2016 – Is It the Year of the EdTech Marketplace?


2016 – Is It the Year of the EdTech Marketplace?

EdTech is a growing industry, with increasing profits on investments in just a few years. Edtech is emerging as the panacea for problems with the existing education scenario and is changing the face of education.

Edtech is coming under the radar of every investors and venture capital, which can be seen from the significant funding they have been receiving lately. The potential for disruption of the subcontinent’s education system is huge but most of the innovation is hampered by regulatory restrictions. But we are observing companies which are bringing in disruption with Edtech and wide acceptability of new technology in the Education industry. We do have high hopes for edtech companies in 2016 and predict that this year is going to be Year of the Edtech Marketplaces.

Education being the top 3 sector where India spends most of its household income, we can expect more and more companies to come up with new ideas and tools to democratize education and make it more accessible. The Indian Edtech market is currently estimated over $20 billion and expected to grow to $40 billion by 2017. 

Let us have a look at few Education Technology Marketplace companies which have shown the most significant innovation and growth in the previous years and you should keep your eyes on.

1. EduKart

Business model: EduKart is an Indian higher education enrolment platform that offers students, various programs such as MBA, Executive MBA, MCA, MSc IT, MA, M.Com, BA, B.Com BBA, BCA and BSc IT through a marketplace model. These courses are available in distance learning mode and the online courses are offered by premium course providers. Edukart also offers industry relevant certificate courses in areas of retail, finance, telecom, digital marketing, programming languages, project management, and IT.

USP: While on one hand, EduKart has been successful in helping students and parents make informed education-related decisions, on the other hand, it has given various course providers a platform to expand their reach to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities across India. Its services like dedicated counselling support and flexible payment options are establishing the company as a go-to destination for figuring out one’s educational needs.

Core Team: Edukart is co-founded by Ishan Gupta, a Stanford University (USA) alumnus, and Mayank Gupta, a graduate of Indian Institute of Management. While Mayank had earlier worked in Educomp, StudyPlaces.com, IBM and Bank of America, Ishan was an ex-Facebook employee and an early Paytm team member. Their strong pedigree obviously helped them bring-in some of the best practices and latest technologies to the organization.

Fundings:  EduKart secured USD 500,000 in funding from a consortium of early-stage institutional and angel investors and has raised USD 1 million from Holostik Group’s United Finsec (family office arm), Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan Ventures and 500 Startups. Till date, EduKart has raised angel funding of about $2 million (Rs. 12.8 crore).

Investors: Group’s United Finsec, YouWeCan Ventures, 500 Startups, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Manish Kheterpal, Amit Patni and Arihant Patni, and Stanford Business School’s alumni Angels.

2. CareerGuide

Business model: CareerGuide.com is one stop destination to find answers to career questions of a student. It is the largest marketplace of career counsellors of India with over 500 career experts listed at the time of writing this article. Here students are offered Psychometric tests, one to one career counselling and knowledge-base of career questions. The company boasts use of Artificial Intelligence and NLP to match career experts to a student and I have found the system to be fairly accurate in determining the topic of questions I’ve tried and showed me the right experts depending on my queries.  It instantly connects you to the right career counsellor for a one to one session. Post the conversation, you hear your recordings and rate the counsellor via a five star rating system (similar to the Uber system), thereby assuring the best quality counselling.  

USP: Instant connect (no waiting, no scheduling) with career counsellors is the most attractive feature, following which the ease of use which is made no-brainer made possible by use of AI is CareerGuide’s USP. One certainly need to take their career tests or browse through their career knowledge-base to take the right career decisions. If you have any questions or doubt regarding any aspect of your career, just login and ask your question.

Core Team: CareerGuide is founded by Surabhi Dewra, EEE from BITS Pilani, alongwith Love Chopra, BE IT from NRIITM Gwalior. While Surabhi has previously worked with Freescale Semiconductors, Love is an ex-employee of Crawford & Co and CSC (USA) and Paragon IT Services (India). The core team has recently included Amarjeet Sharma, a seasoned digital marketer formerly associated with WizIQ, Gaadi, PayPal, IndiaToday, InfoEdge, SugarCRM and Shopify. The collective technological background and marketing experience of the team has definitely been a great advantage in creating disruption in education.

