While there are several edutech platforms and startups looking to make learning and teaching simpler with the aid of technology, Pravin Sharma saw a different problem that most platforms weren’t addressing – hitches in the smooth management of affairs in an institute.
While working at ATOM Technologies as a national sales head, Pravin (32) understood the management concerns most institutions faced. “We used to provide payment solutions to educational institutes, and when we went deeper into the system, there was a need for deeper integration and more solutions,” he explains.
So he started eShiksa, an education management portal that facilitates smooth management of educational affairs of an institute.
The platform covers all the aspects of educational business, including administrative, academic and accounting activities. It provides the parent and student a single window for viewing various reports on the academic front and also for paying school/college fees online on the web and mobile app. Pravin explains:
eShiksha takes cares of automation of the entire ecosystem of the education institute right from admission to exit of the students.
While Pravin had the idea in mind, it wasn’t an easy task convincing educational institutes of the usefulness of the platform. Pravin explains that it took several trial runs and explanations to get things going.
Growing beyond Indian borders
Started in Jaipur, eShiksha registered as a company in 2013. The team began operations only in 2014, and was open to sales last year. Today, it is live in over 100 schools and colleges across India. The 18-member team has more than 1,00,000 users on the platform. The clients are on-boarded through direct sales, channel partners and strategic tie-ups.
The startup has 15 channel partners across the country for institutional sales. eShiksha has also done strategic tie-ups in Nepal and Kenya, which give it access to over 500 institutions, and is also in talks with three more partners in three different countries to roll out its service.
“We have successfully enabled fees payments from parents and students over our platform with payment transactions worth Rs 200,00,000 in the current year,” says Pravin.
Funding and revenue
The team has raised a funding of Rs.51 lakh from angel investor and startup mentor Dewang Neralla, who also is the MD and CEO of ATOM Technologies.
“We have already secured Rs 60 lakh in the current round and SHA is signed for the same. We are looking to raise balance Rs 1.6 crore,” says Pravin, adding that the funds have been used for development of product, strategic partnership with banks and channel partners, sales and running capital.
The team provides the solutions over a service model rather than the software vendor model, which is the most prevailing model currently in the market. Currently, it follows a student-per-year pricing, which is charged to the institute. Each student is charged between Rs five and 20 per month, depending on the number of students the school has.
For the additional service, the student or the parent is charged, this is basis for the payment gateways and service providers.
The business of education
Last year, several edutech platforms saw a rise in funding. Fidelity, SAIF and Helion pumped $10 million into online test preparation platform Toppr, while Accel and Tiger Global invested $5 million in online tutoring platform Vedantu.
Mayfield, along with Kalaari Capital and Helion Venture Partners, invested $15 million in online certification courses platform Simplilearn, while Matrix pumped an undisclosed sum into Purple Squirrel, which organises industrial visits for college students.
According to Bloomberg, India is at the centre of this revolution in learning, with an e-learning market that is projected to grow at 18-percent CAGR, which is twice the global average. India also has the one of the highest growth trajectories in self-paced e-learning at 55 percent.
Presently, the Indian online education sector will touch $40 billion by 2017. A report by IBEF suggests that India is targeting to create 500 million skilled workers by 2022. The FDI flow in the sector has been close to $1071.15 million between April 2000 and January 2015.
It, therefore, is safe to assume that the space is seeing incremental growth and bullish focus. On their future plans, Pravin adds:
“We are targeting to achieve break-even by end of the current financial year. We want to enable the services to 10 lakh student base in the next 12 months and enable more services on the platform.”
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