Imagine having a little study buddy who took your exam materials and made a series of review flashcards for you to study for your tests and exams. This is essentially what AceIt’s AI chatbot Quizzy does for you — an early-stage, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered service geared toward students in K–12 classrooms.

AceIt is the creation of fourth-year U of T student Jai Mansukhani studying computational cognition. Mansukhani told The Varsity in an interview that he co-founded AceIt with the vision of transforming learning experiences. Other team members include fifth-year student Alexander Yoshino, a computer science specialist at U of T, and Pashan Sidhwa, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Waterloo.

Riding the AI startup wave

Mansukhani described that his inspiration behind AceIt’s design came from observing K–12 classrooms and seeing the shortcomings of how teachers communicated with their students. He recounted that teachers would “dump semesters [of] content on a student” and frequently reuse the same content in their lessons. 

“There is never really a support system for people who actually want to stay engaged with their lesson. It’s like cookie-cutter learning, basically,” he said. 

In response, Mansukhani and his team made Quizzy, the core feature of AceIt. Quizzy is an AI chatbot aiming to tailor study materials to individual users’ specific needs.

“There are a lot of competitors in this space because generative AI is a big trend,” Mansukhani said. He noted a lot of tech companies are implementing AI into their services. Indeed, Mansukhani recounted that the idea for Quizzy came about because chatbots were “booming” then. 

To differentiate AceIt from the competition, Mansukhani emphasized that AceIt focuses on the “personal component” — he noted that the content Quizzy generates for users is primarily based on user prompts and must fit the user’s individual requirements. 

Navigating entrepreneurship and full-time studies

“Sometimes [potential investors] ask, ‘You’re a full-time student. How do you expect to run a business at the same time?’” Mansukhani recalled. He described that while he and his team like to say they work on AceIt full-time, this is not always possible. 

While he said he understands this skepticism, Mansukhani described his strategies for navigating his dual life effectively. First of all, he plans out his schedule one to two weeks in advance. “I try to stay up to date and finish everything as quickly as possible. So I don’t have the stress component,” he said. 

AceIt has partnered with business incubators hosted by various universities, such as Toronto Metropolitan University’s DMZ, Waterloo’s Velocity, and U of T’s InnovED. Mansukhani noted that AceIt has received some grants and sponsorships in the past, and is “always on the lookout” for more. 

The team has started testing AceIt at Beverly Public School and an after-school coding academy, which are both in downtown Toronto.

“Seeing [students] use it is like… it didn’t even seem real the first time it happened,” Mansukhani recalled. “I feel like when you work on something for eight or nine months, and you see it physically being used somewhere, that’s the coolest thing ever.”