Sector in Focus: Indian Edtech startups Emerging stars


Education sector in India is in revolution phase. New concept based education policy; spread of internet across the country, and quality education startup in the sector boosted the whole education concept in India.

The digitalization in education get boost due to covid19 pandemic. Maximum education is going online from March 2020. This will changed the system and boosted many startups to provide digital education at affordable rates.

Previously we saw that many offline coaching institution and classes getting higher fees from students as tuition fees and charging boarding and lodging is extra.

Indian EdTech Marker Overview and opportunity

According to the Indian Ministry of Human Resources, the country’s school system has 1.3 million schools that annually teach an estimated 250 million students, a figure more than the entire population of Brazil.

Research company Technavio estimated that India’s online education market is set to expand by $14.3 billion between 2020 and 2024, registering annual growth of over 21% during the period.

In other report, Titled as ‘The Great Un-Lockdown: Indian Edtech’, the report mentioned that Indian online education platforms have raised $4 billion in the last five years (2016-2020).

A 6 per cent CAGR in student enrolment is expected to be seen in the market which will boost the market to approximately 53 million in FY25. The online lifelong learning market will expand as well as the pandemic has instituted the requirement for continuous learning. Certainly, good times are ahead for the EdTech players and students.

A report by RedSeer and Omidyar Network India says the coronavirus pandemic has proved to be one of the biggest game-changers for India’s edtech sector. Online education offerings for Classes 1 to 12 are projected to increase 6.3 times by 2022, creating a $1.7 billion market. The post-K12 market is set to grow 3.7 times to touch $1.8 billion. This will create meaningful opportunities for incumbent players and space for multiple new startups.
It revealed that edtech users – both paid and free unique users – in K12 and post K-12 segment have seen an increase, with the user base doubling from 45 million to 90 million. 

K-12 and Test Preparation companies accounted for the largest share ($1.98 billion), followed by Continued Learning ($142 million), Higher Education ($84 million), Pre-K ($12 million) and B2B Edtech companies ($7 million).

Indian edtech startups eyes on the big market of 360 million learners across the coutry, total market size is about $117 billion. Revolution in internet availability and affordable, give them option to learn from distance via edtech platforms.

The report further said around $49 billion is spent on school education, 66% of which is spent on primary education and 27% on secondary education. The report noted that the education sector has received growing attention from the government with budgetary allocation increasing from $ 11.3 billion in 2018-19 to $13.2 billion in 2020-21.

India’s edtech market will touch $3.5B by 2022. Indian Private Equity with Venture Capital Association (IVCA) and PGA Labs released a report in which they mentioned that total education market is around $117 billion in India, from these $49 billion is spend on school education, while $ 42 billion is spent on supplementary education, this primarily comprises private coaching and test preparation.

Indian Edtech Market Leader

Unacademy platform provide online coaching at affordable price from top rated educator of India. Students who are unable to afford the coaching fees, hostel fees of coaching institutions are now get benefit from this platform. BYJU’S massive growth and Digital India initiative brought the wave of revolution in online education. In August, Byju’s acquired WhiteHat Jr, an online coding school for young kids, for $300 million (Rs 2,223 crore). 

The digitalization of skills and education in India has attracted attention from global funds. According to data from Crunchbase, 228 funding rounds have raised $2.3 billion to date this year. The latest was a $100 million series D funding obtained by edtech company Vedantu.

The biggest player in the online space in the South Asian country is Byju’s, a Bangalore-based startup with a valuation that reached $10.5 billion after its latest funding round from U.S. tech investment company Bond Capital. The undisclosed amount made the company India’s second-most valuable decacorn, or private startup worth $10 billion or more, after payment app Paytm.

Education technology startup Unacademy is finalising a deal to raise around $150 million in fresh equity funding led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which will lend the Bengaluru-based firm a pre-money valuation of $1.3 billion.

Another edtech platform attracting both investors and students is upGrad. It has spent 1 billion rupees ($13.3 million) over the past year on a proprietary tech platform that provides brick and mortar institutes with the capability to seamlessly replicate their classes online. Its operator, Mumbai-based upGrad Education, says that over 100 colleges and universities in India use upGrad Live with 100,000 students accessing the platform. The company also said that it expects to exceed $150 million in revenue in 2020.

With extra preparation many edtech startups provides online coaching app development to many courses of skill development. Some of the most recognised names in this sector, including UpGrad, Coursera, Udemy, SimpliLearn, among others offer personalised, certified programmes, helping professionals upskill themselves through content from academia, as well as industry subject matter experts. 

Today, most of higher education and competitive exam preparation is easily available due to the digitalization in education. BYJU’S and Unacademy are leader in this sector and they have raised the most capital of $ 2.32 billion and $ 354 million in past five years, respectively.

Venture Investment if Indian Edtech startups

In the previous year 2020 Indian edtech startups raised record of $ 2.22 billion in 2020 alone, compared to $ 553 million in 2019. This is 400% jump in fundraising. Investor attract due to robust opportunity in the sector. Beyond these two startups, other 61 startups raised seed funding from investor.

