Gate60 is an ed-tech tools startup based in Visakhapatnam, India. It was formed to create an impact with the innovative and adaptive product in the ed-tech tools space.
The mission was to build empowering tools for aspiring young engineers in competitive exams. With Gate60, we aim to address the gaps that hinder the aspirant’s performance. Gate60 is a scientific calculator exclusively designed and developed for the student community appearing for various premier examinations conducted in online mode. Gate60 looks and functions the same as the virtual calculator provided for online exams, making it easier for candidates to practice well and score better.
Narendra Karumudi, co-founder, and Vijay Kumar Kalluri, Director, Gate India Electronics Pvt Ltd (GATE60), tell us more. Excerpts from an interview.
DQ: What was the inspiration behind the invention?
Vijay Kumar Kalluri: I was a normal student, not exceptional, but like many others I have goals like to get good CGPAs, get a better job. So, I started preparing for GATE, in hope to land in a better job. Like any other students, I joined a top coaching institute, worked hard, day in day out, followed tight schedule, reinforcing my concepts, giving tests, finally the exam day came. I did well and hoping for the best rank, up to now everything seemed to be ok. Except for a improper time management.
The results were out, I was heartbroken, it hurts when the results didn’t meet your expectations. That too it was very close to the cut-off, likes few inches close to a job is PSU’s or a master’s degree from IIT’s.
I can blame the institute, or faculty or my preparation. That was for a short time and doing so can’t solve the problem. So, I sat and questioned myself. Analysed “what went wrong?” Is it the institute? Faculty? My preparation? Time management in the final exam?
Every question above had the answers and alternatives but then I realized I had committed mistakes during the calculation part which ultimately led to improper time management and negative marking in the final exam, the wrong way of practicing of solving numerical questions during preparation had a major impact on the final exam result and I didn’t had any answer or alternative.
Then I realised that it was not only me, but many students and faculty complaining the same problem over the years. And, asked myself the question “what can I do about it?”
The inspiration behind GATE60 scientific calculator was the pain I felt due to failure in securing the desired rank in GATE. I always believed the quote “Hard work always wins”, no matter you are talented or not. And, I want students who put a lot of effort and dedication should not be denied success due to a simple calculation error. This was the biggest inspiration and belief behind Gate India Electronics Pvt Ltd.
DQ: What revenue has been generated to date?
Vijay Kumar Kalluri: We have generated around Rs. 42 lakhs in revenue from D2C mode through our website www.gate60.in, Amazon and Flipkart since the product was launched in January 2022. With B2B mode, we secured work orders worth Rs. 2.5 crores, and also signed MoUs with several universities and engineering colleges.
DQ: Being civil and mechanical engineers, you are coding, assembling, marketing, and selling all by yourself. Can you please make us go through the process?
Vijay Kumar Kalluri: I am Vijay Kumar from civil engineering background. I did my bachelor’s degree from LPU, and I completed my masters from Andhra university, Visakhapatnam.
However, I never confined myself to a particular branch of science I always enjoyed exploring other areas of science, more over I like to think towards a problem-solving solution.
In LPU during my studies I had participated in many tech fest but never confined to civil engineering branch. Similarly, after realizing a practical problem that is being faced by many students, I just started to think towards the solution, in the development prosses I encountered many problems due lack of knowledge in many areas but I took time to learn.
In the development phase I used a Arduino uno board for gate60 prototype used their IDE platform to develop the code. In LPU, even civil engineering students are also taught c and c++ languages as common subject to every branch. Coming to designing learned basics for AutoCAD and solid works to design the prototype and taken the help of my college mate Narendra Karumudi to finalize the production ready design.
After completing his diploma in automotive design, he joined the company as co-founder and is responsible for all the designs CAD designs, Website development, social media management, marketing material design like product brochure, product packaging and so on
Having a hunger to learn new skills, he self-taught the basics of web development like HTML, CSS which helped to build and maintain the GATE60 website.
Marketing and selling are completely a new world to me and my team, but as the product got an immense response and appreciation from the students and faculty, which gave us confidence and boosted our spirits to work harder to grow and scale the product.
DQ: How is it inspiring Indian aspiring students under GoI’s Make in India initiative?
Narendra Karumudi: The GoI has taken many dynamic steps to promote the make in India concept and implementation. Many seminars/exhibitions are being conducted all over India by the department of science and technology to provide a platform for the start-ups and entrepreneurs to showcase their inventions and developments.
The initiative taken by the GoI are indeed encouraging and inspiring. However, suitable technical support with respect to providing a part of competent persons in various filed to help the start-ups would be a welcoming development. Similarly suitable marketing support mechanism may be developed seamless roll out of the product in the market.
