Technology has helped enhance education and given shape to a robust edutech market. The market now has a pool of startups that combine technology with academic tools to bring innovative methods of learning to students. Abhishek Bajaj and Rohit Bajaj too decided to build their own product soon after they completed their CA final exams.
Started in January 2015, Zeroinfy.com is a Kolkata-based interactive education platform where students can buy video lectures made by teachers. It also provides peer-to-peer learning opportunities and encourages students to share their personal notes with other students via their platform. It offers courses like CA, CS, CFA, UPSC and IIT-JEE.
We tie up with a teacher after performing our due diligence. The teacher should have a minimum experience of five years and must have taught at least 1,000 students. Once we tie up with them, we upload their videos on our server. It took us around six months to develop the platform. Then we ran the site in beta for two months,” says Aditya.
Getting ideas into action
While preparing for their exams the duo had paid for their tuition classes but ended up not attending them. Aditya recalls online portals did not serve his purpose because of the availability of too many teachers for a single subject. Both Aditya and Rohit are alumni of St. Xaviers, Kolkata and have completed chartered accountancy in 2015.
Initially, the duo lost precious time in coming out with a perfect product without market validation. When they realised the mistake, they course-corrected.
Zeroinfy has been infused with an investment of Rs. 10 lakh (from friends and family of the founders). It has so far attracted the attention of more than 8,500 users. Students first watch the demo videos on the website and then purchase the course accordingly. One can buy a course on individual topics or the entire course, which varies from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000. According to Aditya, the charge of offline courses is 60 percent higher than their price range.
Currently, Zeroinfy has eight employees and 25 instructors from different fields who serve as content creators and ensure the quality of the content.
With digital marketing, Zeroinfy.com started getting traction from Tier II cities like Durgapur, Asansol, Bhubaneswar and Vijaywada. Last December, and January 2016, it earned a revenue of Rs 3.2 lakh, and is expecting to earn Rs 2.5 lakh this month.
In the next few months, Zeroinfy.com will focus more on marketing, to gain a fair share of the West Bengal market, especially the Tier II and III cities. Currently, it is using Facebook as an important tool to reach out to students and it also holds seminars in colleges to expand awareness.
In the first week of March, the startup intends to launch ‘Mentor Module’. For this it has tied up with a lot of CA top rankers and IIT students who will serve as mentors on the platform. Every student who purchases a course on Zeroinfy will be assigned a mentor.
To fund its growth further, Zeroinfy is in talks with some investors to raise funds, and expects to earn a revenue of Rs 6 crore in the next fiscal year.
Technology-enabled education industry
Rise in smartphones, interactive textbooks, gamification and data analytics have revolutionised the education industry as never before. According to IBEF report, India’s online education market size is expected to touch $40 billion by 2017.
By providing real-time book updates, online tutoring, edutainment, HD-quality educational videos and online test preparation, education startups today cater to a large number of audience, including Tier II and III cities.
Vedantu, Simplilearn, BYJU, Toppr, Iprof Learning Solutions, Meritnation, Edukart, Talentedge, Superprof and embibe.com are some of the names currently dominating the edutech industry. By demonstrating their power in changing the face of education industry, they have attracted the attention of deep-pocketed investors.
Vedantu has raised $5 million from Tiger Global and Accel Partners. Toppr raised $10 million from SAIF, Helion and Fidelity Growth. Meritnation raised $5 million from InfoEdge. Simplilearn raised $15 million from Mayfield Fund and Kalaari Capital. Edukart raises $1 million from YouWeCan Ventures and United Finsec.
“Today, educators are using the smartphone as an important educating tool. Using analytics, teachers can easily assess the performance of students. It has also equipped the institute to analyse the performance of teachers in the class,” says Maneesh Sharma, Chief Revenue Officer, WizIQ, a cloud-based education platform.