Image: (from left)Ishaan Preet Singh: Raghav Sharma for Forbes India; Mikhil Raj: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan for Forbes India
Ishaan Preet Singh | 28Mikhil Raj | 28Co-founders, FrontRow
How would it be if you could learn batting from Suresh Raina, or spin bowling from Yuzvendra Chahal, or singing from Neha Kakkar, at less than ₹500 each. That’s exactly what IIT-Delhi graduates Ishaan Preet Singh and Mikhil Raj are offering with their online education platform FrontRow.
Singh and Raj teamed up with their friend Shubhadit Sharma (who, at 30, just missed the cut), and started building the venture last year. Their app has had over 100,000 downloads on the Google Play Store. Users create an account on the app or on FrontRow’s website and buy the pre-recorded lesson-videos. Over 10,000 users have paid to download from among the five courses currently live.
The concept isn’t new and one of the best-known such platforms is San-Francisco-based MasterClass, with heavyweights such as Margaret Atwood teaching creative writing, Gordon Ramsay teaching cooking and Natalie Portman teaching acting. MasterClass can be accessed online from India too, but is much more expensive.
Singh decided the world of business and how people make money was far more fascinating than teaching computer science, which he studied. Raj built and sold a software product even as he was completing college.
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The trio has got backers, including Lightspeed India Partners, where Singh worked before starting FrontRow, and actor Deepika Padukone’s family office. “We want to become the daily learning destination for 10 million people in India,” Singh says. Beyond the courses, FrontRow offers practice sessions, Q&As, competitions and a community of learners. “If you are pursuing your passion, we want that you open FrontRow and get better everyday.”
FrontRow sits at the intersection of education, entertainment and community, says Akshay Bhushan, a partner at Lightspeed. “And its founders stand out for their strong nose for consumer behaviour and natural product instincts. Influencers and celebrities and the associated ‘passion economy’ in India will grow rapidly,” he says.
(This story appears in the 12 February, 2021 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)