In the last three months, edtech ventures have garnered USD 686.32 million in 21 funding rounds, a marked improvement from 450 million in 87 rounds in 2019, according to analytics firm, Tracxn.
And with the shutdown enforced by the Indian government to control the spread of coronavirus(covid-19), the education system in India is undergoing a paradigm shift. Much of the country’s $180 billion education sector is going online to adapt to the new reality.
Poised to reach USD 1.96 billion by 2021, India has a current user base of around 9.6 million. This is a trend which many edtech venture capital firms are looking closely at, as seen by the significant investments in the sector in India.
Educational institutions are introducing online courses and some education technology startups are temporarily offering free classes to make up for the loss of teaching in schools.
Byju’s, for instance, announced free access to its learning app in March 2020, and post the lockdown, this app has experienced a 60% surge in students using its products.
According to a Google-KPMG report, the online tutoring market is expected to grow dramatically in the next two years to around 10 million users.
Here are some promising edtech startups that are reshaping the education sector of India.
Poland-based Brainly was founded in 2009 by Michal Borkowski, Lukasz Haluch, and Tomasz Kraus. The startup not just focuses on cracking puzzling questions but also on sharing ideas, deepening insights, and exploring knowledge.
The platform helps students with curriculum-related specific questions, unlike most edtech startups in India that only focus on test preparation and personalised learning programmes.
Students connect with their peers to strengthen their skills in mathematics, science, history, among others. A question from a Class 10 student can be answered by another 10th grader or 12th grader.
Brainly is now present in more than 35 countries, and has over 150 million active users globally. Claiming to be the world’s largest social learning community for students, it reports more than 15 million active users in India.
In 2019, Brainly has raised USD 30 million in its new funding round led by Naspers with participation from Runa Capital and Manta Ray. The latest investment brings the total funding received by the edtech platform to date up to US 68.5 million. It raised US 38.5 million in Series B round from seven investors, including Naspers, which also funded India’s first edtech unicorn BYJU’s.
The Polish startup says it has witnessed 200 percent annual growth since it entered India in 2016 and claims to be the number one education website in India, in terms of the number of visits it gets.
Launched in 2015 by Byju Raveendran, Byju’s – The Learning App, is a learning app for students across age groups with programmes in English and Hindi that make learning and understanding concepts easier for school kids.
The platform mainly focuses on math and science, and the concepts are explained using 12-20 minute digital animated videos. With 35 million registered students and 2.4 million annual paid subscriptions, Byju’s app is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
It is used by students every day from more than 1,700 cities. The average time a student spends on the app has increased from 64 minutes to 71 minutes over the last 12 months. At present, the startup is one of the few Indian companies that has witnessed 100 percent growth in three consecutive years. In FY19, it recorded a massive 200 percent growth.
In January 2020, Byju’s said it had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from General Atlantic, an existing investor in the company. While Byju’s did not disclose the quantum of investment, sources said General Atlantic has pumped in USD 200 million into the company. Right before that, in late 2019, Tiger Global infused around USD 200 million in the startup, at a valuation of around USD 8 billion, making it the third-most valued Indian unicorn.
Previously, it has raised funding from Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital India, Sofina, Verlinvest, Tencent and Owl Ventures, among others.
Mumbai-based Toppr offers its personalised learning app for students studying for boards, Olympiads, various engineering, commerce, and medical competitive exams. It provides students access to 24×7 e-learning, solving doubts, and personalised coaching from quality educational professionals across the country.
After having made a name in the online test preparation space, Toppr also started focusing on junior and senior grades (Classes 5 to 12), which form the largest chunk of India’s student population. Six years since inception, the edtech startup also offers courses catering to 25 schools, from ICSE and CBSE to several state boards..
From just 40,000 pieces of content in 2013 to two million pieces of learning material now, Toppr aims to reach three million by the end of 2020. It has solved more than four million doubts, and more than three million tests have been taken on its platform.
Toppr has raised over USD 58 million in venture capital since 2015. Its most recent funding was a Series C round in December 2018, when it raised USD 35 million led by Kaizen PE, Alteria Capital and Brand Capital. Its other investors include SAIF Partners, Helion Ventures, and Eight Roads Ventures.
With online education slowly becoming the most important after higher education, K-12 classrooms are equally gaining attention. To help children make the most out of it, mother-son duo Anuradha Pradhan and Abhinav Pradhan started Myedubag in 2015. The edtech platform focuses on providing an integrated one-stop solution for students in the K-12 segment (kindergarten to Class 12).
The Delhi-based startup provides academic and non-academic study material in the form of audio-visual and text content. It also sells textbooks and provides complimentary counselling to students, parents, and teachers.
A bootstrapped organisation, Myedubag initially was only an online platform to sell school books. Its e- commerce model was in testing mode until 2018. Today, the startup is not hesitant to raise funds.
Currently, it has up to 400 students on its platform. Myedubag also helps parents pay school fees online. While books are sold at discounted prices, e-learning is provided on a subscription basis at prices ranging between Rs 500 and Rs 5,000 per year.
Myedubag also provides language learning content for non-academic users. The content is conceptualised by academicians and professionals from IITs, IIMs, and teachers from other schools. The platform also offers a foundation course for IIT-JEE aspirants.
Started in 2015 by Shobhit Bhatnagar, Sanjeev Kumar, and Vibhu Bhushan, Gradeup helps more than 18 million exam aspirants prepare effectively for competitive examinations like JEE, NEET, GATE, IBPS, SSC, TET, UPSC, among others.
Gradeup’s main offering is Gradeup Classroom, which provides live courses from faculties across India. The programme also engages students through live classes, interactive quizzes, mock tests, 24×7 mentorship, among others.
The exam preparation platform, Gradeup had received USD 7 million in Series A funding from Times Internet. This is the second fundraiser for Gradeup in 2019, which has now raised USD 10 million in total.
Gradeup’s platform also includes exam-specific communities, which enable students to interact with fellow peers and mentors, ask questions, share updates, and access free study material.
According to Gradeup, they expect the number of enrollments to touch 60,000 students by the end of 2020, and cross 150,000 by the end of 2021.
Online education in India has seen active growth over the last decade. The factors that have led to this growth are better telecom and internet bandwidths across India leading to growth in the usage of smartphones and hand-held devices, advancement in video conferencing technologies, advent of technology platforms for seamless transfers, and an ever-increasing need for convenient education.
With coronavirus forcing schools and universities to adopt online learning, the edtech sector is surely going to receive a further impetus!
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