By Zishaan Hayath
The edtech industry has been around since late-1990s, but the last six years have seen an unprecedented boom. Since 1997, the global edtech industry has received a funding of close to $38 billion, and over 60% of this has come in the last three years. So, what is it about e-learning that has made it such a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors?
After-school learning solution
A few years ago, coaching classes were the primary after-school learning option. Sadly, they didn’t solve the problems students face. Most pack students into large batches, and teach them using a one-size-fits-all approach that does more harm than good. Students today need a personalised approach to learning that is based on their individual academic needs. This simply isn’t possible because of the very framework of coaching classes. In the end, coaching classes were just an expensive but mediocre after-school option. There is a genuine need for edtech apps that personalise learning for every student.
A large, untapped market
There are 250 million schoolgoing kids in India. Parents look for better learning solutions for their children, and e-learning apps fit their needs. Since the e-learning industry entered India just a few years ago, companies have a lot of untapped opportunities and a large market to capture before it’s even close to saturation.
Increasing access to the internet
Internet accessibility has seen a huge improvement even in small towns and villages. That means e-learning apps have the potential to reach out to every child across the country. As long as the child has access to the internet, he/she can learn better.
Lower company costs
Unlike coaching classes, edtech players don’t have to maintain monthly overhead costs of infrastructure, like classrooms and furniture. At a far lower cost, edtech players can scale to a larger level than coaching classes. When it comes to learning content, edtech players can create high-quality lectures just one time, enabling millions of children to access them at a low price. Most online courses are about 50% cheaper than their offline counterparts. This improves the affordability of the product.
Besides the need to solving challenging student learning problems, the market size of the edtech industry is reasonably large. According to a Google-KPMG report, this industry is set to touch $1.96 billion by 2021, from $247 million in 2016. With a well-designed product, incorporated with advance technology and built on millions of learning pieces, the stage is set for massive growth in the edtech world.
(The author is CEO & co-founder, Toppr, the learning app. Views are personal)