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EdTech Start-up Business: Scope & Opportunity in India

The start-up of EdTech or Educational Technology was quite simple. Computers helped in teaching arithmetic and some grammar to young school students. The concept was elementary. And it happened long before the internet had invaded our home. With the internet, modern devices and highly sophisticated software available at every nook & corner

By Gaurav Rawat

EdTech Startup

The start-up of EdTech or Educational Technology was quite simple. Computers helped in teaching arithmetic and some grammar to young school students. The concept was elementary. And it happened long before the internet had invaded our home.

With the internet, modern devices and highly sophisticated software available at every nook & corner of even the semi-developed cities in India. Now, the scope of reach of education has widened like never before. The impact of Edtech on education, society in general, is amazing. And this sector as a business opportunity is within the grasp of all aspiring start-ups.

What is EdTech?

“A picture is worth a Thousand words.”

With technology being introduced in the field of education, you would find audios, videos and 3D animation, instead of that Picture. This has made learning far more dynamic and interactive.

To define simply, any technology that supports education is EdTech.

Today, we don’t imagine school as only a blackboard, a teacher and some desks. Present day student receives and uploads homework assignments on the school portal. The rise in EdTech start-up has meant that they can practice Mathematics online, understand the Biology images using 3D techniques. Quick and accurate checks help in enhancing the performance of the students. Such has been the rise in educational technology.

The true essence of EdTech lies in using technological advances to improve the education system. It facilitates learning and improves performance by creating and managing appropriate technology tools.

EdTech Start-ups have changed Learning to e-Learning.

Scope of EdTech Start-up

When every moment of our daily life is being shaped by technology, then how can education be any different? Technology is making a huge impact in the field of education as well.

Over the past few years, you must have noticed the immense growth of EdTech start-up. The companies which started-up in EdTech, even a few years ago, have gained ground. They have managed to touch unfathomable heights in business.

A leading example is BYJU’s, the EdTech and Online Tutoring Firm started up in 2011. In March 2019, it was the world’s most valued EdTech company at $5.4 billion (Rs 37,000 crore), according to Wikipedia.

Due to all these developments, people are finding it worth to invest in this innovative new concept.

EdTech start-ups are transforming lives and reinventing businesses.

To provide more data and numbers:

  1. India stands at 145 out of the 191 countries on the Education Index, as per UN,
  2. Its rank is 168 out of 234 countries as per UNESCO with a literacy rate of 72%,
  3. India is ranked at 72 out of the 73 countries considered by OECD.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, this data might mean an exciting opportunity for you.

Scope in India

“We, Indians have always had a fixation with education.”

Any country’s education needs can be met by the government up to a certain level. Unless innovation is introduced, all systems end up eventually. This is where entrepreneurship comes in. To bring a freshness of ideas into the system. India has a whole industry in education. In waiting for entrepreneurs to take advantage of their opportunities.

In the year 2016, the Indian Education Industry was valued at $100 billion. This is expected to almost double by 2020 to $180 billion. The increase in literacy rate and digital learning would be instrumental in this growth. EdTech itself was estimated at $2 billion. The School segment consists of primary and secondary school education. This forms 52% of the education industry. This segment offers the biggest opportunities for development.

Education, including EdTech, has seen a rise in funding. While 4-5 years ago, the annual investment was approx US$20 million. However, the total funding has seen an extraordinary hike. It has been forecasted as exceeding US$ 180 million for the year 2020.

Viewing this data, you won’t be surprised to know that major investors from all over the world are paying close attention to the developments in Indian EdTech start-up scenario. Some have already jumped in the fray. In the private sector, Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) has teamed up with IIM, to give you one example.

The government has also accepted its importance.

Funding for your EdTech start-up may come from both private and government sources. For example Start-Up India. This is a program by the Central Government. It has been set up with the objective to promote start-ups by providing easier bank loans. Another initiative is Atal Innovation Mission or AIM. It seeks to promote entrepreneurship. Then there is the Swayam initiative. A program that is planned to offer about 200 e-courses and another 10,000 e-courses under the AICTE.

Some important foreign players are also entering the market. They are investing to support EdTech start-up. They are Goldman Sachs, Times Internet, Mark Zuckerberg’s investment fund, to name a few.

Important Factors to Consider

“Every Path to Success is riddled with Challenges.”

Incorporating an EdTech company and making your start-up work may not be as smooth as it seems. You may face many difficulties with your EdTech start-up. For instance, if you are thinking of setting up an institution supporting school education, an endorsement from school may boost your start-up to succeed. But the question is how do you get that necessary endorsement? For that, you may need to prove to them that you would add value to their brand as well.

On the roadway to success, you will find yourself faced with many such challenges and mistakes. And you would need to encounter those.

