[The Turning Point] How three IITians took lessons from their earlier startup to launch Vedantu

By Apurva P|19th Sep 2020
The Turning Point is a series of short articles that focuses on the moment when an entrepreneur hit upon their winning idea. Today, we look at Bengaluru-based e-learning startup Vedantu.
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Vedantu’s journey began in Barnala, a small town in Punjab. It was 2005, a time when access to quality education was a challenge in smaller cities.


Three fresh graduates from IIT-Bombay and IIT-Roorkee, Vamsi Krishna, Pulkit Jain, and Anand Prakash, were eager to bridge this gap and in 2006 launched their first venture Lakshya, a test prep company. In 2012, Lakshya was acquired by a listed company, MT Educare (Mahesh Tutorials).


Of the 35 children they coached, 11 cleared the IIT entrance. Motivated by this success, the trio decided to help students across the country.


“However, building scale of this nature would have been a huge challenge if we restricted ourselves to offline coaching. We knew that online was the only way to reach students pan India,” says Vamsi Krishna, CEO and Co-founder, Vedantu.
Vedantu

Vedantu’s Founders (L-R): Pulkit Jain, Anand Prakash, and Vamsi Krishna

Their next step was to create an all-inclusive platform to reach a larger audience. In 2014, they launched their second venture, Vedantu, to solve the problems and challenges of the offline learning model through a holistic online platform.


Today, Vedantu claims to be first company to start live online learning in India and a market leader in the K-12 online tutoring space. It offers live interactive classes to students across Classes K-12, for all major boards and top competitive exams like JEE and NEET. 



Overcoming the challenges

The founders then started working to address the next two main problems: affordability and accessibility to quality learning in even the remotest parts of the country.


“After years of deep research, we launched W.A.V.E. to personalise teaching and learning for each child. It was designed to make live classes extremely engaging and fun on a one-to-many models. W.A.V.E. has the potential to engage with many students through a single live online tutorial using AI and ML,” Vamsi says.


The measurability report helps students and teachers understand the problem and tackle it. This translates into 500 students learning from one highly trained teacher on the W.A.V.E. platform, and makes the classes extremely engaging and fun.


Vamsi says: “We believe that education cannot be moulded on the concept of one-size-fits-all; it needs to be personalised and this is our core differentiator.”


With marquee investors such as Omidyar Network, Accel, Tiger Global Management, and GGV Capital on board, Vedantu claims to have 150,000 students studying live on its platform each month.



Finding online success

Vedantu recorded a growth of 220 percent during the recent lockdown, with close to 1.5 million students attending live classes every month and teachers delivering over eight million hours of classes.


The number of subscribers on Vedantu's platform has grown to over two million with collections, while revenue soared 80 percent.


Vedantu

Vamsi Krishna, CEO and Co-founder

“The acceptance and adoption from parents and students have gone up tremendously and the shift towards online is here to stay. We are confident that Vedantu's offering will see much stronger growth and higher adoption, during the pandemic and beyond,” Vamsi says.




The road ahead

During the pandemic, Vedantu entered the early learner segment with the launch of its coding programme targeting students in 6-12 years age group. It plans to launch more programmes in this category.


Vedantu, which recently raised $100 million as part of its Series D funding round, claims to be amongst the top 10 most valued edtech companies globally.


“Virtual is becoming the new normal in learning. We will continue to focus on technology and keep student interaction and engagement at our core. We believe this will be key to driving category and business growth. We also have plans to penetrate the regional and international markets,” Vamsi says.


Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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