How to make it big in the online tutoring business
Edureka, a three-year-old online tutoring domain, has seen a lot of success in the three years of its existence. With a student base of approximately 85,000 students around the world, including markets like North America, South Korea, Australia, Africa and East Europe, and a course completion rate of 70%-80%, it has strengthened its foothold in this sector.
“In the past two years a large chunk of our traffic, about 70%, has been through word-of-mouth, and that has been a huge success for us,” says Lovleen Bhatia, Co-founder of Edureka. According to Lovleen, Edureka has posted a 10% month-on-month growth spree over the past few months. He’s also targeting revenue of about US $5 million and a subscriber base of 400,000 by the end of this year.
Niche education sector in India
With nearly every industry using some or the other form of data to make better decisions, such courses could add a lot of value. “A lot of people have started using real time analytics for optimization of operations. Cloud has also become very big, since all data analytics happens on the cloud,” explains Lovleen.
“These niche courses are bound to grow 40 times in the industry for now. If we want to we could keep adding about a hundred courses in this domain,” he adds.
However, running so many courses would demand volume, scale and a demand to maintain traffic; for the time being Edureka is only focusing on the delivery method and the quality of education being imparted.
“A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to run such an operation. We believe in the phrase ‘Under Promise and Over Deliver’,” Lovleen tells us. The Edureka team consists of 50 people, exclusive of all the instructors, who work to maintain a very elaborate support model. Twenty people have been assigned to provide the 24X7 support, while there are others who manage the sales team.
“Most of the employees have come through references. We hire people based on their performance; we make people work with us initially in an internship like model before we decide to hire them full time,” he explains.
The Founders, Kapil and Lovleen make it a point to work as hard as the employees to maintain equality. “It’s important to make sure the employees are kept challenged and kept happy in terms of compensation, or just saying a good word to them to make sure you know all the good work they do. Most of the work is now driven by the team and not by us. They understand the fabric of the company,” he says.
We at YourStory tried to decode Edureka and figure out why people are slowly moving away from portals like Coursera for this Bangalore-based firm. We came up with a few broad points that we believe differentiates Edureka from the rest.
Focus on Delivery Method
“We believe that a video does not have enough engagement which is why we opted for live classes,” explains Lovleen. The courses are conducted live, by highly trained professional instructors to maximize engagement of the students. The course videos are saved throughout the duration of the course, allowing enough time to revisit parts of the lesson; they also have hands-on-project work. “We have a 24X7 support team, where learners can get live help post class. This helps people complete the courses,” says Lovleen. “The value perception of a live class is much higher than just a recording,” he adds.
Edureka also allows students to switch batches, and it offers bridge courses to fill in gaps of knowledge.
High quality instructors
They have about 150 instructors out of which most are industry practitioners and professionals who work with multi-national corporations. “Industry professionals are the best equipped to instruct since they can offer a real life experience and practical perspective to the students. This keeps the courses from being just theory lessons,” says Lovleen.
“Typically the cost of our course is between $250-$400; or INR 10,000-INR 30,000. Similar courses in the US would be for about $2,000-$3,000,” Lovleen tells us.
Fewer products offered to maintain quality
The people at Edureka run a very stringent quality control process. All the feedback is taken into account, the courses are taken through multiple internal checks and the customers are put through dry-runs. The instructors, too, go through a complete cycle of the course with the internal team before he is allowed to go live. “We don’t release courses every month. We don’t want to rush to get to a hundred courses. We make sure each one is sustainable in itself,” adds Lovleen.
The courses offered aren’t easily available in colleges. These are newer niche courses for which there is a huge demand now, given the large number of people moving to data sciences. The target audience is working professionals with anywhere between five and 25 years of experience. “Our most popular course is the course on Big Data; the courses on Analytics and Android App Development are also quite popular,” adds Lovleen.