With 2,500 schools and 2.5 lakh students on its platform, this Lucknow-based edtech startup just raised $1M funding
Gaurava Yadav's entrepreneurial pursuits did not begin from the bustling Bengaluru, or the fast-paced Mumbai. The 33-year-old entrepreneur rather started up from Lucknow.
Gaurava credits quizzing—an activity that has given him company all through the years, from school to work life—for his success. It has played such a vital role that it was the founding stone of his venture today.
Having done his college in Indore and MBA from Amity University in Noida, Gaurava joined the Kotak Mahindra Group, just to realise his lack of interest in the banking sector. Later, when he became the communication manager for Tulip Communications, he was faced with the challenge of building an exclusive platform for Indian executives in technology companies. This propelled him to start GreyGambit.com. But little did he know what was really in store for him.
To increase engagements from CIOs, Gaurava went on to introduce a technology quiz for these executives every Friday. What started as a marketing initiative catapulted into becoming the USP of his organisation, EduAce, which he set up in Lucknow in December 2012.
I belonged to Jhansi, a small town. These quizzing competitions never came to our city, leaving us with no other option but to go to a bigger town like Lucknow for feeding this passion. That was the idea behind founding EduAce. I wanted to make these aspirations accessible to children in Tier II cities.
The small-town hero
Looking at the waning popularity of Derek O’Brien’s Bournvita Quiz Competition (BQC), Gaurava thought it to be the perfect time to go to market. In the first year of starting up, EduAce held the competition in 16 Tier II cities of India, under its product name School Quiz League (SQL) – Pratibha ki khoj.
Today, three editions down, the competition is held in 25 Tier II cities across 2500 schools, including Ittawa, Faizabad, Rudrapur, Haldwani, Jhansi, Allahabad and Varanasi.
The revenue stream
On why quizzing is important for a student, Gaurava says,
CBSE and ICSE schools have General Knowledge (GK) as an essential subject only till Class VIII. But it is most required after Class XII, when students go on to write competitive examinations for colleges.
This led EduAce to set the foundation for its holistic learning solutions for students between Class VI to XII.
General Knowledge and Quizzing Aptitude Test (G-QAT) is an offering for school students, who are segregated them on the level of difficulty, from junior (Class VI to IX) to senior sections (Class X to XII). It comprises of an aptitude assessment test, while providing individual learning modules to students.
At Rs 250 per student, the learning module is an active revenue stream for the platform. G-QAT sees 800 to 1,000 students from a network of more than 125 schools. However, only 40 percent of this target pool subscribes to their learning module. The platform also has a ‘kickstarter workshop’ for the top quizzing talent of every school with similar pricing to G-QAT's, to provide training for national competitions.
GURU is another learning module for teachers, to sharpen their GK acumen, in order to foster the skill in their students. The firm deploys the module to batches of 50 teachers, at Rs 1,500 per teacher.
Additionally, Gaurava has authored a book that provides content for classroom quizzing. This is the third revenue stream for the platform.
Tier II still a force
By December-end this year, EduAce plans to get 150 schools subscribing to its G-QAT module. Its fundamental aim is to expand its outreach to 10 States, reaching close to 7,000 schools, with 10 lakh students writing their SQL prelims. At present, this number stands at 2.5 lakh students.
However, for Gaurava, the focus will continue to be Tier II cities. He says,
“We believe that we are most relevant in Tier II towns and will not move away from that proposition. People often think that metros are the place to be for disruption. But it is essential to understand that the majority of users lie in these Tier II townships. According to me, the real growth is here and people should actively evaluate this as an option.”
Getting a million in funding
The firm announced raising $1 million from Foxconn-invested Momagic Technologies, as a part of its seed round investments. This will be used for hiring and expanding reach to other geographies in India.
This strategic partnership will also help EduAce put together its tech solutions, owing to Momagic’s major play in mobile. Planning an app for tablets in schools, this elementary product will be a huge focus for the firm next year. Through this platform, EduAce plans to streamline all learning modules, while providing a rank and a percentile to the talent for their partner institutions.
The firm also plans to take SQL abroad to NRIs in Dubai and Southeast Asia.
Giving a fight
In the past five years, according to Docebo, the e-learning space has received a venture capital inflow of $6 billion globally. Further, looking at India, TechNavio reported that the Indian education market to grow at CAGR rate of 17.50 percent from 2014-19.