E-Learning company iProf Learning Solutions, which offers a personal education tablet device and runs a chain of Wi-Fi-enabled e-learning centers across India, has launched an online service, TheDigiLibrary.com, which offers free education content including video lectures, animation, notes, and other interactive content, in addition to premium services like 24X7 teaching assistance and home delivery of content on tablets and memory cards.

The company says it has invested about $1 million in the venture. The service would offer content for entrance exam coaching for IIT JEE, AIPMT, CAT, Civil Services courseware, CBSE 11th Medical and non medical sections, CBSE 12th Medical and Non Medical, ICSE 10th Science and Maths, and English Speaking. iProf intends to add more course modules including vocational courses. The course content is available in English and Hindi languages, but iProf intends to also make it available in South Indian languages by the end of this financial year. The company has hired 100 call center executives to offer telephonic assistance to students.

The service offers close to 6,000 videos, and aims to expand it to 25,000 videos by the end of March 2013. While videos are offered free of charge, teaching assistance through call centres and video conferencing, and physical delivery of course videos via SD cards would be offered under different price plans. The company is using IBM’s WebSphere solution for content delivery and management.

Tablets: iProf also offers an app for Android tablets that allows users to stream video content. The company will also offer bundled plans with tablets for which it has tied-up with device makers like HCL, Karbonn, and others. iProf runs a chain of 40 Wi-Fi-enabled e-learning centers across India, which, according to the company’s founder and CEO, Sanjay Purohit, would continue to operate and will showcase its solutions in addition to being touch-points. However, The DigiLibrary will now become the company’s flagship offering.

Tie-up with schools: iProf has tie-ups with 40 schools, wherein it offers premium services to students, after their regular school hours. The company clarified that it does offer discounts to schools on bulk sign-ups. School faculty can also sign-up and volunteer for lessons and assistance.

Funding: In April 2011, iProf had raised Rs.22 Crores in Series A funding from Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) and IDG Ventures India (IDGVI) and according to an annual report filed by them, iProf had reported a net loss (before tax) of Rs 78.83 lakhs for the financial year ended 31st March 2010, with the total turnover being 17.95 lakhs.

We feel that the idea of keeping educational content free, is commendable. The company seems to be making a considerable  investment in putting together course videos. Monetising the service via keeping personal assistance and offline videos looks interesting. However, it remains to be seen if the company would find many takers for the paid services, specially when students are already spending on coaching classes and material.