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How this Mangalore-based edtech startup is making learning child’s play

The story of CherriLearn began in a high school in the Puttur district of Dakshina Kannada, where a young boy called Shrinidhi wanted access to e-learning platforms.

Coming from a humble background himself, he was able to relate to the struggles faced by a large percentage of India’s population who couldn’t afford to access such learning solutions.

“As a school student, I couldn’t afford it so I thought if we bring in a few people, I can help millions of students overcome a problem I faced as a school student,” he says.

Shrinidhi started on his journey to making the edtech sector accessible with a YouTube channel called Science Sarvajna where he posted video lessons. His entrepreneurial journey evolved into Sarvajna Info Tech LLP, a software services company, which is currently the parent company of CherriLearn.

As a first-generation entrepreneur, Shrinidhi’s parents had no exposure to the startup culture, inciting parental concern over deviating from studies when he began freelancing during his school days.

However, once they realised that he was able to cover his own fees and support his family, their support increased. Today, he is at the helm of a company that clocked a revenue of approximately 18 crore in FY24.

“We are currently operating from and headquartered in Tier IV city Puttur because as an edtech startup, with our main focus to help in the growth of underprivileged students in villages, there was no point in setting up an office in Koramangala and speaking about impact in rural cities,” Shrinidhi RS, co-founder, CEO, CherriLearn tells YourStory.

The availability of learning solutions was much concentrated in Tier I and Tier II cities, noted Shrinidhi. Additionally, with limited options for vernacular language learners, the app is also focused on providing students access to education in vernacular languages to cater to their needs.

“The gap we saw in the edtech industry was that the available edtech solutions were costly. Many people from Tier III and Tier IV can not afford this,” says Shrinidhi.

Play and learn

CherriLearn is a multi-device platform that is available on the web and Android and is compatible with smart TVs. It is also rolling out to iOS soon to extend access to its learning solutions to audiences of all types.

The platform offers gamified learning solutions to primary school students. The lessons are animated explanatory units which are followed by short quizzes which allow students to revise what they learnt through word matching, multiple choice questions or categorising.


The interactive audio-visual experience of the app helps break the monotony of reading for a learner who is more inclined to participate more with the audio-visual content.

It also allows users to view their progress reports with their accuracy rates and a leaderboard that lets students see their position among thousands of others in that specific class.

The application has a free trial, where 30% of the content is available for free, after which users can pay the subscription fee and access the rest of the content.

The CherriLearn app subscription is currently priced at Rs 365 per year for vernacular languages and Rs 999 for English. With a Rs 1 per day pricing, Shrinidhi says CherriLearn is the most affordable subscription-based education app.

It offers courses in Environmental Studies (EVS), Mathematics, Kannada, and English, in both English and Kannada mediums.

The platform, which has approximately 1 lakh registered students and covers over 32,000 topics, is now expanding to include Hindi and plans to have at least 8 languages by 2026.

According to Shrinidhi, the company sees most of its clients from the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, and hopes to see an increase in user engagement from the north and North East with the introduction of Hindi into its curriculum.

According to Shrinidhi, other peers to CherriLearn in the impact edtech arena include STEPapp (Student Talent Enhancement Program Application) which has Amitabh Bachchan as its Brand Ambassador, and CLT India (Children’s LoveCastles Trust).

However, he doesn’t see them as competition, he says.

“We are a social impact startup and are least bothered about competition,” says Shrinidhi. “I would rather collaborate with others in the space rather than compete.”

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Revenue and development

CherriLearn’s model is a mix of B2C, B2B2C (where they pitch to schools who get bulk subscriptions and pitch to parents about downloading the app) and corporate sponsorships for vernacular languages.

The company’s revenue comes from its direct customers and through corporate social responsibility (CSR) partnerships, where companies purchase the subscription for a set number of schools or students and make it available to them for free.

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Team CherriLearn, Mangalore

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Team CherriLearn, Mangalore

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Team CherriLearn, Puttur

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Team CherriLearn, Puttur

The CherriLearn team is 18 strong, three of whom work full-time and have Post Graduate and Bachelor of Education degrees and about a year or two of teaching experience. There are also over a dozen teachers who do not work full-time, but provide input as part of an academic committee. The rest of the team includes graphic designers, animators, voice-over artists and app developers.

Tech development happens mostly in-house, however, some technologies such as devops, cloud, and UI/UX designs are outsourced from tech companies from Mangalore such as The Web People and Accelerate Technologies.

What’s next

According to data analytics and consulting company GlobalData, the India edtech market size was valued at $5.13 billion in 2023.

The recorded growth in 2023 was attributed to the rise in internet penetration and digital literacy and is set to grow at a CAGR of more than 19% during 2023-2028.

CherriLearn App features

CherriLearn plans to ride this wave of growth. In 2022, it raised a seed round of Rs 1.5 crore with angel investors, including first investor Madhusoodhan Ayar, Managing Partner, Ayar Venture Partners LLP, and an early-stage VC firm.

“The initial two years went in product development, and in 2023 we began earning,” Shrinidhi says.

The company clocked a revenue of 18.5 lakh in FY24 and attained operational break-even in the first quarter of FY25. It now looks to achieve operational profitability at the end of the fiscal year and expects a revenue of Rs 2.5 crore.

The company also has a series of new features in the works.

The company has an offline mode for its app set to roll out by September this year to support those who do not have constant access to the internet. This would allow users to download units while they have internet access, which will be available offline for 30 days.

Some of the newer additions to the lessons will also include moral stories, GK and micro skill-based videos.

The company recently secured funding from the government of Karnataka after winning the Elevate Karnataka 2023 Call 2 award.

While he could not disclose the exact amount of funding, Shrinidhi says that the company currently has a burn rate of Rs 3.5-4 lakh, and the fund is set to support them with their cash runway for the next 12 months and help with the expansion to other vernacular languages such as Malayalam, and Tamil.

CherriLearn in Schools

The company also plans to extend the classes that it caters to classes 6, 7, and 8 in the next academic year, and add classes 8,9, and 10 in the following years.

CherriLearn is also planning to expand internationally into the African market. With domain names already registered, the beta version for primary classes is set to roll out in Nigeria and Tanzania by next year. There are plans to collaborate with NGOs in the works as well to provide its services to war-prone areas such as Palestine and Ukraine.

In the CSR partnership arena, CherriLearn, which has currently reached around 26 government schools in South Karnataka, plans to expand its presence to cover 100 by the end of the current academic year with a rate of 7-8 schools per month, Shrinidhi concludes.

Edited by Jyoti Narayan

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