Indian higher education edtech space is going to get bigger

By: |
April 5, 2021 3:30 AM

KopyKitab today covers 8% of the addressable market, with a user base of 7 million (all organic) and an 80% returning user base.

classThere are 40 million students in colleges who spend $40 billion yearly on their education content and tutorials.

Founded by Sumeet Verma and Amit Shrivastava, KopyKitab is a digital library, and has the largest collection of e-books and branded digital content for higher education, K12, and professional and competitive exams. “We have a strong foundation of leading publishers and tutorials as content partners, and aim to bridge the gap between content providers and students,” Verma, the CEO & co-founder, shares in an interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary. Excerpts:

The pandemic has brought to the fore the digital divide when it comes to educating kids…

During our academic years, quality educational experiences weren’t available to all and industry was yet to go through a technological disruption. Students from small towns had limited access as compared to those in tier-1 cities and metros. The struggle to procure higher education textbooks, tutorials and notes for students living in smaller towns was real, and two decades later not much has changed. We understood the pain from our own experience as me and the co-founder (Amit Shrivastava) grew up in small towns and have the same alma mater, Sainik School, Rewa.

There are 40 million students in colleges who spend $40 billion yearly on their education content and tutorials. We saw it as a market opportunity and came up with KopyKitab to help students to manage their full learning lifecycle. The idea was to democratise learning.

KopyKitab today covers 8% of the addressable market, with a user base of 7 million (all organic) and an 80% returning user base. We basically support a student’s entire learning lifecycle, from school to college to competitive exams, by providing live tutorials by faculty from top institutions.

How much traffic do you see from smaller cities?

Tier-2 and tier-3 cities and languages are opening up more for us. Currently, we are getting 67% traffic from these cities and are addressing in seven languages. We are looking to engage 10 million users in the next one year.

We are also investing in technology (AI/ML) for better relevancy, team, branding and overseas collaborations too (getting 7% organic traffic from overseas). New services introduced are already doubling on a month-on-month basis.

What is your next milestone as far as revenues are concerned?

We are aiming at $100 million revenue as the first milestone (1 million paid users spending $100 on our platform).

Isn’t the edtech space in India too cluttered, already?

Higher education has been an underserved market in India, even as there are Unicorns such as Chegg, Course Hero and Huike in similar space globally. After K12, now it’s about higher education where it is all about serious money (annual spend of approximately $40 billion). There is huge scope for growth, so there are reasons to seriously look at this sector.

At the same time, every start-up has its lifecycle, and that’s how you grow, from small to big to bigger. The strategy to follow is to focus on execution, offering what your customer wants, and keep them delighted all the time.

But over the next 2-3 years do you foresee consolidation happening in the Indian edtech space?

I can’t say consolidation, but more models, solving real problems, better offerings and geographical expansion would be the larger opportunities for Indian edtech companies. It’s just getting started.

According to a report by Anand Rathi Advisors Limited (ARAL), India’s edtech space saw investment of $2.1 billion in calendar year 2020 (as compared to $1.7 billion in the entire previous decade). What kind of funds did KopyKitab raise?

We raised fresh round of funding from a clutch of well-known institutional and angel investors like Pactolus (Singapore), Stanford Angels (led by Paula Mariwala), and ace investors like Praveen Gandhi, Jeenendra Bhandari, Mohit Dubey and Manoj Mehta.

How will higher education change in the post-pandemic era?

There is higher acceptability of digital learning and content. Small town students don’t necessarily have to move to big cities for learning needs, as they have equally good or better options online and at affordable prices. Education would get more informal and learning-based. Similarly, there now are virtual internships and apprenticeships options. Higher education edtech space is going to get bigger.

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