Edutech startups in India gaining prominence

Online education in India is big business

From providing online degree courses to using virtual reality aids in classrooms, edutech has become a vast domain that is slowly gaining acceleration

What is frequently called edutech can be explained as using technology or computers to aid teaching methods. From providing online degree courses to using virtual reality aids in classrooms, edutech has become a vast domain that is slowly gaining traction. Technology is spreading its arms to embrace all the aspects of modern lifestyle, and education is no exception to this change. The use of technology to enhace educational experience is widespread. However, the interference of technology in traditional methods may not be favorable for the traditional book and print industry. Instead of turning it into an opportunity, which it is, albeit requiring a different perhaps more agile kind of print service, it could become a huge challenge if not addressed or understood in its entirety.
The education sector, on the other hand, seems to be accepting the far-reaching scope of the internet to enhance the learning experience. Today, there are approximately 3,500 edutech startups in India, according to INC42 Data Labs. Despite the conventional education system dominating the country, edutech is slowly finding its way into the overall learning experience of students. According to INC42, most of the reputed schools in Tier-1 cities of India are using the services of edutech companies to incorporate smart learning techniques in their curriculum. Augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) laboratories are some of the technologies offered by edutech startups already revolutionizing the Indian learning process.

Edutech attracts invesment

In 2014, edutech startups in India raised up to Rs. 3.25 rore (US$ 500,000) across 32 deals and in 2018, the same market segment bagged Rs. 70 crores (US$ 10 million) across 56 deals excluding Byju’s. The number is expected to go up to Rs. 196 crores (US$ 25 million) in 2021, according to INC42 Data Labs. Something that started as an enhancement tool in education has evolved into an interesting business arena. The potential of the market segment is immense owing to its convinience, adaptability and cost-effectiveness. Meanwhile, Byju’s has itself raised almost US$ 500 million in 9 nine rounds to become a company worth more than Rs. 37,000 crore or US$ 5.38 billion.

Byju’s is valued more than US$ 5 billion

Byju’s is among the most popular edutech startups in India. Founded by Byju Raveendran in 2015, the app focuses on primary and secondary students and has more than 3 lakh paid subscribers. Overall, it is belived that the company has a base of 30 million (3 crore) users of whom 2 million (20 lakh) are paid users. Having raised Rs. 214 crore (US$ 31 million) in the latest round of financing by General Atlantic and Tencent, the company which has raised almost US$ 800 million in nine rounds of financing is now valued at more than US$ 5.38 billion (Rs. 37,000 crore). Although the company is still not profitable, it is expected to reach a revenue of Rs. 1400 in this financial year.

Conventional learning systems such as tuition classes and classroom teaching methods are gradually losing to edutech. With increasing competition among college applicants and job seekers alike, smart work oriented edutech startups are coming up with new, interesting concepts that help students to learn better. Massively open online courses (MOOCs), skill-based education and test preparation tools are among some of the popular concepts benefitting working professionals and students.

For students looking for colleges and educational courses best suited for them, College Dekho, started in 2010, has become a popular portal to compare, apply, save colleges and prepare for admissions. In terms of helping learn and prepare for CBSE, ICSE and state boards exams, Meritnation has compiled a vast store of high quality study material, tests and proficiency tests for students between classes IV and XII. These are examples of some of the most popular forms of edutech startups that are taking on the assiduous task of transforming the education system along with the future of students, teachers and job seekers.

Eductech in India could become Rs. 150,000 crore industry

With high quality and reliable learning resources, edutech startups are strenghtening the future generation and thereby transforming the future of the country. The new learning mechanism not only equips students with better knowledge but the personalized courses and resources allow them to cultivate necessary skills and prepare them for the roles in futuristic professional fields they seek and strive for. In the times where quality educational experience is looking at technology to improve itself, the only challenge that remains is the availability of desired jobs.

India represents a large share of the global online education market, which is estimated to reach about US$ 200 billion in 2020. Some estimates put the Indian edutech opportunity as high as US$ 25 to 30 billion (Rs. 150,000 to Rs. 210,000 crore) by just 2020.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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