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The concept behind his edtech startup originated after Chintu Varghese, ’07 (EXP-12), and his wife, Rema, devised a tailored learning method for their sons, who were preparing for their secondary-school entrance exams in the United Kingdom. They realized the broader potential for the concept, and the idea behind TabbieMe was born.

The pair built a prototype of the digital learning platform, and Varghese pitched it to GEMS Education in the United Arab Emirates. Encouraged by the feedback from participating schools, they cofounded TabbieMe with the vision of enhancing learning and accelerating student outcomes.

At the time, Varghese was recruiting for UBS’s quantitative modeling team in India. What he observed further strengthened his conviction about the potential of TabbieMe: graduates he met from top-tier universities had impressive problem-solving abilities, but they had attained their positions through intense coaching in their later academic years, driven by fierce competition for admission. This had left a significant skills gap between those who had access to coaching camps and those who didn’t.

Varghese saw an opportunity to scale across schools in India: “We believed that by implementing our approach through a structured digital learning program, we could provide students with a stronger foundation, easing their path to competing for admission to top-tier universities.”

Collaborating with more than 90 teachers in various parts of India, they launched TabbieMath, a version of their platform, in 2019, blending teacher-guided instruction with personalized, self-guided learning. TabbieMath received excellent feedback from early users in India, the UAE, and Qatar. “This further cemented my confidence to leave UBS and focus full time on Tabbie,” Varghese says.

“We believed that ... we could provide students with a stronger foundation, easing their path to competing for admission to top-tier universities.”

— Chintu Varghese

To scale the business, he approached fellow Booth graduates from the Executive MBA Program Europe. His classmates not only supported the initiative but also provided the lion’s share of the £1.5 million pre-seed investment, helping turn the concept into a viable and marketable educational resource.

Over the course of five years, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, TabbieMe has progressed to forge partnerships with more than 250 schools in India, the UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar. In 2022, the company joined forces with India’s Army Welfare Education Society through a memorandum of understanding, showcasing its ability to foster significant improvements in math-education outcomes.

“The growth potential is truly phenomenal,” says Varghese, who currently serves as the company’s CEO. He points to a collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank that is opening doors for expansion into the Philippines and Thailand for the company’s next phase, followed by Kenya and Tanzania in Phase Three.

Varghese cites UNESCO data indicating that nearly 800 million students worldwide have yet to achieve proficiency in math and reading. This number, he says, underscores the vast potential TabbieMe has to make even more of an impact.