You must strategise your entrance into the EdTech Start-up market. You would need to team up with some technology specialists. You can choose to collaborate with educators. You may follow tips from experts. Of course, a great way to start will be thinking up a new and unique idea

Below we suggest some strategies and ideas that you may want to follow to succeed in this highly competitive world of EdTech Start-ups:

  • Identify your Niche: The first step will be to identify what exact problem your EdTech Start-up will be solving. This Solution Statement will clearly suggest your niche. What field do you want to cater to the education sector?
  • The Hierarchy for your EdTech Start-up: Before getting company registration for your business, each promoter/founder must be clear about their roles, authorities, responsibilities and respective share in the business. Deciding on these unavoidable and awkward topics first hand would give each one of you a sense of security. It leads to better involvement. And avoid many complications in future.
  • Learn from Others: Join some community of entrepreneurs from the same field. Get exposed to the work style of other EdTech directors. More the number, better the exposure and learning. Evaluate which one is suitable for yourself. Which one would be easiest for you to adapt to? Develop a mix and refined to suit your business. You may also make friends. So they would share their personal experiences. The challenges they must have faced and how they could overcome them.
  • Proximity to the Audience: You should place yourself near to a good educational institution. A university would be best. You can take help of the university students to help you would in project completions, undertake researches and other initial tasks. With their innovative ideas, you can test your concept on them.
  • Testing: The product or service get tested by real testing. Presenting your product in the real market is the actual test. No matter how good your team is, some mistakes do slip by. The Beta Testing will check what errors have been ignored. It will also test the viability of your product. 
  • Quality: The quality of the services you would be providing is a key factor to consider. Even if the technology you use is cutting edge, it would still be very difficult for your EdTech Start-up to succeed if you do not support it with great educational content. 
  • Building the Team: The core of an EdTech Start-up is technology. It needs to be kept up-to-date. Regular upkeep is an important factor for success. To serve this purpose you would need a strong and stable technology team. The team should not only be hired on the basis of their existing skill set and qualifications. They must also have the eagerness to learn and improve themselves. They should be proactive enough to work out solutions to problems. The work culture of a start-up is different from that of the corporates that have been running for some time. You are responsible to hire responsible persons for the success of your EdTech Start-up. They should be willing to adjust according to the demands.
  • Keep Room to Upgrade: All innovative ideas are a work in progress. No product is final. There is always room for improvement and upgrade. Once your course has been launched, try to listen to the customers. Later you can incorporate those new ideas, features and needs into your course. This way your course will get better. Therefore, it is advisable not to spend too much time in going live with your product. Keep improving it periodically to keep it up-to-date with the current latest technology.
  • Sales & Marketing: The sales of your product must reach the required level as anticipated at the start. You need to spread the word about your new EdTech Start-up on various media platforms. You may need to keep a separate fund out of the budget for the marketing. Keep evaluating the sales numbers frequently. Keep revising and improving on the sales and marketing plans.
  • Keep on learning: Knowledge and education keep evolving. And because you have decided to start your business as an educational institution, you must never get tired of learning. This will keep you updated with the latest trends in technology. Many sources are available online as well. The technology gets upgraded almost daily. So try to use the best and the latest one for your business.

“Learning is a Continuous Process.”

  • Make adjustments: You may have planned very carefully the operations and growth of your business. But some circumstances may come up causing you to change or drop out. You may get faced with certain situations right at the time when you feel all has been set and your business is ready to fly. be adaptable. The EdTech practices keep changing and you may need to adjust accordingly. It may be financial, strategic, legal or a change in the business model.

“Change is inevitable.”

  • Funding: Funding is the primary concern for all enterprises. Many great ideas have not taken shape because they didn’t have the backing of sufficient funds. To incorporate an innovative idea in your EdTech Start-up, you should try to connect with various sources. The single funding source can put restrictions on some of the workable ideas. Sometimes, the source may not be able to provide financial help, as frequently as required.
  • Don’t lose sight of your Goal: You have decided to start a business in the sector which shapes the future. Be it the student, her family, those who are connected to her. Those who will connect to her in the future. Remember to keep the values of teaching intact. The virtuosity will also give a boost to your business. Because you are adding not only qualifications to a resume but moulding a person.

“Remember technology cannot Replace teachers.”

  • Work on the Feedbacks: You must keep a way of receiving feedback open in your product. You can invite other educators to try out your products, apps, tools. You can also provide teachers with Professional Development courses. This will assist them in using your technology. Their feedback may prove to be invaluable to the survival of your start-up. You should work to take regular feedback from the students and the teacher. And work to improve your product. If users are satisfied then they’ll be encouraged to use and recommend your product.


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