A story of digitisation and how the post covid scene is going to be in the Indian ed-tech sector
Indian edtech sector is seeing a massive boom amidst the coronavirus lockdown. Edtech startups have still managed to get funding amidst the coronavirus lockdown. A country like India where education is the topmost priority, this boom in the edtech space says a lot about the shifting of mindset and new opportunities in the education scenery in India.
The edtech scene in India: The next unicorn from India will not be an e-commerce giant but will be from the edtech sector. India has seen the first unicorn from the edtech space in the name of Byju’s. Bijyu’s is a household name now with a valuation of $10.5 dollars becoming the world's largest education technology company at present. Other players are also in the scene following the footsteps of Byjus. Topper.com, Vedantu, Embibe, Simplilearn, Cuemath, Unacademy and many more are in the list. Byju’s is mostly focussed on interactive learning contents, Topper.com was an exam preparation startup whereas Vedantu was started as an online teaching channel, Simplilearn was started as a blog which later was converted into a startup, Unacademy, initially started as a youtube channel by Gaurav Munjal is now the biggest player after Byju’s in the edtech scene. Introduced as an educators platform, Unacademy offers courses ranging from Jee preparation to civil service courses.
During the last four months of lockdown, the edtech space has noticed an exponential growth in terms of traffic and revenue. Almost all schools, colleges and coachings are under shutdown left no option for students than to shift to these online platforms. Schools and colleges are also opting for online classes now.
Gaurav Munjal, the co-founder and ceo of Unacademy in an interview to a news portal said that his startup has recorded 3X growth in revenue, watch time and views in the month of April itself. Vedantu, an online learning platform has reported a growth by 6.5 lakhs of new subscribers after the start of lockdown.
Amidst this time of pandemic, where startups have been affected a lot in terms of revenue which led to a serious concern about investments from VC firms, Byju’s has managed to raise a new round of funding from BOND increasing its valuation to $10.5 billion. At present Byju’s have 58 millions of registered users on its portal.Unacademy too is in the process of acquisition of two very unique startups in the edtech scene, Proladder and Codeshef.
Embibe, an AI powered edtech platform has recently been acquired by Reliance Industries Ltd.
These giants are based in metro cities of the country whereas most of its traffic is being observed from the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of the country. Some of the startups are now focusing on the audience from these cities by changing a little on their business models.
Startups working in skill development, personality training, vocational training and other creative teaching platforms will see a tremendous growth in coming days.
How the post covid scene is going to be for the Indian edtech startups:
Education technology platforms were always a luxury for Indian students. Students always used these platforms as a secondary medium of learning whereas primary focus was always on the offline coaching centres and schools. The K-12 and post K-12 sceneries are completely different from each other. Post K-12 including the competitive exam preparation is now tending to get inclined more towards the online sector. Though the K-12 scene is also being introduced to online mediums, still a high number of schools are far away from its reach. Besides metro cities and some tier 2 cities of the country, the majority portion of students are far away from the benefits of these online portals.
One of the major challenges the Indian education system is facing is the teacher to students ratio. As per government reports the ratio is 1: 30 which is very poor even lower than countries like Brazil (the ratio is 1:26). Online media of learning is a great option to provide quality contents of education to the most remote location of the country using minimum infrastructure.
Though the schools, colleges and offline coachings will be normalised after the pandemic phase, the traffic and views on the online portals will slightly get affected by it as the majority of students will still use these platforms as their secondary medium of learning. A high number of students mostly from the post K-12 and coaching scene are going to use these platforms as their primary tool of learning.
Major traffic will come from the coaching scene as offline coaching is going to get affected a lot. Whereas the K-12 scene will be almost the same as schools will reopen after lockdown.
What the startups can do: This is the biggest opportunity for the edtech startups in India. They must do everything possible to retain the students registered for their platforms. Cost is a big factor in Indian middle class society. If these startups offer services at very low cost maintaining the quality of their contents, there is no chance of decrease in traffic and revenue of these startups.
Startups focussing on skill development,vocational training and other online professional courses will be the most beneficial. As recession is underway and a high number of layoffs are going to happen, people will opt for platforms where they can earn money by selling their services and skills.
Conclusion: In a country like India, shifting of mindset takes time from the traditional to a new one. Still a big opportunity for the edtech startups to increase their market share, growth and to add high value to the society.