Hemant Gupta is the Managing Director at BRTSIF (BIL Ryerson Technology Startup Incubator Foundation) and the MD & CEO of BSE Sammaan CSR Ltd. a fully owned Subsidiary of BSE Ltd. After 26 years at Citi, one of the largest Global Financial Powerhouses, where he worked in a wide variety of functions including Product Management, Technology, Operations and Internal Audit, in India and New York, Hemant decided to swap a large Corporate role for a more socially impactful role with BSE Sammaan, which helps Companies do more effective CSR. Hemant holds a Management degree from IIM Kolkata and an Engineering degree from IIT Chennai.
India has one of the largest education systems in the world, with more than 1.4 million schools, over 227 million students and more than 36,000 higher education institutes. The country has become the second-largest market for e-learning after the US. A research conducted by Google and KPMG estimates online education in India, the fastest-growing segment in the internet market, to mushroom by 8x into a $1.96 billion industry by 2021 from its current $247 million valuation, with around 9.6 million users.
From online courses, virtual classrooms, digital teaching tools in classes, and the use of cutting-edge technologies, the delivery and methodology of learning are changing. The booming sector has led to a diverse set of EdTech startups with different approaches to exploring the need gap. For the Indian EdTech players, there is also the potential to globalize the service beyond India.
Drivers for EdTech
- Enabling infrastructure such as high-speed mobile internet, seamless and widespread digital payments, along with the penetration of smartphones and cheap data rates has been a game-changer for the EdTech startup sector.
- By 2021, 771 million students are projected to enrol in at least one category of e-classes. The willingness of parents to spend on better quality of education has always existed in India. However, quality education has neither been easily available nor affordable for large parts of the country. The EdTech sector is filling that gap of access to quality tuition in the K-12 segment.
- Besides the enormous potential in school and college education, workforce-development has an excellent potential of expanding in India and overseas market and being competitive on both fronts. In India, 280 million job seekers are expected to enter the job market by 2050. Due to such intense competition, the need for industry-relevant training to land a better job is driving enrolments in the re-skilling and certification category.
- The majority of India’s leading EdTech startups are on the high end of the spectrum. The most prominent sub-sectors have been tested preparation, online certification, skill development, online discovery, STEAM kits, and enterprise solutions, among others.
- A large addressable population with differentiated needs across city tiers, income groups, languages and curricular needs present the opportunity for continued disruption and has room for multiple EdTech winners. Entrepreneurs that can acquire customers at low costs show high customer satisfaction, deep engagement, monetization, efficiency and high renewal rates will find the funding ecosystem will back innovations at growth stages.
- The high net promoter score in this category compared to other digital categories has demonstrated that good products can create value for consumers while also making it possible to monetize the platform
- Private equity and venture capital firms are also keenly investing in this sector and not just in K–12 (kindergarten to 12th grade) but also in online courses.
- The majority of India’s leading EdTech startups are on the expensive end of the spectrum. The most prominent sub-sectors have been tested preparation, online certification, skill development, online discovery, STEAM kits, and enterprise solution, among others.
- Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets and regional language hold the potential for growth and engagement if the cost of content development and customer acquisition can be managed efficiently.
Going forward, the key drivers of growth and opportunity in this space lie in products and services that reach middle and lower-middle income categories in regional languages. There is also tremendous scope for niche players that can address specific needs of either areas of learning or specific customer segments such as the students wishing to study overseas and their parents.