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Lokvani Talks To Parul Singh

Ranjani Saigal
11/08/2012

“Education has always been a great passion of mine. From my undergraduate days I always wanted to do something to improve education,” says Parul Singh, Co-Founder and CEO of Gradeable.com, a startup in the education space that focuses on make the grading process easy and effective. 

The company has won several awards and most recently was a finalist in the Mass Challenge competition. Parul Singh graduated in June from the MIT Sloan School of Management.  Prior to business school, Parul served as a product manager for video and multimedia for the New York Times and for a venture backed analytics startup. She has an AB in Government from Harvard College. 

What motivated her to become an entrepreneur? “My father is a Urologist who runs a private practice.  My mother helps run the practice. Running a private practice is a business venture.  My sister and I used to help our parents run the practice. That gave me a good feel and great excited for running a business,” says Parul. 

Parul Singh is the daughter of Rekha and Dr. Anup Singh. Dr. Anup Singh is a urologist with a private practice in Stoughton, MA.  He is a past president of IMANE, the Indian Medical Association of New England. Rekha Singh is a psychologist and medical practice manager. Rekha is the long-standing treasurer of Saheli, a organization that supports victims of domestic violence.

How did Gradeable.com get started?  “Seeing my interest in the education sector, a friend introduced me to my co-founder Dante Cassenego, who is also passionate about this sector. We decided early on to talk to teachers, understand their issues and create tools to help them.  The single biggest need that we heard about from almost all teachers was how much of a pain point grading was.  They all strongly expressed the need for an easier and less time consuming grading process that would free up their time to engage in teaching. Thus we decided to concentrate on that area and Gradeable.com was born,” says Parul.   

In its current form, Gradeable is a grading and assessment platform that allows teachers to practice data-driven instruction, effectively target their students’ needs and provide timely feedback. A smart phone, iPhone or iPad logged into the Gradeable app can take an instantaneous scan of a teacher’s assessment and analyze the data, allowing teachers to grade anywhere and at anytime. “The app presents a visual representation of the grading data analytics so that teachers, students and even parents can understand the gaps in learning and target areas for improvement,” says Parul Singh.  “We know that less time on grading for a teacher means more time with students. We know that personalized learning means better outcomes. We believe that that the future of learning is personal and we're building it,” says Parul.
 
How did her prior experience prepare her to start a company?  “Over the course of my career I have held several roles. I was a software developer before I became a product manager at New York Times.  I learned both programming and analytics, both of which is used very effectively to create our product”, says Parul.  The product is in Beta and they are currently working with teachers to help iterate the designs. The product has received a lot of positive response. 

Early on Parul enrolled in the Startup Leadership Program, a training program for founders, leaders and innovators who are, or want to be, startup CEOs, and be connected to a global network. To Parul, the Startup Leadership Program was life changing. “It’s what really made me realize that people like me were entrepreneurs and had the itch to make something,” she says.   Later she became a volunteer at the program and helped grow the program.

What does the future look like?  “I am very excited about our company. We closed on a small round of angel funding from friends and family and are really excited to work on creating an excellent product. The reception from the teachers has been very positive and that is very encouraging for us,” says Parul. 

Parul’s sister Pallavi Singh is also CEO of another very successful startup. What the parenting secret that led to such successful kids? “No TV – Monday through Friday” says Parul with a smile.  “My parents encouraged us to work hard. While there was no TV I do have plenty of hobbies. I played three sports in high school, so I love staying active. Two years ago, I did a triathlon, just to prove it to myself that I could.  I also love food and friends, and love to cook huge meals and bring a group of close people together. That just makes me happy,” says Parul. 

Lokvani wishes Parul Singh the very best of luck and we look forward to the success of Gradeable.com.  



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1.Congratulations! November 15, 2012 
2.Gradeable.com not Gradeble.com November 9, 2012neelesh 

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