Not many two-year-old startups can boast of as many accolades as Delhi-based edtech startup EduRev - Startup of the Year (2019) at TieCON, Best App Award by Google, Editors’ Choice app on Playstore, and being awarded by the Punjab Governor for excellent work in the field of Education in Entrepreneurship.
Other honours include being selected by Facebook for the FBStart Programme, being chosen for AWS’ official Edtech programme, and winning the mBillionth Award for socially valuable innovations on mobile in South Asia.
Founded in 2017 by Kunaal Satija (28) and Hardik Dhamija (27), both engineering graduates from Punjab University, EduRev is an online marketplace for educational courses hosted and sold by teachers. With more than 1,000 courses, it covers entire school curriculums and syllabi for all major competitive exams, be it from post-school ones like JEE, NEET, etc. or thoese after college such as UPSC, CAT, etc.
The edtech startup has raised seed funding from Singapore-based Jaarvis Ventures and Delhi-based Neebhaw ventures. It got 1.1 million users in the first year, and has 3.9 million registered users today. It is expected to hit four million in two weeks, with more than 300 million visits recorded already.
Shifting from B2B to B2C
After graduation, Kunaal and Hardik built their college’s website, which got wide appreciation. Their college director spread the word about their work, which led to more projects with coaching institutes, as they wanted to be more tech-savvy and distribute their content via tablets, apps etc.
While selling custom solutions to schools and colleges as a B2B provider, the duo realised that one school at a time was a slow process. But transition from online to offline was necessary – with tech taking over every possible sector.
As they were dealing with multiple stakeholders in the education industry, they figured the core problems in the system: even though each student is unique, the learning method is pretty much the same for all. Also, the teacher-student ratio in India is around 1:200, which limits the students’ learning experience.
“This got us thinking. Can we make an edtech product that solves all of this, like become a personal teacher for every student while making education more fun and engaging?” Hardik recollects. Thus, their model shifted from B2B to B2C.
Since their clients, including tutors, wanted to use EduRev’s platform to distribute their content, a marketplace model was fitting. It was free for students, and in a year, they got one million users without any marketing.
EduRev’s partner-teachers get 20-40 percent commission on every sale of EduRev Infinity (that they convert). Further, each partner-teacher is offered a unique promotion code, which they can promote, and on conversion of which they get additional incentives.
EduRev’s built-in tech empowers teachers and publishers to distribute their content. In fact, EduRev’s team of 20 has eight people in tech. Following the model of US-based edtech platform Udemy, which had launched multiple apps for different courses, EduRev has launched more than 20 apps.
More than 200 educators including teachers, publishers (of textbooks), and coaching institutes, have partnered with EduRev. They offer their courses on EduRev on a revenue sharing model.
The platform’s in-house content curation team reviews all the content/courses created by educators/publishers as per the specified guidelines. This includes basic background check, as well as reviewing sample chapters submitted by the teachers. If they meet EduRev’s parameters, the teacher designs the complete course.
New courses are closely monitored for feedback and time spent (and exit rate) to help decide on whether they stay or not, or should be improved further. Additionally, the data is analysed and given to the educators with inputs like tests need to be short (or else users tend to leave sooner).
Kunaal adds, “Every teacher/publisher has to go through the same process to get their course published on EduRev. Out of the 100 or so requests we get, less than 10 teachers make the cut. We get about 10 requests a day.”
Powering an edtech revolution
Recently, the startup launched EduRev Infinity, a subscription-based model offering un-interrupted access to all courses on EduRev. Within the first 100 days of launch, the company claims to have got more than 6,000 (paid) users from across India and eight other countries, including Singapore, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, and Qatar, where many schools follow CBSE syllabus. Students from these countries also use EduRev to prepare for the same competitive exams (as in India). Some users come for technical courses like Java and Python languages. This programme has turned the startup operationally profitable.
Hardik says EduRev aims to be the ‘HotStar’ for premium courses, with the ‘Infinity’ model. Users can pay annually or monthly and use the platform infinitely. Their charges range from Rs 999 to Rs 4,999. Medical and engineering entrance courses, which cost around Rs 2,999, are the most popular. Humanities courses cost Rs 999.
EduRev’s user base is in the 13-27 age group, with a majority from Tier I cities. Hardik claims the social engagement enables learning better than video does. “Students grasp concepts more deeply in such broad approaches involving discussions,” he says. The number of paid users and engagement time on the website are the metrics, which EduRev works up on.
The founders claim that more than five lakh doubts have been asked and solved on EduRev so far. In fact, Hardik says the user-to-question ratio on EduRev is 10x of Quora (which has 100 million users). EduRev’s paid user engagement is 4x more than BYJU’s free users, as per data from App Annie.
Future of the revolution
According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the e-learning sector in India is expected to reach $1.96 billion by 2021. EduRev is set on making the best of this huge market, by reinvesting all profit into marketing and growth. This fiscal, EduRev aims to onboard 500-1,000 teachers, 10 million users, and cross $1 million in revenues.
With VCs approaching them, EduRev is soon planning to raise funding. EduRev’s valuation was $1.5 million two years ago. Last year, it raised a small round at $3.5 million valuation. (But their numbers have more than doubled since then, and the revenue model was launched after that. Hence, Hardik says, the present valuation can be commented upon only after the fund raise this year.)
EduRev’s app has seen 2x growth in usage frequency in the last 12 months. (EduRev’s main app has 2.5 million downloads while the website has 1.5 million users.)
Further, Chinese online businesses conglomerate NetEase (which also runs the U-Dictionary app in India) is tying up with EduRev to launch live classes in India. Hardik claims that some European parties have also shown interest in launching franchise model there. But EduRev’s current focus remains on India.
A few months ago, Hardik got an email from the principal of a school in East Sikkim, saying that the EduRev app had become very popular in the school, with students using it regularly. If nothing else, it is surely a sign of better things to come in the online education industry itself.