Once educational institutions reopen in 2021, EdTech will be able to maintain its momentum
EdTech startups had a great start in 2021, due to the momentum generated in 2020 when the world went into lockdown and online learning became the norm. Everyone, from investors to customers, saw EdTech firms as the only way to keep the flow of knowledge continuing. The new year promises to be another banner year for educational technology in the EdTech industry, with new business models and markets emerging, but for how long? Many institutions and universities are seeking to restore normal operations now that the vaccination is available. Several nations, notably India, have already begun their simulations of a future where vaccines come first.
In 2020, there was a significant spike in online learning across all age groups, and this is expected to continue in 2021, assuming that the pandemic’s residual effects will last at least a few months. Experts feel that to keep consumers, EdTech firms will need to add more personalized content and appealing tech approaches to their platforms. Bertelsmann India Investments, Orios Venture Partners, and BlackSoil investors all agreed that tailored educational content will be available in 2021, addressing distribution difficulties and perhaps influencing market share. Startups like Tekie, Quizziz, Josh Skills, and others are already creating content in a variety of disciplines, from coding to K-12 learning to upskilling, to compete with established companies.
When children return to school, the need for educational technology will almost certainly remain. Coursera, BYJU’s, and Vedantu are among the EdTech solutions that allowed schools and colleges to go online during the lockdown, and they are anticipated to assist the institutions in reopening, automating aspects of the management, and deploying learning management systems. Experts predict that technology will play a larger role in education in 2021, but that selling to schools will remain a struggle for the foreseeable future. While B2B EdTech is gaining traction, Anup Jain of Orios Venture Partners believes the industry will transition to a hybrid model rather than a pure offline or online approach. This will expand the B2B market and provide opportunities for EdTech firms. Kneura, Classpro, and Upswing Learning are some of the firms in this space.
The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), which supports a digitized form of learning, has been the largest gift from the Indian government to Indian EdTech platforms. The policy is in place, and remedies are accessible, but there is one crucial element lacking from the whole picture. Infrastructure, technology such as smartphones and laptops, and the price quotient will be the biggest issues in advanced imaging. While the first two challenges are beyond the EdTech firms‘ control, they must concentrate on providing more inexpensive ways to bridge the gap between India and Bharat. This would not only help businesses get a larger market share but will also enable them to provide holistic solutions to address the worldwide education gap. According to experts, startups that have previously only given premium courses must now cater to the mass market through product innovation, similar to what we witnessed in fintech with loan and insurance products.
After receiving investment from SoftBank, Unacademy became the second EdTech firm in India to join the unicorn club. BYJU’S, meanwhile, joined the decacorn club, raising its value from US$8 million to US$12 million. In 2021, additional firms in the Indian EdTech industry are likely to join the unicorn club, with Eruditus and Vedantu being the front-runners. After raising US$113 million in Series D funding at a valuation of US$850 million, Eruditus is on the verge of joining the unicorn club. In collaboration with international business institutions, the firm offers executive education programs. Vedantu, which provides an interactive online tutoring platform, was valued at US$600 million during its US$100 million Series D fundraising round, which was headed by Coatue and included previous investors.
Overall, the year 2021 has been a watershed moment for the Indian EdTech industry, which has seen a huge growth in its user base. Using our unicorns as an example, Byju’s acquired 33 million users to reach 75 million, while Unacademy quadrupled its user base to 40 million. As kids return to schools and colleges, this momentum is anticipated to slow down. However, owing to the increase observed in 2021, EdTech or educational technology goods and services will remain a feasible alternative for individuals who may not have the luxury of rejoining their classmates in class.