the big shift in the education enterprise is well underway. trust and preference are no longer dependent on institutional legacy or brick-and-mortar footprint. trust is now placed in institutions that prioritize a user-first digital experience, invest in product innovation, and lead with transparency.
the risks of swimming in these new waters are big, namely, being eaten, finding no fish, or swimming too far. and educators have operated from the same structural platform since the 16th century. in modern commerce, digital transformation and the pandemic has forced them to think of new ways. and this blue ocean has piqued the interest of venture capital investors, private equity funds, whale and shark investors.
as a result, digitally native education brands are well-positioned to meet these new consumer expectations. and traditional investors reorder themselves to compete. this year’s need for online classes and engagement for students across all age-groups has accelerated the need for seamless, convenient digital experiences.
demands and trends
many ed-tech startups are at it to democratize learning. picture lido, vedantu, upgrad, byju’s, gradeup, doubtnut, etc. this brings to the discussion a few demands.
no jostling for a spot in a tiny number of elitist schools. people are more interested in the experience of education than a certificate of the institutional brand. new consumer dynamics between parents, teachers, and students. new consumer technologies are on the rise like smart devices, virtual characters, machine learning, natural language, and voice recognition/processing. traditional academic classes and paths may go extinct. there’s no reason for one to study a vast pool of information when they can streamline and carve out a niche for themselves.
what’s the big deal about?
according to gartner, two tech-driven themes take the centre-stage this year: people-centric and smart spaces. for startups, this spells innovation and new business models to
- lower the reliance on physical locations and
- to allow for teachers to teach online with multi-format (1:1, 1:n) virtual classrooms
- deliver highly interactive and personalized content through digital-tech
when it comes to vc and pe funds, there’s immense opportunity across the spectrum of learning, practicing, and testing for target groups from 0-3 years old, 3-6 years, k-12 years, and into exam prep and adult training.
five primary reasons why edtech is looking attractive:
- the untapped opportunities
- need for a lifelong experience
- wider acceptance
- lower competition
- higher roi
navigating the blue ocean with thinksynq
to build on the momentum of the blue ocean scenario, the answer lies in kevin carey’s “university of everywhere,” even if it’s not going to be utopian. it’s inherent potential will take us there, the savviest players are embracing innovation and evolving their growth philosophy. the emerging winners in this race roll out digital strategies across mainstream, web, and app channels by putting customer behavior first. they also stay fluid to quickly intercept changes in consumer needs.
searches for “online education” and distance learning have grown globally year over year, and especially this 2020. swaha sahoo from parang initiative at tata trusts says,
right now education needs funders who have that vision, who are thinking ahead, in the long-term and asking, ‘what is beyond this emergency? what is beyond this crisis?’
the way forward
charting out navigable territories in these new waters is crucial to early wins. here’s where thinksynq helps vc and pe partners make confident decisions.
the core-problem in a competitive market
the influx of new users, their preferences, and other indicators for churn shows us time and again that the map is not the territory. while trends and evolving technologies can help us plan impressive blueprints on paper, the reality of it is far more complex than that. thinksynq helps spot real-world roadblocks and refocus on what, why, and how. another aspect of concern we care about is, remaining relevant in a competitive landscape so entrepreneurs are focused on the ‘must-solve’ instead of the ‘nice-to-solve.’ this includes:
- a good product-market fit
- audience profiling
- customer acquisition, retention, and renewals
- change management
in the words of sajith pal, director at blume ventures,
“vc investments have always been likened to rocket fuel or running on a treadmill. when we come in and invest, we want to see you grow 5x over the next 15 – 18 months and keep that momentum going after each round of financing.”
venture partners place a premium on rapid scalability. at thinksynq we enable startups to remain in the limelight by supporting their operations, sales, crm, and financial management.
it’s all too common today that a startup shuts down because of the insufficient runway. while cash burn is required to grow rapidly in the startup space, at thinksynq we help zero in on that which ultimately brings in revenue. the food-safe way to do it is to account for critical factors at the unit economics level. ultimately minimizing the loss of funding for the organization or returns for investors.
the business model
among other models, the most popular today are the freemium, pay-as-you-go, enterprise sales, and subscription models. consumer demands and market needs are fast-changing, making investors extremely curious about unique and innovative business models for more lucrative returns. a deep understanding of various business models and their impact on the ux and bottom-line of the business both in the short term as well as in the long term is key.
experience is significant on two levels for venture capitalists. startups whose founders have substantial experience in the edtech segment and the ever-growing need to satiate an experience hungry audience. both these factors are crucial to creating better, evolved, and more mature ideas for the edtech landscape.
challenges exist with digital tech, business models, customer acquisition, cash flow management, bookkeeping, regulatory compliance, investments, etc.
thinksynq can help navigate these challenges as the execution partner, with 360-degree functional expertise enabling business teams to maintain focus on the mission. we guide strategies just as much as we follow through with action. our vested interests lie in key metrics that can measure the way forward, looking through now and beyond, and reidentifying old elements to reinvent new ones. just as we should in a blue ocean!