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A Battle Arena For Learning? Startup AvalonMeta Fuses Gaming With Higher Education

Reduced attention spans and lack of clarity on real-world problems, AvalonMeta redefines higher education with a full-fledged competitive game.

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A burst of energy and innovation exuberates from this young startup called AvalonMeta that is on a mission to combine competitive gaming with higher education. Cousins- Varun Mayya and Shashank Udupa birthed the idea of AvalonLabs, the parent company of AvalonMeta, which is on a penchant of  ‘young entrepreneurship’ in an age where big players dominate the industry.

The startup was founded by serial entrepreneurs and angel investors Varun Mayya, Shashank Udupa, and Abhinav Arora. They received fresh funds of $420,000 from a blockchain-based gaming company- Peerplays along with Purvi Capital which is a Chicago based VC firm. Abhinav Chhikara, ex-Head of Design at Unacademy, has also placed faith in the startup with an investment.  

Quizzing the founders on technologies used at AvalonMeta and the future of edtech, Express Computer’s Radhika Udas gets into a candid conversation with Abhinav Arora (CMO, AvalonMeta), Varun Mayya (CEO, AvalonMeta) and Shashank Udupa (COO, AvalonMeta). 

Please elaborate on AvalonMeta and what problem in the current education space are you looking to solve? 

Abhinav: Let me begin with the problem: The higher education system in India is broken. 93% MBA graduates are unemployed. We have been entrepreneurs in the 21st century’s internet-powered economy. We know what is taught in MBA classrooms is far from what the real-world demands. Solution: AvalonMeta. Our content is prepared by hands-on real-world practitioners. We literally practice what we teach.

Varun: Moreover, unlike the plethora of boot camps out there, our thoughts are that education will eventually become commoditized and educational content will have an effective price of zero in the future. Completion rates across e-learning platforms are at an all-time low. (approx. 4% on Coursera). Owing to the information overload, human attention spans have become increasingly selective. Hence, we decided to turn higher education into a game. Not gamify an existing solution, but make a full-fledged, proper game.

PeerPlays has led an amount of $4,20,000 towards AvalonMeta with other investors as well. How do you plan to use these funds in the coming months?

Abhinav: AvalonMeta was born out of content and the 100,000+ member community we created through our content. For over a year, we have been funding the advertising and app development via the money that we make from our services wing, Avalon Labs. But now scaling has become inevitable – things have been moving so fast that we had to raise external capital. AvalonMeta plans to use the funds to grow our community to a million member strong. 80% of our funds would go into running ads.

What technologies are you using to combine higher education and competitive gaming?

Abhinav: The technologies range from React Native (which allows us to be ready for iOS and Android from day zero) to game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine to streaming platforms like Open Broadcaster Software (to record our content).

Shashank: Also just like any other game, AvalonMeta will be monetized by in-app digital assets (like virtual clothing in ‘Fortnite’). And all of these transactions will happen with the help of the Peerplays blockchain.

How do you envision the new-age of education with technology?

Varun: We believe that in the future education is going to be a community-based phenomenon. On the app, we have benches, where you can team up with three other people also learning the same course and everyday, take challenges and compete with each other. We are taking the entire idea of college and have fostered the competitive community inside the app.

Jonathan: We have a very similar vision with regards to the future. Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Zers have very different ideals in regards to what they want to see happen. They are not of the same mindset of wanting to work for a company or even trusting institutions as is, the way past generations have traditionally been. This is where AvalonMeta is really visionary and genius in what they are creating. The current education system dates back to the industrial revolution era – where information is dumped into us and we are expected to work like robots. – Jonathan Baha’i is the Founder of Peerplays.

Any ‘words of wisdom’ for budding entrepreneurs in the tech sector?

Shashank: Most people are clueless too. Stay curious. Doubling down on competitive gaming should be your best bet.


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