This ex-Amazonian’s edtech startup is building the ‘Just Dial for schools’ along with a SaaS-based preschool app
was founded in 2017 by ex-Amazonian Sucharitha Dasireddy and her husband Shashidhar Reddy to bring digital transformation to the pre-K-12 space.
Pre-K-12, formally known as Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), includes pre-schools, play schools, and daycare centres. It is projected to be a $480-billion global market by 2026, according to Facts & Factors Research.
However, the sector is plagued by operational inefficiencies. Especially in India, where preschool kids are high in numbers, but low on visibility.
Not only do early educators rely on manual monitoring of children’s activities, thereby losing valuable classroom hours, but they also face challenges in managing inbound enquiries, admissions, fee collections, and communication with parents.
Enter Kriyo, a one-stop platform for the digital management of preschools, daycares, and all other child activity centres. The SaaS-based solution takes a single-window approach to student tracking, from enrollment to graduation.
Founder and CEO Sucharitha tells YourStory, “When we surveyed the market in 2016, we found that parents who sent their kids to preschools often felt that it was some sort of a blackbox where they wouldn’t get any reports or updates about their child. Educators too struggled with repetitive manual tasks and failed to provide personalised updates to parents. Only technology could bridge this gap and make their lives easier. But there was no software targeted at early educators.”
Kriyo set out to fill this gap. Its app-based platform was launched in February 2018, and the first paying customer — a preschool in Bengaluru — came on board in March.
Three years, one acquisition, a few product and business model tweaks later, Kriyo has scaled to 2,700 schools in 102 countries. “Over 90 percent of popular preschool brands in India use Kriyo in at least one of their branches,” claims the founder.
Last month, the Hyderabad-based startup raised $150,000 from friends and family.
Product roadmap and innovation
Even though Kriyo began in the ECEC segment, it opened up to K-12 schools in April this year. The segment already contributes 15 percent to its active customer base, and is likely to go up further as the awareness grows.
Sucharitha shares, “Our initial focus was on daycare and preschools because many ERP solutions were already catering to higher education. But, some preschool owners, who also run K-12 schools, requested us to extend the platform.”
“There are 15 lakh schools in India. We don't see a reason why we have to restrict our product to any category. The market opportunity is really huge,” she adds.
Kriyo lets educators optimise their day-to-day operations, including multi-branch management, admissions, fee collection, digital notice boards, communication channels with parents, performance reports, and more. Teachers and nannies can use the app to record attendance and other child updates digitally.
Kriyo also has a consumer-facing app for parents that lets them check in on their kids, receive instant updates on their food, health, and other daily habits, track school bus movement, pay fees, and communicate with teachers.
Kriyo has facilitated 1.8 crore messages between educators and teachers
The startup claims it has facilitated the exchange of 1.8 crore messages between teachers and parents, and accounted for 25 percent of the total fee collection of schools on its app.
Sucharitha says, “Both online and offline payments are integrated in Kriyo. We have Razorpay as the payment gateway, and fees can be collected in just 1-2 clicks. Each school has a unique QR code and url. They can print it across marketing material and brochures or share the payment link on WhatsApp and social media.”
The startup is also building a Just Dial-like discovery and price comparison platform for preschools and daycare centres. It is currently in the beta stage.
The founder elaborates,
“The school discovery platform allows parents to discover, compare, and enroll kids in their chosen places. They can apply advanced search filters to get region-wise, city-wise listings, read authentic reviews from other parents, take virtual school tours, and directly send enquiries by filling up a form.”
The discovery platform will also provide an additional revenue stream to Kriyo, which made its core app free starting April 2021 in a bid to bump up user growth.
Kriyo is building a Just Dial-like platform to aid discovery of K-12 schools and preschools
Business model and growth
Until April 2021, Kriyo operated on a SaaS-based model, where schools were charged a subscription fee per student per year. The startup claims to have generated Rs 38 lakh in revenue from 250+ paying schools when it was a paid platform.
However, as the deadly second wave of COVID-19 disrupted the preschool space, with “active users going into hibernation”, Kriyo had to relook its business model.
“We charged a nominal fee from our existing subscribers, and decided to become a free platform,” Sucharitha reveals. “We also extended the app to K-12 schools.”
The move seems to have borne fruit, with 500+ sign-ups between April and August. While the core platform is free, Kriyo plans to monetise its new products, including the school discovery platform and its upcoming afterschool learning programme.
Sucharitha shares, “Schools can take a subscription to access all the admission enquiries. Some schools don’t want to pay upfront. In that case, we take a 10-15 percent cut of the admission fee. We also plan to earn advertising revenue from schools for highlighting their profiles or listings on our platform [similar to Just Dial].”
On the B2C side, parents can subscribe to the learning programmes. “Once the kids come back home, parents can engage them in a meaningful way. We plan to do partnerships with established players to create the content,” adds the founder.
While new growth is slowly kicking off, Kriyo already has more than 5,000 educators and 40,000 students active on its platform. Only 52 percent of its client base is in India, with the US, Canada, and Africa emerging as key international markets.
Sucharitha says, “We have representation from some prominent preschools in India like Kidzee, Kangaroo Kids, Maple Woods, and Alphakids International. We also get unexpected sign-ups from countries like Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Cyprus, and some parts of Southeast Asia. It shows that there’s a pressing need for such platforms globally.”
In January 2020, Kriyo acquired ClassVita, a Jaipur-based preschool management solution. At the time of acquisition, ClassVita was operational in over 250 preschools in India, driving more than Rs 1 crore in fee payments.
Founder Rajat Khandelwal told YourStory later, “Kriyo has a great product and shares the same passion and mission with which we started ClassVita. We're excited to be joining forces and for what this means for preschools and families.”
The ClassVita buyout went on to help Kriyo expand its user base significantly.
Kriyo acquired Jaipur-based preschool management startup ClassVita in January 2020
Future roadmap and competitive landscape
In the next 6-12 months, Kriyo is focussed on scaling up its school discovery platform and plans to launch personalised afterschool learning programmes.
The startup is looking to onboard 1,000 K-12 schools and expand to 500,000 students by the end of 2022. It is also planning to raise a $2 million round to ramp up marketing and user acquisition. Kriyo aims to hit $50 million in ARR by 2025.
“Nine out of 10 people who see our demo end up converting. So, we have to show more demos and fast-track our user acquisition because there is a potential to generate higher revenues now.”
“Also, once we reach a significant user base, many partnership opportunities will come into the picture. Because data is gold these days,” she adds.
Even though learning management solutions — and edtech in general — has gained tremendously from the pandemic, Kriyo has to contend with competitors such as Edustoke (in listings), Brightwheel and ClassDojo (in school management), and Yellow School and Outschool (in afterschool learning).
However, it is looking to capitalise on the fact that “there is no market leader in this category”. “There are products that are either expensive and complicated or those that do not meet standards,” explains the founder.
Kriyo is attempting to hit the sweet spot between them.
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