Next Big Export from India- EdTech 🧑💻🇮🇳🌏
Why is it raining money for Indian EdTech startups with over $2.5B raised in 2021 already? After IT services, can education be the next big export opportunity for India? Find out!
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India’s EdTech market in 2020 stood at $2.8B, and is expected to reach $10B by 2025 (source). While the numbers look promising on their own, a comparison of the market opportunity with China (before the EdTech ban) shows that there is a long way to go.
Although India has ~300M students, whereas China has ~200M students, due to factors such as internet penetration, access to mobile phones and consumer spending, China’s EdTech market is ~20X larger than the Indian EdTech market (as of 2020).
In spite of this, the Indian EdTech companies continue to be blessed with capital, with reports of more global capital being infused, especially after the Chinese government’s stringent curbs on EdTech.
Indian EdTech companies are attracting global investors, not just because of ~300M+ students in India, but the ~1.5B students across the world. It is apparent that the Indian EdTech players are building for the world - and seemingly Education could be the next big export from India.
India is the software superpower of the world! 🌏
It is a needless reiteration that India is the software hub of the world, just like China is for manufacturing. In fact, India ranked third as the most attractive investment destination for technology transactions in the world (Source: EY’s 14th biannual Global Capital Confidence Barometer).
India is home to some of the largest IT companies in the world!
Key drivers: language, internet access tech-talent, and price arbitrage 🚀
After the US, India has the second largest population of English speakers at about 125-150M. This enables individuals to work on global projects and collaborate with clients across the world.
According to industry estimates, ~1.5M engineers graduate in India every year. India’s tech workforce is mature for global technology, with immense push for digital skilling in the IT services.
Of the 1.5M engineering graduates every year, only 0.25M are able to find good jobs. Due to the high supply of tech-talent, it is affordable for global tech companies to outsource work to India.
Global EdTech Market: $227B+ 💸
Indian EdTech companies are building for the world and targeting a $227B+ market, which is expected to reach $400B+ by 2025.
Fun fact: EdTech is the only industry where an Indian company (BYJU’s) is #1 globally. After raising $1.5B at a $21B valuation in August 2021, BYJU’s is in talks to go public at $40-50B valuation.
BYJU’s international geographies account for 70% business!
Tutoring, Content and EdTech Infra are most relevant themes for Indian players 📈
As mentioned above, India is home to 125-150M English speakers. Hence, Indian EdTech companies have the potential to build tutoring capacity for the English native markets.
India has over ~10M teachers, which is not even enough for 300M students in India. But there is a huge potential for up-skilling individuals to become teachers for global markets and teach online. India’s female labor participation is ~16% (source) and online tutoring opportunities at scale can potentially improve this.
Indians are recognized across the world for excellence in subjects like Math, Science, etc. which adds credibility to platforms offering STEM courses.
Indian teachers can deliver live tutoring at affordable hourly rates, like $4-6/ hour, which provides significant cost advantage compared to international teachers, hence Indian EdTech companies can outcompete their international peers in live tutoring.
BYJU’s acquired WhiteHatJr, a live coding platform in mid 2020 for $300M to start a global live tutoring business. It launched ‘BYJU’s Future School’ to teach math, coding and music across the world in live-tutoring format. As per industry estimates, currently BYJU’s Future School, which has over 18K teachers, does ~$20M monthly revenue with 70% business across international markets.
Cuemath is a Bangalore-based soon-to-be-unicorn Math live tutoring company. It is similar to the digital version of Kumon- Established in 1958, it’s a Japanese offline math tutoring platform centered around personalized worksheets with 4M+ students across the world.
Cuemath launched in international markets in 2020 and has been successfully growing business in North America.
In higher-ed and up-skilling, Indian EdTech companies can launch content focused products in the domestic market. After achieving PMF, these products can travel across borders, to English native markets without needing to localize.
Content can also be acquired in partnership with international universities which is in high demand in India, as well as global markets.
Headquartered in Mumbai, Eruditus partners with global universities to offer executive and certificate courses to students across the world. In August, 2021, it raised $650M at a $3.2B valuation led by Accel and Softbank. With over $350M annualized revenue, Eruditus has only ~5% of its business in India.
Also, it is one of the few EdTech companies in the world that has successfully launched business in China.
Simplilearn is a global up-skilling platform focusing on digital economy skills- AI, Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, Dev Ops etc. In July 2021, Blackstone acquired a 60% controlling stake in Simplilearn for $250M.
Delivery of courses happen in MOOC + Cohort Based format.
EdTech Infra ⚒️
With so much development in EdTech, infrastructure has become fundamentally important. Just like how fin-tech infra is critical for enabling payments, similarly EdTech-infra is crucial for delivering for EdTech at scale and allowing entrepreneurs to build innovative EdTech propositions.
Some interesting analogies could be:
Shopify ($186B) is an e-commerce platform for companies to build their e-commerce stores and sell online.
Stripe ($95B) is a suite of payment APIs that powers commerce for online businesses.
Plaid ($13.4B) enables all companies to build fin-tech solutions like lending, payments, wealth, etc.
EdTech infra companies are product and distribution first, with less reliance on high CAC spends. Indian tech talent, as discussed above, is credible globally to build SAAS products.
I am most excited about opportunities in this space, since companies can hyper scale with small teams, traveling vertically and horizontally (geographically).
Headquartered in Bangalore, Teachmint is a platform for teachers and coaching institutes to launch their digital classroom. Started in March 2020, the company has raised over $40M and is rumoured to be raising another $70M at $500M valuation.
Teachmint is planning to aggressively expand in emerging markets like Indonesia, Vietnam, Africa, etc. to help teachers and institutes manage their business – online or offline.
Based out of Bangalore, Quizizz is a tool for teachers and corporates for creating and distributing gamified quizzes. Started in 2015, the company reached over 50M MAUs, with $0 CAC, across the world with a small team of 20 individuals (2020). It raised $31.5M in June 2021 at a ~$300M valuation, led by Tiger Global.
Final Thoughts 💭
Indian SAAS companies have a huge potential to compete in the global tech ecosystem, but EdTech companies from India are set to outperform their global peers.
Indian EdTech companies should have a global mindset from inception, even though the GTM can be prioritized strategically.
It is essential to pick themes and value propositions that might have wider applicability beyond domestic borders. For example, it’s very difficult to compete with local test prep platforms because of deeper localization needed on the course curriculum and pedagogy.
To initiate localization beyond domestic markets, it is important to build a global team and hire local country managers who can provide unique insights about the respective markets.
Lastly, none of the material above is intended to suggest that EdTech companies should ignore local opportunities in India. In fact, it is the need of the hour to take the advances of EdTech to the underprivileged population for K12 as well as up-skilling, and contribute to social and economic development.
If you are an EdTech founder, looking to access global markets, feel free to reach out for a chat!
Bonus- Brightchamps, one of the fast-growing global co-curricular learning companies, is hiring! If you can relate to the ‘global-EdTech from India’ thesis and are looking to build along similar lines, why not reach out to Brightchamps team - email@example.com