[TechSparks 2020] Experts discuss key trends in edtech sector amid pandemic
According to YourStory Research, edtech was India’s second-most funded sector after fintech and financial services in H1 2020. Over $714 million in funding was raised by edtech startups across 46 deals compared to just $158 million across 20 deals in H1 2019.
Edtech startups also accounted for 17.2 percent of all VC investments in H1 2020, said the report. Startups are changing the idea of education by replacing traditional classroom learning with apps that blur the lines between education and entertainment.
At YourStory’s flagship virtual conference TechSparks 2020, experts from edtech sectors came together for a conversation on online learning, challenges and how are they are using technology to find solutions.
Moderated by YourStory Research Director Dr Madanmohan Rao, the panel included Mukul Rustagi, Co-founder, Classplus; Saumya Yadav, Co-founder and CEO, Udayy, and Anirudh Singh, Managing Director, Falcon Edge Capital.
Here are some edtech key trends that have emerged from the panel discussion and that are likely to define the future of the sector.
The use of internet as a productivity tool
“The use of the internet as a productivity tool has been seen throughout the pandemic. Almost all of India actually uses 1GB per day for education, gaming and streaming videos. The chunky portion of the internet that people use is for education. We are also seeing a move towards the normal world. The industry, market behaviour, consumer behaviour etc. are all returning to normal,” said Mukul Rustagi, Co-founder, Classplus.
B2B edtech startup Classplus enables offline coaching institutes to take their businesses online. The Noida-based startup, which started in 2018, aims to provide technology to the massive but highly fragmented market, by helping tutors run all their communication, payments, practice tests, schedules, and online learning programmes on their smartphones.
"It is not an easy job to get the teachers on a platform, they are coming from local coaching centre, we spotted this gap very early, and it took us one-and-a-half years to educate people about the idea," Mukul said.
“Everyone exposing to online learning”
“At this point in time, every single parent, child, teacher, principal in India has seen online education or has been exposed to learning online. You can be anywhere in the country and still have access to the high quality education at a very affordable price. You don’t have to burn pockets and your kidneys to get access to it,” said Saumya Yadav, Co-founder and CEO, Udayy.
Gurugram-based digital learning platform, Udayy enables chidlren (3-9 years) to practise and develop their maths skills through play.
“Kids do get distracted today when they have access to content and devices, There is a way to solve this problem, and we are constantly trying to have a product where they enjoy learning,” Saumya added.
Technology as an intrinsic part of life
“For us edtech has been a big area of focus. We spent a fair bit of time in this space/sector. There has been a definite change in consumer behaviour. People have adopted and started using technology as a more intrinsic part of their lives. They are actually looking for digital solutions and technology solutions to simple things, which they used to do earlier. Interestingly, at least for the next six months or maybe even one year, people have a lot more time on their hands. So outdoor activities and outdoor expenditure will go down and some of that might move online, and edtech has obviously seen some of those benefits. We feel the paying capacity of people will also go up,” said Anirudh Singh, Managing Director, Falcon Edge Capital, an investment firm.
Apart from edtech, Anirudh added that they are focusing on agritech, SaaS and fintech in Southeast Asia for seed and Series A rounds.
“The founding team has the overall ability to think through and execute with resilience and grit considering the size of market opportunities we look for while investing,” Anirudh said.