July 21, 2023

Sneha Biswas’ Startup “Early Steps Academy” is Revolutionizing What and How Students Learn in the 21st Century 

IITKGP Foundation 

Sneha Biswas, an IITKGP (B.Tech/2010) and Harvard Business School graduate, grew up in Jamshedpur, a small town in Eastern India. She credits the 200+ awards that she won in debates and international competitions to her mother's push to make her read books, follow the news, and frequently talk in front of people in different situations. While these early experiences helped her achieve success in global settings, it deeply disturbed her that globally many of her brilliant friends could not find great jobs or stagnated in their career. Working across the USA, Africa, London and India, Sneha saw that smart people who lacked the training or knowledge to think and communicate confidently found it difficult to navigate in the real world, ultimately not reaching their full potential. With this pain in her heart and a desire to make education relevant (useful) and engaging (fun!), in January 2021, she quit her high-paying consultancy job in the US to build her own education tech startup based in Bangalore, Early Steps Academy. On the very same day, her husband, too, quit his job with McKinsey – also to work on his start-up. In a LinkedIn post, Biswas, who used to work at Bain & Company, spoke about what living in a “family of founders” entails and what drove them to give up their lucrative careers for the competitive world of start-ups.


Offering 1000+ subjects in areas like space, cryptocurrency, entrepreneurship, climate, and finance, on which structured thinking and effective communication are developed, Early Steps Academy is the mandatory second-school for children worldwide. With students from 47 countries, Early Steps Academy conducts its program as a small group of online live sessions for students ages 8-18.  Sneha Biswas, is quoted as saying that she and her husband were inspired by Harvard’s mission of making a difference. Having had the privilege of education and work experience from some of the top places in the world, Biswas said she felt it was almost her responsibility to give back. As an engineering student at IIT Kharagpur and working in different countries, Sneha noted that academic excellence alone could only take one “so far.”  Sneha says, "When I went to Kharagpur, I saw the difference for the first time. Everyone has taken the same test and process and is either as smart or smarter than you. So, what you bring outside the academy makes the difference." Sneha truly believes that “Learning happens when you travel and interact socially. To bring them back from this loss, now more than ever you need accelerated learning programmes focused on active discussion to catch up on what is happening in the real world.”


According to AP News, in November 2021, Early Steps Academy raised $1.2 million seed capital from BEENEXT, Whiteboard Capital and Taurus Ventures. The startup is also among the 15 startups in the first cohort of Sequoia Spark, a $100,000 equity-free grant and mentorship program in India.


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