Portfolio

A visual language app to help kids learn new languages easily.
Ajit Narayanan
CEO

Language is beautiful, but it is also the last barrier we have as a species to communication. We want to build world-class products that empower, engage and educate people, to turn that barrier into a source of joy.” – Ajit Narayanan, CEO

ajith_freespeech

The Idea

Freespeech is a visual language learning tool developed based on proven neuro-science based linguistic learning methodologies. The technology has been developed based on the team’s experience of developing Avaz previously, which was an app focused on language learning for autistic children. The Freespeech app gives users an immersive learning experience simulating how kids learn language in an early age.

From the Founders

What is your Leadership Philosophy

My leadership philosophy is driven by the ups and downs we have seen in our organization over the last 10 years. Every time there has been either a crisis or a moment of joy, the realization has been that the company is nothing more than a team of good people striving together in the pursuit of greatness. 

 I have always acted to empower individuals and to give them rich, rewarding jobs that they can feel proud of, regardless of the vicissitudes of entrepreneurial fate. We benchmark ourselves against the best in the world on all fronts: vision, product, marketing, business relations, investor relations, ethics, culture: and we strive for excellence in all of them.

What made you take the entrepreneurial plunge?

I always loved engineering and the possibility of technology to transform lives, particularly in India; technology entrepreneurship seemed to be the perfect way to achieve that transformation. For me, the journey of entrepreneurship is also a process to constantly “grow the self” and become a better, wiser human being.

What is unique about your team culture?

Our team culture is driven by a very strong sense of belonging, responsibility, growth and karma

Every senior employee of the company is encouraged and rewarded to mentor juniors and share their learnings and expertise. Every employee is encouraged (and given time and money) to “level up” their skills by taking up courses and participating in conferences and contests. 

Every member of the team – regardless of age, experience and position – is an equal participant in our decision-making process. We try really hard to make everyone feel like an entrepreneur. And many of our best ideas have come from our youngest employees.

We realize and recognize that every one of our team has a right to live a rich, rewarding life, both at work and outside work. And we want every member of the team to give their best and be their best, without worrying about their immediate success and failure.

More here: https://www.quora.com/Which-startups-in-India-have-the-best-workplace-cultures/answer/Ajit-Narayanan-1

What brought you to Kstart?

In 2016, we had a lot of success with one of our products (FreeSpeech) and we started looking for funding. I engaged a wonderful banker (Mr L R Narayanan) to help me navigate VC circles. Among other VCs, he introduced me to Vani and Kalaari, and told me of Vani’s reputation as an “entrepreneur’s friend”. 

My first meeting with Vani was very different from the usual VC meetings – she was brutal in her criticism of the weak parts of my plan and my presentation! – and I came away with a sense of respect and a resolve that I would do better the next time. We were hoping to convince Kalaari to fund our China expansion, but the Kalaari IC felt that given our stage and how new we were to the market, it would make a lot of sense to go through Kstart first and then look at Kalaari for a following round. Muthiah from Kstart was very friendly and accommodative, making sure they reworked their terms to fit our needs, and always looking at the bigger picture. When I found out that Vani would be joining our board, it was all the more exciting for us!

Ajit Narayanan

CEO

Language is beautiful, but it is also the last barrier we have as a species to communication. We want to build world-class products that empower, engage and educate people, to turn that barrier into a source of joy.” – Ajit Narayanan, CEO

SECTORS
Edutech
TEAM
Ajit Narayanan, CEO
Narayanan B, CTO
Narayanan R, Product