Founders' and Investors' Inputs On "Rapid Rise In India EdTech: Current State and Future"

Which EdTech segments are attracting investors?

Sarvesh Kanodia of Omidyar says that opportunities are emerging in the field of life skills; academics are not the only focus anymore. The B2C K12-EdTech space has seen innovations and investment, but early-learning is yet untapped, as are B2B and B2B2C in the segment. This is due to the lack of technology adoption from institutions. Now that institutions have been forced to adopt new technology post the pandemic, Sarvesh predicts that there is likely going to be a lot more investment in B2B with the potential for creating large B2B companies.

For post-K12, Sarvesh has seen high quality alternate programs which are creating a lively investment space. He also expects the EdTech funding-challenge to be solved given the mounting investor interest, even from previously uninterested parties. And that change is just the tip of the iceberg.

How is the market situation and geographic penetration? How did companies adapt to changes in recent times?

Toppr saw marginal revenue increase since the COVID-19 outbreak, but exponential increase in the number of users, according to Zishaan Hayath. Toppr currently has 30 million monthly active users in 2020 in comparison to a mere 4 million monthly users in 2019. This massive increase, although helped by the pandemic, Zishaan attributes to the growing Indian internet market and trends.

Toppr’s reach is ‘deeper’ than ever. Zishaan says that 60% of their users were from metro cities and 40% of those were from Tier 2 cities until last year. As of the day of the webinar, Tier 1 city traffic on their platform is less than 30%, while Tier 3 city traffic is more than 45%.

EdTech startups and disruption stats

Omidyar mentioned how India has 85% of users from Tier 2 cities and beyond, providing a great opportunity for EdTech entrepreneurs. Sarvesh also mentioned the inadequate quality of offline solutions especially in Tier 2 cities and beyond. The Next Half Billion, according to Sarvesh, are users who are coming online for the first time. These are users who have bought a phone for the first-time during lockdown and want to continue the free online education they found. For these new users, engagement needs to be designed differently, especially when it comes to the school-age segment; he believes assisted learning, instant doubt resolution, and student communities are the key elements.

EdTech companies need to bring learner communities online; communities that the learner feels comfortable learning with, be it friends, family, or peers. There’s a dire need to focus on all the aspects of providing students with a comprehensive system of learning.

Coding Ninjas reported rising revenues. Though, Dhawal Parate added that COVID-19’s complete positive impact is yet to be seen in the college market. Much like the rest of the world, Coding Ninjas’ future plans were preponed due to the COVID-19 digital-adoption acceleration. Coding Ninjas tracks students’ geography according to the locality of colleges. But since students have left for their homes, their penetration in Tier 3 cities has increased, although the largest uptake is still from Tier 1 and Tier 2 city colleges.

Sunil P P from AISPL was extremely positive that it took only 8 months to achieve digitalization when the world had been striving for it for 20 years. According to him, the successful digitalization is evident from sector-wide rise in the number of users (K12, HigherEd, Govt., Skilling/Reskilling). Whether money follows the same trail is to be seen.

Watch the webinar recording

They were approached by the Delhi Govt. to come up with solutions for the benefit of public schools in Delhi. AWS customer Career Launcher stepped in and created a complete online learning module and helped 900 schools and 1.9 lakh children go online for education through project aspiration. Earlier in March, they also saw a million student users in eight weeks on their live-class platform which they had started in collaboration with their Bengaluru EdTech partner. They also trained 54000 teachers, most of which were first time users of virtual classes. Similar scenarios in Tier 2 and 3 cities are driving the EdTech sector growth and learning.

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