Fundings: Undisclosed

Investors: Ronnie Screwvala, Vishal Gondal, Rajesh Tekriwal

3. Simplilearn

Business model: Simplilearn is a marketplace which provides professionals across the globe with certification training courses that help them realize their dreams.  They create course programs, exams, and labs that help in cracking the certification exams. They offer a blended model of training, which provides their customers with the optimal learning experience. They constantly improve learning frameworks to make them more user-friendly. Simultaneously, they upgrade their courses to ensure their learners are up- to-date.  

USP:

  •    Instructor-led Classroom Training
  •    Online Self-Learning

Core Team: Krishna Kumar, BE EC from NIT, Karnataka, founded Simplilearn in 2010. Earlier, Krishna was Co-founder & COO of TechUnified, which got acquired by a public listed company, Org informatics Ltd.

Fundings:  In 2013, the company had acquired a US-based SAP training organization, adding SAP training to its programs and also raised USD 10 million in series B round led by Helion Venture Partners and its existing investor Kalaari Capital. Further, in 2015, Simplilearn raised $15 million in Series C funding.

In June 2015, they acquired a US based digital marketing training company Market Motive for $10 Million. Although Market Motive will work as an independent part of Simplilearn.

Investors: Helion Venture Partners, Kalaari Capital, Mayfield Fund

4. Purple Squirrel Edventures

Business model:Purple Squirrel Eduventures is online marketplace for supplementary education aiming to make individualized industry-driven learning accessible to all. The Mumbai-based, SINE IIT-Bombay incubated start-up, facilitates industry visits, workshops and projects for students across all streams. Purple Squirrel has a unique business model and targets a large, underserved market. 

USP: Engineering, Management, Arts & Media, Sciences & History, Industrial Visits, Educational Tours, Infotainment and Team Building Activities, Industry Exposure, Exclusive Academic Modules, Startup Heritage Walks ET Startup Awards (2015) - Best on Campus. The organisation has been connecting students with industry partners for field trips, workshops, and hands-on experiences.

Core Team: Aditya Gandhi, alumni of IIT Bombay, and Sahiba Dhandhania of Christ University, Bangalore, founded PurpleSq.

Fundings: has raised an undisclosed amount in a second round of VC funding led by Matrix Partners India.

Investors: Matrix Partners India

5. SuperProfs

Business model: SuperProfs is marketplace for Exam Preparation with over 2 lakh+ registered students, 250+ HD quality video courses, 100+ professors, currently covering exams like CA, CS, CMA, GATE, UPSC, Banking and IIT-JEE. They provide unlimited access to the most reputed Professors by streaming their classes online which can be viewed multiple times, 24x7, anytime anywhere.

USP: Students have access to qualified professors for various entrance exams online, so that they can prepare for these exams conveniently, anywhere, anytime, without having to relocate to another city or commute

Core Team: Piyush Agrawal and Sujeet Kumar both alumni of IIT Kanpur founded Superprofs.

Fundings:  $3 Million from venture capital firms Kalaari Capital and IDG Ventures India.

Investors: Kalaari Capital, IDG Ventures India, Indian Angel Network

6. Learnof

Business model: Learnof.com is an online courses aggregator marketplace. They have built a very easy to use interface to discover new courses & trainings matching students’ skill sets and profession. Learnof is an information discovery platform that offers end to end services tailored around the needs of education providers, corporate and knowledge seekers through on-campus, part-time and online.

USP: Their USP is that they have all the information that an individual needs to decide their next course-i.e.  Course syllabus, content, starting and ending date, duration, contact details etc.

Core Team: Learnof is founded by Joby Joseph

Fundings/Investors: N/A

Edutech companies are endlessly finding fresh solutions to make education more accessible and reasonable to all. The education technology space is set to grow to $40 billion by 2017 and there is a huge possibility for different niche opportunities to be explored. Globally, the quality of education has usually been proportional to the quality of teachers imparting the course. However, with the introduction of technology, that equation is being questioned. Improved bandwidth and inexpensive hardware allows Edutech companies to deliver superior education to consumers in an independent manner.

The possible disruption and extensive influence that modern ways to education can have on India's overall development has not been seen broadly as yet, but, 2016 is likely be the year when the so called "disruption" will also start making the impact we want to see.

 

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About the Author
Author: Lakshmi Kompella
Lakshmi Kompella is a Post Graduate in Computer Applications, with diverse and varied experience in IT consulting Organizations, Media Houses, Start-up organizations. “Albert Einstein's 'Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school” is her mantra and she pursues knowledge relentlessly.

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