At least 92 players attracted funding in 2020, out of which 61 players received seed funding.

Titled as ‘The Great Un-Lockdown: Indian Edtech’, the report mentioned that Indian online education platforms have raised $4 billion in the last five years (2016-2020). “Indian edtech startups received a total investment of $2.22 billion in 2020 alone, compared to $553 million in 2019.

Doubtnut, InterviewBitClassplusTestbookLido Learning, Toddle, Pesto Tech are the edtech startups which raised funds in 2020 to enhance their technology and pan India presence.

Most of reputed coaching institutions also started online coaching via digital platforms. Now, they are facing tough competition from these technology based edtech startups.

Today students from small towns are getting coaching via these startups from top rated faculties. Most of the Kota based coaching institutions are getting tough competition from edtech startups. B2B education startups raised comparatively less funding from investor, they received total funding of $31 million in 2017-2020.

The education market is expected to grow twofold to $225 billion by FY25 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 % over FY20-25, the report said.

According to the survey, the education and edtech market can be divided into five segments of pre-K, K-12 and test preparation, higher education, continued learning, and B2B edtech.

 “EdTech is one sector which goes in sync with the Moore’s Law, with the advancing tech, education technologies in India have become a change maker. This report covers investment activities across edtech and analyses what the future of innovation holds in the next decade,” said Rajat Tandon, president, IVCA.

“Whereas these are testing times for so many entrepreneurs globally, edtech in India has emerged a clear winner, this report also projects how new unicorns are being presented globally, putting India yet again on the Globe in regards to tech, innovation, and digital consumption.” 

“Large shifts in learner requirements are reshaping the education and edtech landscape globally. With an increase in focus on self-paced learning, an informed selection of tools/aids on top of better awareness and accessibility, and the idea of continuous learning beyond schools and colleges via professional education courses are driving innovations in the way learning content is being a consumer and delivered in India,” added Madhur Singhal, practice leader, education, employment and entrepreneurship, Praxis Global Alliance, in the statement released.

”Digitization of educational institutions and learning ecosystem, continuous learning for employability and professional career growth, and student-lifecycle services such as student housing and fintech in education are some of the whitespaces where the next edtech unicorn can emerge from India in the next decade,” commented Vaibhav Tamrakar, vice president, PGA Labs.

These edtech startups destroy the monopoly of top coaching institution and give wider opportunity to students to get quality education of their choice from the place of their choice; this is the big revolution in Indian education industry.

Key points of Report- The Great ‘Un-Lockdown’: Indian EdTech

  • Government with budgetary allocation increasing from US$ 11.3B in 2018-19 to US$ 13.2B in 2020-21.
  • Education is a US$ 117B market in India with 360M learners in FY20
  • US$ 49B is spent on school Education, of which primary Education comprises 66% of the spend, followed by secondary Education at 27%
  • US$ 42B is spent on supplementary Education, which primarily comprises private coaching and test preparation
  • Education and EdTech market can be divided into 5 segments: Pre-K, K-12 and Test preparation, Higher Education, Continued learning and B2B EdTech
  • Indian EdTech startups received a total investment of US$ 2.22B in 2020 alone, compared to US$ 553M in 2019
  • 92 players received funding in 2020, out of which 61 players received seed funding
  • BYJU’S and Unacademy raised the most capital, US$ 1.35B and US$ 264M respectively, in 2020
  • B2B EdTech has received a total funding of US$ 31M in 2017-2020
  • India is one of the largest market for Education with 360M learners in FY20
Indian Edtech map categories

The map illustrates the following Edtech categories

  1. K-12 Learning — This category includes companies like BYJU’S (Honestly, everyone thinks BYJU’s is the successful Edtech startup in India, but I think the company is hoarding money and talent while the results aren’t that rosy. If you want me to write about it, Let me know in the comments.), Vedantu and Genius Corner which tutor kids and school students with high-quality videos focused on academic curriculum.
  2. Test Prep — Companies like TopprTestbook, and Careeranna focus on solutions that help students prepare for standardized and competitive tests like, GRE, IIT-JEE, NEET and so on.
  3. Broad Online Learning — This category includes most widely known startups like UnacedemyUdacity, and startups that host educational content covering subjects ranging from math, science to music production and photography.
  4. Tech Learning — Similar to the broad online learning companies, startups like Coding LabsEdureka provide platforms that cater specifically to teaching programming.
  5. Apps and Games for Kids — Companies like ShifuNurtr, create educational games for children like mobile educational apps, storybooks, and toys to help them learn better.
  6. Network, Communication, and Portals — Startups like Kriger Campus provide a platform for students and educators to network, stay in touch with other students and find mentors. While startups like MeetUniversity helps students find colleges and portals like JustDakhila helps users compare schools.
  7. Finance — Startups like FInBucketInCred provide tailored educational loans and help students apply for scholarships.
  8. Language Learning — Startups like Knudge.me and Vokal helps students learn English and other languages through gamified mobile applications.

Using CB Insights data, we uncovered 48 notable edtech startups in the country and sorted them across 8 subcategories, from language learning to test prep.

Data source:

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