Former Uber chief’s edtech startup is bringing extracurricular and after-school classes online
Edtech has been the toast of the startup world this year. The pandemic has provided favourable tailwinds for edtech startups to grow, and RedSeer predicts the online K-12 education space will grow by 6.3 percent, creating a $1.7 billion market by 2022.
But while parents are busy selecting the best substitute to classroom teaching and edtech platforms compete to hit maximum valuation, we tend to forget an important aspect of education: extracurricular activities.
This is where Bengaluru and Singapore-basedcomes in. Founded by former Uber chief Bhavik Rathod, Kyt is a global academy for extracurricular activities.
The edtech startup focuses on providing private and group sessions for children between ages five and 15, from the comfort of their homes. It acts as an alternative to traditional offline dance, music, chess, singing, and yoga schools.
Illustration courtesy: YS Design
Leadership to entrepreneurship
Kyt was founded by Bhavik and his wife Tripti Ahuja in October 2019, with the goal of building something for their daughter.
“We believe that supporting a child’s inclination to learn new things isn’t additional or extra – it is essential for all-round development,” Bhavik says.
An alumnus of Gies College of Business, Bhavik joined Uber as a Founding Leader and General Manager for India in 2013. He served at the ride hailing giant for more than six years. Bhavik’s last role was Head of Uber’s food vertical, UberEats (acquired by Zomato), India and South Asia.
Tripti, on the other hand, is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore. Prior to starting up Kyt, Tripti had co-founded 400 THINGS and online exhibition platform Exibit.in.
The duo launched the Kyt courses on October 5, 2020.
Bhavik Rathod and Tripti Ahuja, Founders of Kyt
Once the pandemic is over, primary schools will open their doors for learning.
However, Bhavik believes, “The future of education is a hybrid of offline and online learning.”
“This blended form of learning has seen increasing adoption this past year in the US, Singapore, Australia, India and elsewhere. Several startups have scaled up recently, offering academic courses online across all age groups. However, holistic learning focused on extracurriculars like music, dance, chess, and yoga, has got little attention from edtech startups,” he says.
Until now, options for music or dance training were limited to neighbourhood classes. Kyt breaks these geographical barriers. The edtech startup allows students from every corner of the world to attend sessions from teachers and instructors sitting in another part of the globe.
The startup provides two learning opportunities -- Kyt Academy and Kyt Workshop.
The workshops are usually a day long, where students get to attend a class of their preferred activity – yoga, doodling, poetry and rap, among others.
The academy offers long-term courses, designed for passionate learners. “The courses are progressive and built on what students have learned the week earlier,” Bhavik explains.
Once the courses are over, students receive a certificate of completion, signed by the curriculum partners. Most courses have three levels -- beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
A screenshot of Kyt's website
Experts on board
To ensure the quality of content posted on its platform, Kyt has partnered with educators and artists from across the globe. “This allows parents the option to select the best possible teachers and invest in their children, by supporting and nurturing their budding interests,” Bhavik says.
Kyt’s curriculum partners include the likes of online world chess Olympiad Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi, award-winning choreographer Ruel Varindani, celebrity yoga instructor Sabrina Merchant, and vocalists Kamakshi and Vishala. The platform is also the official partner of US-based reading programme Nardagani, by Narda Pitkethly.
Interestingly, courses in yoga, Indian classical vocals, and western vocals seem to be popular among Indian children.
Kyt has a team of professional educators and curriculum designers who work with these celebrity curriculum partners to create the course.
“Everything is planned beforehand - what each class will have, how much time will we spend revising the previous class, how will we introduce new concepts. We have also designed homework and practice material for all levels,” Bhavik explains.
Kyt earns its revenue through sales of courses (minus the instructors’ fees and payment gateway charges). The average courses are for three months. The startup soon plans to introduce monthly subscriptions for courses available on its platform.
The edtech segment
According to Statista, the global e-learning market was pegged at $101 billion in 2019. By 2026, the market is expected to grow exponentially to reach over $370 billion.
Learning platforms that focus on subjects outside the curriculum include Skillshare, Mento, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy, among others.
Kyt’s USP includes a proper mix of training, assessment, feedback, and encouragement. Students are allowed to showcase their progress at the end of each course period, and parents get access to progress reports.
In less than a month of launch, the edtech startup has registered a few thousand users from India and outside.
“We plan to scale to thousands of students globally. We expect the number of instructors to grow to a few hundred in less than a year,” says Bhavik, adding that Kyt is also looking to raise funds soon.