Meet the 6 edtech startups that have seen record growth amid COVID-19 lockdown
If there’s one sector that continues to see extraordinary growth during these unprecedented times, it is education. With coronavirus locking down Indian cities since the end of March, online education and e-learning platforms have seen astonishing adoption and exponential growth.
That's not surprising, considering that a whopping 1.5 billion students were grounded almost overnight as cities locked down and schools closed.
A report by BARC India and Nielsen reveals that there has been a 30 percent increase in the time spent on education apps on smartphones since the lockdown.
BYJU’S, India’s earliest and most valuable Edtech startup, saw 7.5 million new users on its platform since it started offering free access to content. The time spent on its app increased from 70 minutes pre-lockdown to 91 minutes during the lockdown.
The story is the same for other edtech players in the arena. Unacademy recorded 1.4 billion watch minutes while Toppr saw 100 percent growth in free user engagement in March.
And unlike most companies, including Oyo, Uber, and Zomato, which are now trimming their workforce, edtech platforms such as UpGrad, Vedantu, Simplilearn, and Dronstudy are looking at creating at least 3,000 new jobs over the next year.
YourStory list six edtech startups that have seen phenomenal growth in users and traffic over the last two months.
India’s earliest and most valuable edtech startup BYJU’S saw 7.5 million new users on its platform since it started offering free access to content. In April alone, the Bengaluru-based firm grossed Rs 350 crore in revenue.
“We just finished our best month in April despite being free. We’re expecting to double that [revenue] in the next three to four months,” BYJU’S Co-founder and CEO Byju Raveendran recently told YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma.
The $10 billion startup also introduced free ‘Live Classes’ on its app recently. The feature aims to replicate a classroom-like environment online, and is different from the usual pre-recorded videos on BYJU’S. “It allows students to attend scheduled classes periodically and they love that. The feature is meant to replicate the regularity of school,” Byju explains.
Edtech startup Great Learning said its annual revenue rose 150 percent to Rs 325 crore as the coronavirus lockdown boosted demand for learning courses aimed at equipping professionals with new skills.
The Gurugram-based startup, founded by Mohan Lakhamraju, former India head of Tiger Global, said it saw rising demand for upskilling in digital competencies like data science, analytics, AI, machine learning, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and digital business over the last year, and especially during the lockdown.
The seven-year-old startup had over 25,000 users from 85 countries on its platform across its post-graduate programmes in FY20.
Interactive online learning platform Vedantu witnessed a major surge after it announced support to students with free access to its learning platform during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The number of subscribers on the Vedantu platform has grown exponentially to 6.5 lakh additional learners across K-12 and competitive exams such as JEE and NEET.
During the lockdown, Vedantu has crossed a watch time of one billion minutes across its platform and channels. Its collection and revenue in May grew by 80 percent over the previous month, achieving the highest growth over the last 2.5 years.
This edtech startup has seen its revenue soar 400 percent in FY20. It recorded the highest growth in terms of monthly revenue in the lockdown months of April and May, expanding 30 percent over the March numbers.
Started in 2017 by CEO Sumesh Nair and COO Abhay Gupta, Board Infinity aims to deliver impactful career guidance and skilling to students and working professionals at the very beginning of their career journey.
With a firm footing in Mumbai and a powerful presence in Noida, Gurugram, and Bengaluru, the brand is hoping to expand further into other major Tier II cities across India.
The Mumbai-based startup in July 2019 raised Rs 2.2 crore in an angel round from a clutch of investors, including Ambarish Raghuvanshi, Ex-CFO of InfoEdge; and Maheshwer Peri, Founder of Careers360.
In April 2020, edtech platform Unacademy recorded massive growth, breaking all previous records, in terms of revenue, video views, watch time, etc.
A Twitter post by Co-founder Gaurav Munjal claimed that Unacademy’s revenue for April 2020 was higher than 2017, 2018, and the first half of 2019 combined. “This has been a phenomenal month for us,” the tweet said.
Unacademy launched its subscription product for the test-prep market last year and had hit a 36 million ARR before the pandemic. Gaurav says the startup has grown 3x since then, recording up to 100 million ARR.
Mumbai-based edtech startup Toppr has seen a 100 percent growth in paid users’ on a monthly basis, with free user engagement witnessing a 100 percent spike.
Founded in 2013, the startup offers questions, solutions, concepts, practice tests, and videos to students. It also prepares them for competitive entrance exams such as IIT-JEE mains, BITSAT, and NEET. The platform has also announced free access to live classes and video classes.
Zishaan Hayath, CEO and Co-founder, Toppr, said, "In view of the evolving situation around the COVID-19 pandemic, and given that some schools are shut, we are making Toppr’s live classes completely free for all students in Classes 5-12. Besides this, our video classes have always been available as a free learning resource.”
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)