aims to empower over 12,000 entrepreneurs to make early education accessible to even the remotest and the most rural areas of the world.

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