“User engagement is a big gap in online education space which we've cracked,” Pavan Chauhan, Meritnation
“We have the DNA of a content company and didn't know how to market it online,” says a very frank Pavan Chauhan, the founder and CEO of Meritnation, an online education company specializing in content for K12. The company was founded in 2009 and found their forte by 2010 when they also got in touch with InfoEdge, the firm that owns Naukri.com. InfoEdge decided to invest in Meritnation and together they had the power of content and expertise in marketing it online.Meritnation has raised over INR 60 crores in four rounds from InfoEdge and has given up 54% of its equity as well according to a Techcircle report. The same also says that the company has a negative operating EBIDTA but the traction it has been able to garner is encouraging. Exact numbers haven't been disclised but estimates peg the numbers to be around 50 lakh users across nationalities (content for Indian education boards). “We're a completely B2C player,” says Pavan. Meritnation has also ventured into doing TVCs which certainly touch on the right nerves to gain mass adoption (but perhaps debatable in terms of the message being sent out).
Meritnation was founded with the intent of making relevant content for students to consume online. The company also ventured in specialized test preparation last year. As per our last interview, Meritnation hasn't confirmed the number of users but says that 5-6% of their customers are paid accounts which would put the number at around 2.5 lakh paid users. “Over the years, we've realized that this is a very complex product. There are multiple ways in which content can be diced and the way content is consumed by various standards also varies,” says Pavan.
One of the biggest challenges in the space is user engagement. Once the student comes on the site or signs up, it becomes crucial to have something that keeps them coming back. “We think we've been able to crack the engagement bit of the puzzle better than many others,” says Pavan. The company has scaled and currently their office in New Delhi houses close to 500 people. Meritnation raised their latest round of INR 30 crores which was used to scale the team and build on the technology. The road ahead entails more of the same- building high quality content and take it out to as many students as possible across geographies.