MadRatGames : Why a startup decided to sell its product to government first (and then retail)

We earlier covered MadRatGames, a venture that is actually taking a bottoms-up approach to changing the education system in India. MadRat Games’ flagship product is Aksharit – the first Indian language word game (i.e. Indian Scrabble). The game has reached 3000 schools in 1.5 yrs through four state govt partnership. Also, digital versions have been launched in partnership with Nokia (on 5 Lakh touchphones), Intel (AppUp store) and Google (official partner for Chromebook’s India launch).madrat_logo

Cofounder Rajat, after his MS from Carnegie Mellon University came back to India and instead of taking up a corporate job, he (and other cofounders) took up a job of Teacher at Rishi Valley School, a  residential school in Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh (about 150 km from Bangalore).

After 4 years of teaching at Rishi Valley school, the team decided to launch MadRat games, a company that develops board games for Indian Languages. While teaching, the team realized that there are ways to get kids to learn without getting into the incentives (or carrots?) of ‘you have to be the number 1, you have to be the first’. So while researching, the team found out that there were hardly any word games in Hindi and while games like Scrabble existed for more than 30 world languages, but none in Indian languages.

Watch this interview with cofounder Manuj sharing how the company took a different approach to build the business. The logical route would have been – “hey! first sell it to retail customers. Cracking government is not the startup way to do things.”.

They instead took the sell-to-government route and later, retail. So when you sell to government, how do you track product feedback? Whether the product is useful or not? After all, there is one thing as buying and another as using the product (and with most of the government/big corporate process, the two do not meet ever).

Watch the interview

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