Until recently, people at Lido Learning, a new educational startup company, would often be cut short by potential customers as soon as they heard “online tuitions.” Of the parents who did not hang up, only a quarter of the rest or one out of three would end up buying a subscription. By March, Lido Learning, whose educators gave math, science and English lessons on the internet to students from grade IV-IX in real time, had sold to students from grade IV-IX.
The organization increased its subscription revenue over the following three months. Students are currently spending 90 minutes on an average on the network each day, which can be seen as a substantial increase as compared to max. an hour earlier. A distribution team comprising of only 200 odd personnel has made marketing much more efficient and smoother. Rather than illustrating the idea of online schooling to customers, what the organization wants to do now is show them how “we ‘re better than others,” said Sahil Sheth, CEO of Lido Education.
The company, Vedantu, the industry pioneer in K-12 live classes (kindergarten through grade XII), was hit by the influx of new students in early April, causing an unprecedented shortage of teaching assistants. The company’s teachers were now instructing 1,000 students instead of 300-400 students in each class. 1 million students attended live classes on Vedantu in May, up from 200,000 in usual times. Only a small fraction of these were paid users, but monthly revenues still jumped by more than three times from January, CEO Vamsi Krishna said. “What was happening in a year’s time in terms of growth happened in three months’ time,” he said.
The pandemic-driven growth of online education has been so broad that it’s tough to locate an educational company that hasn’t taken a parallel route. From industry giants to smaller companies, investors are quite optimistic this is the sector’s defining moment.
In India, education has always had a quasi-religious significance, as a degree is seen as the only means of prosperity. With schools and colleges shut down, disarray entrance exam schedules, inaccessible offline classes, parents and students are even more concerned about the future than usual, prompting them to try online tuitions like never before.
“Usually, when a new category is being created, companies have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising over 8-10 years to get customers to shift from offline to online. In the case of edtech, this is happening super-fast because of the lockdown and because all the schools have gone online,” Lido Learning’s Sheth said.
The online education industry continues to be split into two categories by founders and investors: K-12 and post K-12. Both divisions, which in effect have several different verticals, had evolved rapidly anyway. The growth has been massively exacerbated by the pandemic. By 2022, the K-12 industry would grow by six times to approximately $ 1.7 billion, while the post K-12 sector would rise by nearly four times to $1.8 billion, RedSeer Consultancy predicts.
On the other side, funds are lined up to obtain shares in start-ups in healthcare. Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu, three prominent startups in education, are all raising large amounts of capital at soaring valuations. Over a dozen smaller startups, including Lido Learning and WhiteHat Jr, are in talks to raise between $5-50 million to anywhere.