Educational mentoring firm building AI platform

 

ivyWhile the focus of Mentorphile is on the mentoring of entrepreneurs, occasionally my Google Alerts surfaces a news story about mentoring outside that framework that may have significant ramifications for all types of mentors.

The article UnivAdmitHelp Aims to Shatter the 3% International Student Acceptance Rate at Ivy League Universities comes from the Indian site BWDisrupt. It caught my attention with this paragraph:

Right now the team is involved in building an AI enabled virtual mentoring platform and has already built out a wire-frame POC (Proof of Concept) for the same.

I’ve long been interested in virtual mentoring. While I’m a firm believer that face to face is the highest bandwidth communication channel ,scheduling difficulties often make f2f mentor meetings impracticable. And, of course, there are great mentors around the world, not just those within commuting distance of an incubator or academic entrepreneurship program.  One of the founders has an MIT connection, Abhishek Singhald is a graduate of MIT Sloan. And his co-founder Kamini Vidisha took a leave from Harvard to set up Anavi Learning, a partner company of UnivAdmitHelp.

The problem they set out to solve is very clear: Indian student registrations at US universities is up 52% since 2015, but international acceptance rate at Ivy Leagues likes MIT, Harvard and Columbia is still 3-4% and incredibly hard to get into.

Their solution is unique to the best of my knowledge, while AI is turning into the electricity of the 21st century, the application to mentoring is the first I have heard of. The two founders started working together helping young startups with building their business before pivoting towards helping Indian students get accepted at top U.S. universities by offering one-to-one services. Singhai says:

This person is a full time mentor who is invested in the student’s future and is committed to achieve it. This leads to great professional outcomes. The student learn skills which are not focused on in a tradition education set up. Getting an admission in a top school is just a by-product”.

Although it isn’t stated in the article, I assume they have run into a problem faced by many mentoring services: one-to-one mentoring simply doesn’t scale. Whether or not an AI platform can supplement or even replace the need for one-to-one mentoring certainly remains to be seen, but I’ll set my Google Alerts to track UnivAdmitHelp to follow their developing AI mentoring platform. Given the founders’ background helping entrepreneurs, and of course being entrepreneurs themselves, it seems likely that the platform they are building will help startup founders as well as aspiring college students.

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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