The Ed-Tech Landscape: An Entrepreneur's View

Jairaj Bhattacharya, CEO, ConveGenius GroupAn Entrepreneur passionate about solving real problems, Jairaj is working towards building an institution that will redefine how the next generation learns

EdTech is the portmanteau of the two most talked subjects in the world, Education and Technology. Undoubtedly, the huge wave of EdTech in the Indian market has gain a lot of traction in the last decade. We have seen the latter effortlessly seep into the conventional practices and make strides in the education sector.

`According to KPMG and Google India's research, the Indian Online Education is set to grow USD 1.96 billion and around 9.6 billion users by 2021 from USD 247 million and around 1.6 million users in 2016'.

The rise is inevitable because of the response received and benefits ensued by the digital tsunami in our country.

Naturally, EdTech is a very challenging industry, although it has an immense potential that can be seized by all the stakeholders in its space. While startups might find it hard to disrupt, investors seek fruitful returns on EdTech. The in-vestments have already burgeoned in the EdTech space within the last three-four years.

For an investor, EdTech is one of the biggest and most profitable sector because the education market is big. It is constant! The eco-system would always consist of the educator and the learner, but the teaching techniques and classroom methodologies would keep evolving.

Current addressable market for products like ours is worth USD 100 million, i.e., very lucrative for monetization. Although, investments in the EdTech sector have seen a decline in the year 2017 according to the data by VCCEdge, there has been a dip in investments from $269 in 2016 to US$162 in 2017. Drop was specifically seen for the early-stage EdTech startups, the reason for which being the dire need to have a scalable solution. With more than 50 EdTech startups taking a blended learning approach, the one to offer maximum scope for customizations would tangibly grow. The best bet for investors is to fund the startups already showcasing a recurring revenue history that is predictable.

To scrutinize the return for funds on EdTech, the right metric is to calculate the VOI or Value of Investment and not just the monetary returns. It incorporates RoI and the benefits accrued such as the improved engagement, and
enhanced quality. We need to embrace all the factors that add value to the education ecosystem.

Similarly, Entrepreneurship in the EdTech space comes with a set of challenges, EdTech is a battlefield for entrepreneurs. One must relentlessly focus on providing quality education, without thinking about the monetary benefits as they would eventually flow. For me as an entrepreneur, the thrust is on simply making the work easier for the educators and learners.

It simply boils down to customer-centricity and understanding the pain-points of my user. Fuelling the business by solving customer issues is the only long-term approach my organization focuses perpetually. To be in the shoes of the educator, to understand the ecosystem of the classroom, and to enhance the product capabilities accordingly.

Making Learning Accessible to One and All
In a population of 1.3 billion, the motive is not just to make learning accessible but also to deliver high-quality content, cost-effective solution, and an adaptable ecosystem! And to prove our mettle we need to provide the stakeholders with real-time data showing the out-comes, which is another big prospect of EdTech that keeps on polishing the learning experience.

The learning experience has evolved in leaps and bounds, the demand for industry relevant training has tripled and the consumption of online content is only going to escalate

In a multi-layered education system such as ours, it is crucial to find the touch-points where we can empower the educators. For an educator, EdTech or disruption is null and void unless they can foresee an enabling tool in their classroom.

For the early-stage entrepreneurs, pervade the unexplored! They need to stretch their dollars in a potent way by focusing on the less evolved practices and strategies. It must be progressive and must cater to the current requirements. For example, there is a stark difference between the educational qualifications of rural and urban population as stated in the KPMG Report. In-stead of building a high-end product, you could make an average product accessible at the deprived locations.

EdTech is transformational be-cause it seconds what the teacher teaches in the classroom, enhances what the learner learns, and is capable of giving instant feedbacks and actionable data insights.

The two factors as stated in the KPMG research report, that would hugely influence the growth of the market are –

i) Quality Educational content
ii) Quality learning experiences in tier-1 and tier-2 cities.

Keeping both in mind, the EdTech ecosystem should be able to develop sustainable livelihoods for the learners, as Education is the prime goal for most in India.

The challenge for educators now is to automate the processes and solely focus on raising the quality of education. This is exactly the opportunity entrepreneurs need to seize.

Despite the surge in the number of edtech startups and innovations, EdTech is still at its infancy stage. Out of the dozens of solutions in the market, we aspire a solution that addresses the needs of the underserved and constantly tailor the teaching-learning experience. The learning experience has evolved in leaps and bounds, the demand for industry relevant training has tripled and the consumption of online content is only going to escalate. So to sum up, disruptive innovation is the key! We need to make education not only affordable, accessible, but also acceptable, and adaptable to suit each one's diverse needs.