Monday, Sep 26, 2022
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Nurtr, Taking The Ed- Gaming Industry Ahead

Nurtr has a committed subscriber base from all corners of the world because we took an early decision to focus on quality of learning. This has shaped all our product decisions, including our investments on top mentors, cinematic learning content (in both chess and cricket) and easy access to key enabling tools like learning databases and practice tournaments. 

 Mr. Dharmendra Yashovardhan, Founder and CEO of Nurtr.
 Mr. Dharmendra Yashovardhan, Founder and CEO of Nurtr.


1.    Could you enlighten us on the current trends in Ed- Gaming ?

Some key trends affecting skilling platforms - 

Specialization – The initial online learning platforms like Coursera and Udemy were what we call the horizontals. They offered multiple courses that used a generic LMS and taught everything - from Data Science to Music. Some later entrants like Masterclass and Outlier followed the same “horizontal” paradigm, but differentiated themselves on dimensions like cinematic quality of their videos. We discern an increasing trend towards specialized platforms tailored to meet the pedagogical needs of the specific field - providing a more immersive experience. An example would be an app leveraging advances in digital signal processing to teach music through interactive visualizations and haptic feedback.

Interactivity – the initial platforms were more or less “one way”, with forums providing limited interactions. The new emerging platforms provide greater interactivity through live interaction and access to trainers during office hours. Platforms like Reforge and Maven provide cohort-based courses to simulate the offline, batch based interactive learning experience.

Personalization – We see an increased effort towards personalization at scale using tools like sensors and computer vision (e.g. app teaching golf).

2.    How is Nurtr different from other platforms?

It’s fair to say Nurtr was one of the first platforms which realized the potential at the intersection of gaming, skilling and live interactivity. While we launched our platform with bestselling VOD course, the Chess Dream Room, we soon saw the opportunity with live courses and today have a product mix for teaching Chess that encompasses the complete spectrum, from on demand videos to live group and 1-1 sessions from best global trainers in the field of chess (and soon Cricket). 

We firmly believe that the world will gravitate towards specialized, vertical specific immersive learning experiences. Our focused skilling for verticals like Chess (and Cricket), which are easy to learn but difficult to master provide massive opportunities. These verticals have very large audiences (650 million people play chess and 300 million play Cricket), with millions of casual as well as passionate players willing to shell out top dollars for more specialized learning opportunities. An example of this would be access to annotated chess games database, opportunities of playing against higher ranked players, access to computer adaptive puzzles focusing on specific weaknesses etc.

3.  What were the challenges you faced in the Ed- gaming industry? How do you overcome the same?

The last couple of years have been quite tough. We went through a difficult time when promised funding vanished overnight, this was a double whammy because we had already made significant commitments to leverage the tailwinds triggered by the lockdown.

Lack of financing resulted in a lot of pain, but we have been able to pull through due to our conviction that our product solved a real consumer pain. 
 
Some of the pivotal moments in our journey came from listening to our customers and our unwavering focus on the content quality and world-class trainers. 

We launched our chess learning platform in 2018 with a single, proprietary cinematic course called the Chess Dream Room and today have a library of high-quality skilling content that includes cinematically recorded videos with structured syllabi as well as live interactive courses with world-class coaches from 20+ countries across 4 continents.

Today our subscribers come from 70+ countries from across the world.

4.  What are the latest changes being witnessed in this industry, especially on the tech front?

There are many exciting technologies shaping the way we teach and learn. 

NFTs and blockchain are opening up completely new revenue streams - allowing creators and content owners to benefit from innovations like repeat commissions on future transactions and smart contracts – which enable fans to co-create content and participate in financial upside - resulting in a more engaged user base. 

We also see newer ways of personalized learning at scale being enabled through fusion of sensor data, deep content and live interactivity for verticals like cricket.


5. Your take on the ongoing 44th Chess Olympiad? In your opinion, how are the young Indian players performing?

44th Chess Olympiad has been an absolutely amazing achievement for India. We must rise up as a nation and applaud the organizers for successfully pulling through an event of this scale against a seemingly impossible deadline.

The Indian team’s bronze win in both men and women sections is expected to inspire many more people to take up chess. The tournament showcased the depth of Indian talent, with new stars like Gukesh, Nihal Sarin and Praggnandhaa (one of the stars of Nurtr’s Dream Room course) being the cynosure of all the eyes. 

6.    What are the future plans for the company? Where do you see Nurtr in the coming 5 years? Do you plan to invest for further expansion? Are you seeking funds?

There are 650 million people across the world who play chess actively. The number of chess players got a massive boost during lockdown as offline tournaments got cancelled; and successful TV series like The Queen’s Gambit caught people’s imagination

Today Nurtr has a committed subscriber base from all corners of the world because we took an early decision to focus on quality of learning. This has shaped all our product decisions, including our investments on top mentors, cinematic learning content (in both chess and cricket) and easy access to key enabling tools like learning databases and practice tournaments. 

We plan to leverage our massive content library from top grandmasters, sharp insights of consumer behavior, and most importantly - an understanding of what not to do - to strengthen our chess platform. Our cricket product is also ready that we hope to launch soon.  We are always looking out for partners who share our vision and help us take our product to more people around the world.


 

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