#WantedlyVisits... Sohail Afiat, founder of abakino
Bridging E-learning and traditional teaching: meet abakino, tomorrow’s education platform.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Sohail Afiat, founder and creator of an inspiring startup named abakino. We met in our buzzing co-working space at WeWork Potsdamer Platz, where Sohail shared some insights into his exciting project and his plans for revolutionizing the education sector.
Wantedly: Sohail, what did you do before you started abakino?
Sohail: I actually come from a background in both education and film. While I was studying cinema at university, I also tutored students for math and test prep at a local company. I became an experienced teacher and created content, trained tutors, wrote materials and eventually entered the world of online tutoring. I was interested in how I could express some of the math concepts I was teaching with the techniques I’d learnt from filmmaking and dramaturgy - all this fused over time into the idea that became abakino.
Wantedly: So what is abakino exactly?
Sohail: abakino offers a bridge for the gap that still exists between E-learning and traditional teaching, both for asynchronous and synchronous learning. It is an automated system for producing animated education videos that are easily and continuously improvable. It’s also a way to improve content with data and the collective intelligence of teachers and students. Each of abakino’s specialized “videos” can be constantly modified and refined, leading to maximum quality over time. abakino is not going to be an education provider that competes with other educators. Instead it’s using technology to enable all education providers to enhance what they’re already doing.
Wantedly: That sounds like an incredible mission. Which users does abakino aim to serve?
Sohail: It’s really addressing the entire education market: schools, universities, private education companies, publishers - it has solutions that aim at each of these needs. We’re building a lot around academic education - if you can teach advanced mathematics online, then you can definitely also address other subjects. So we’re kind of building it around the hardest case scenario, at least when it comes to things like whiteboarding. But we’re also working on cases where companies can use it for training or peer collaboration, so it’s very broad.
Wantedly: So how do you think abakino can change the education sector?
Sohail: I think that abakino can really change the sector. On a simple level, for example, it saves teaching activity in the classroom or online and makes it possible to constantly improve and recycle that activity back into new teaching. abakino envisions real human-computer collaboration in teaching, where both sides contribute and bounce off of each other, co-evolving. The systems gets better automatically as its crowdsourced from teacher and student use that already takes place. The more it is used by teachers and students, the more it evolves with time. Ultimately it will lead to better content, better teaching, and a huge archive with enhanced searchability options. The goal isn’t to make all teaching online or digital or automated but rather to synthesize the existing trends in a truly unified experience. In-person teaching is also important - without it, you often lose non-verbal and interpersonal interaction that can help students understand and learn. So we’re trying to take the best of that and have it work with the best of technology.
Wantedly: As I’ve understood it, you’re in the process of searching for seed financing. Who are you looking for to join your team? What would they have to bring to abakino?
Sohail: Right now we have a small but talented team but there are no full-time employees. As soon as we have funding, we’ll be able to offer good salaries and recruit co-founders and employees, especially on the technical and business sides. We would like to find two co-founders that are excited about the idea and committed to the long-term. As I have around two decades of education experience behind me, I am looking for people who are genuinely experienced and concerned with education.
Wantedly: What will make working at abakino special?
Sohail: I think the biggest appeal is the chance to work on a very intellectual and creative project with lots of research and exploration into cutting-edge technology. We will be doing things in machine learning and object recognition with a focus on design that is absolutely unique in education. I think of it as a very big science project but of course a lot of thought has also gone into a business model that will make grow and be profitable. We will share ideas freely and work on something that is socially valuable.
Wantedly: That sounds very inspiring, thank you so much for this interview and all the best for abakino’s next steps!
Want to learn more about abakino and their mission?
Check out their company profile and feed to stay up-to-date with their newest projects, job opportunities and stories.