2019-2020 proved to be the year of Ed-tech startups in India with a great amount of funding, celebrity endorsements and booster for online learning due to COVID outbreak. Wizikey, Asia’s first PR and communication platform has collated interesting trends across industries using its AI and ML-based Technology and created a report on the top newsmakers of 2019-20 in the Ed-tech world. The report has been created after a thorough study of all the news published in the sector from May 2019 to April 2020.
The startups shortlisted as top Newsmakers of 2019-20 were: Byju’s, upGrad, Eduisfun, Gradeup, Collegedekho, Unacademy and Classplus.
Here are the top newsmakers in the ed-tech category for the year 2019:
Anshul Sushil, Co-founder and CEO of Wizikey said, “The analysis done by Wizikey’s AI has been surprising, from live classrooms learning to high-engaging modules, the learning and medium of education in India has gone through a paradigm shift. With the proliferation of smartphones in education and major investments made in the sector has opened multiple avenues for the Indian ed-tech players. The Wizikey Newsmaker report revealed that these companies have made news spikes on high traffic registrations, fundings, partnerships, and celebrity endorsements.”
Commenting on the report, Arjun Mohan, India CEO at upGrad,”In India, we have never had a crisis that redefines skilling, but this is the period and Lifelong Learning is expected to be the new normal. Honestly, the COVID-19 outbreak has been net positive for an entity like us or the edtech sector, at large. Considering the need of the time, we, at upGrad, opened our live learning platform to all schools, colleges, educational institutions, NGO’s and Government Bodies in mid-March itself. Currently, we have 50+ institutions, who are conducting their classes seamlessly through the upGrad Live platform with over 45,000 students registered. Furthermore, the adoption of online education continues to propel in India with a recent announcement by FM Nirmala Sitharaman.”
India’s biggest ed-tech firm Byju’s has had a good year in terms of the volume of coverage it received. Keeping in mind the coronavirus pandemic, Byju’s announced free learning on its platform. As a result, its traffic increased by 60%. Byju’s became India’s third-largest unicorn after raising $200 million from Tiger Global Management. The founder of Byju’s, Byju Raveendran also made a noticeable debut in the Forbes Top 100 Richest Indians and showed him as India’s richest Ed-Tech entrepreneur. It also replaced Chinese Mobile Company Oppo and became the official Indian Cricket Team sponsor for the period starting from 5 September 2019 to 31 March 2022. It witnessed a rapid growth in their number of students from diverse Indian cities.
Gradeup is a Noida-based exam preparation platform founded by Sanjeev Kumar, Shobhit Bhatnagar and Vibhu Bhushan in 2013. It raised $7 million in its Series A funding round from Times Internet (TIL). The company planned to use the funds to scale its tech and product capabilities, diversify offerings and expand the academic team. Gradeup collaborated with Tiktok on its initiative of Edutok that focused on giving new internet users access to high-quality content to boost their learning. It also conducted a survey among 10,000 students preparing for entrance exams which revealed that 90% of Indian students prefer online classes over offline classes.
Unacademy founded by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Sachin Gupta. Unacademy began as a youtube educational channel and transitioned into an ed-tech startup. Indian Cricket Captain Virat Kohli and famous actress Anushka Sharma became brand ambassadors for Unacademy as they hosted a live class on Unacademy where they shared their life lessons. It also crossed 1 billion minutes worth of watch time across its youtube channel in March 2020. Unacademy conducted more than 100,000 live classes on the platform, including over 25,000 free live classes in the month of March 2020. It raised funds worth $110 mn as social media giant Facebook joined others such as General Atlantic and Sequoia India.
upGrad founded in 2015, offers online programs in the areas of data, technology and management for working professionals and has over 21,500 paid subscribers. upGrad acqui-hired Cohort Plus – A community platform that puts like-minded career aspirants in contact. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) partnered with upGrad, to make futuristic subjects like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning accessible to all.
Classplus, a Noida based startup founded by Rustagi and Bhaswat Agarwal raised $2.5 million in its pre-Series A round of funding from Blume Ventures and Sequoia Capital India’s Surge programme for early-stage ventures. The ed-tech startup raised Rs 11 crore in May in a pre-series A round of funding led by Times Internet Ltd. The company will use the funds to expand its product offerings and scale up its leadership team and operations.
Gurugram-based ed-tech startup CollegeDekho was started by founders Ruchir Arora, Saurabh Jain, Rohit Saha, and Rajiv Singh. It is a SaaS platform connecting students and colleges and offering them opportunities to explore universities based on ranking and other preferences. It announced its acquisition of Delhi-based student’s guidance overseas business – Scholarship Facilitation Services Pvt. Ltd. (SFS) for an undisclosed amount.
Eduisfun, a 6-year-old startup was founded by Jatin Solanki and Praveen Tyagi launched its own gamified learning app called STEPApp. The app which has a total of 2 million downloads has got its content curated by a team of IIT professionals and doctors who have experience in teaching for competitive entrance exams. Eduisfun received generous funding of Rs. 200 Cr by its high-profile angel investors including Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, Ogilvy Group chief creative officer Piyush Pandey and PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Russel Parera.