DQ: GATE60 an outcome of social entrepreneurship. Please explain.
Narendra Karumudi: Indeed, Gate 60 is an outcome of social entrepreneurship. The need for a customized scientific calculator to help the student community during their preparation for various Academic as well as job oriented competitive examinations is felt universally, this is a societal requirement and need of the hour.
Any entrepreneur working towards bringing a revolutionary change and helping the society is appreciated and well received. Gate 60 is no exception, the product is being reviewed by eminent faculty in various universities and colleges as a suitable EdTech Tool for preparing various competitive exams.
DQ: What is the market size you are catering to?
Vijay Kumar Kalluri: While conceptualizing the GATE60, we thought this problem only being faced by many engineering students who are giving GATE exam, that is one of the main reasons to name the product as GATE60 (60 represents the time indicates the significance of time management in the exam), coming to reality this is the problem being faced by every individual who are preparing for any competitive exam in India.
So, our market size has drastically increased from 10 lakhs what we thought in starting stage. Later, we realized that it has market size of more than 38.5 million users and over a Rs. 4,000-crore market.
DQ: Can you let us know the difference between GATE 60 vs. a conventional calculator?
Vijay Kumar Kalluri: There are many technical differences between Gate60 and conventional calculator like key layout, functionality, speed, accuracy and dedicated function keys and quality of the product and many more
Key layout: The key layout Gate60 calculator is in landscape vs. a portrait key layout in the conventional scientific calculator. Gate60 key layout matches with the exact key layout of online virtual calculator that is being provided in the exam unlike the conventional calculator which completely opposite.
Functionality: Using Gate60 is very simple and easy unlike conventional scientific calculator. the input length is minimal, and output was more accurate.
Dedicated function: Gate 60 has 60 number of keys unlike a conventional scientific calculator usually has 45 keys only, gate60 has all the scientific functions with dedicated keys individually unlike to conventional scientific calculator uses same key for two scientific functions.
Quality: Gate60 comes with three-year manufacture warranty, and in terms of build quality it is on and beyond with major MNC companies in this field.
DQ: How has the company grown since its inception and what are the company’s future expansion plans?
Vijay Kumar Kalluri: We are planning to scale up the network by B2B model, i.e., to tie up with institutes, universities, and colleges to supply the calculators for every academic year. We are also trying our best to reduce the price by increasing the production capacity. Updating and improving the product in all possible ways depending upon the feedback by the students.
Since the roll out of the product, it is presently being sold in our website and all the major ecommerce platforms. Further, the company had collaborated with various reputed universities and colleges like Lovely Professional University, Osmania University, KL University, Gayatri Vidya Parishad College of Engineering, etc., and provided Gate60 to their students.
Presently, we are in final stage of finalizing the work orders with reputed coaching institutions in major cities. Our company future expansion plan include collaborating with various state governments to enable provide the product to govt aided colleges and intuitions at subsidized prices as a part of our CSR initiatives. Secondly, we are in the design stage for our second product.
DQ: As the product inception happened during LPU, how has the university helped?
Vijay Kumar Kalluri: LPU was instrumental in shaping my career and it had infused the needed confidence to become an entrepreneur, the technical knowledge I had gained in the campus is the backbone of my success. the practical exposure I got in the campus had helped me all through the development of my product. The friends I acquainted here at LPU were my Core Team and held along with me in all these testing Times. Support rendered by LPU management to my start-up is unparallel and I shall be ever grateful to them.
Narendra Karumudi: LPU has provided the exposure and many opportunities to put me in different roles and situations. Right from my 2nd semester I was active member of LSCC and other clubs, went to many national level events in these events like SAEINDIA supra, BAJA, International Go kart Challenge, hybrid go kart challenge, where we use to present our B-Plans in the competition. That experience helped me in GATE60 pitching and I also learnt how to work as a team most efficiently during my lab days. I got to opportunity to work with few seniors and alumina of LPU, who turned into entrepreneurs during my college days.
Also, LPU had helped us in accelerating our marketing process through facilitating conduct of various seminars/ tech fest across various states in India and understood the capabilities of our product through their faculty testing the product rigorously and now university finalizing the decision of providing gate60 to their students during their enrolment stage itself.
DQ: Aspirants of which courses is the scientific calculator helping?
Vijay Kumar Kalluri: The GATE60 scientific calculator can be used by any student who is pursuing higher education courses like engineering, B.Sc, M.Sc, etc. It is also 100% helpful to the students who are appearing for competitive exams like GATE, CSIR NET, BARC, CAT etc. Gate 60 means, “calculate better, score better”!