How Failing In One Edtech Startup Helped This Entrepreneur Successfully Create Another One
We learnt that even though the end consumer is the student, decisions are always driven by the influencer whether it is the teacher or the parent
Failure is the stepping stone to success – this proverb is clearly demonstrated by this startup! This founder’s first try in the edtech space was not very encouraging, but in his second attempt he seems to have taken the right path.
The company, EduRev, raised an undisclosed amount in Pre-Series A round from Pradeep Reddy Kamasani who is a part of Hyderabad Angels group.
Founder and CEO Kunaal Satija said that learning from his previous attempt, investor scrutiny and mentorship from an accelerator helped him secure funding for his startup.
Resurrecting itself from a failed attempt
“It always appears that success is overnight but we have slogged for quite a bit before reaching the present point. Before starting with the present model of EduRev, I had started another company where we were selling ERP to schools. Though we had to close that down, a large part of my learning about the EdTech sector came from that,” Kunaal said.
“The failure taught us quite a bit about EdTech and this time we implemented the learning in EduRev from day one. We learnt that even though the end consumer is the student, decisions are always driven by the influencer whether it is the teacher or the parent. “
“But again, we also knew that building pure B2B technologies thinking only about revenue will have a very limited impact if the students are not benefitted. We understood that the system is broken from multiple places and having a product catering to just one side of it will not suffice. So, in EduRev we made sure that lives of all students, teachers, administrators and even parents are simplified.
“Even this time when we started the present model of EduRev we started as a completely free open sourced model, so monetization was a pain. After helping students and teachers for free for quite a few months we realized we had built up a technology which was useful to a lot of institutions. This led to the birth of our business model. We started with selling premium features of our technology to coaching centres which was a tough sell but it got easier as we made optimizations during the pilot. Now we have diversified to Schools as well and if all goes well are also planning to implement it with a State Government.”
Getting Pre-Series A round
EduRev( which means Education Revolution) is an educational network that connects students and teachers with courses and learning material. More than 40,000 students have already joined the EduRev network platform containing over 100 courses and more than 70,000 documents, videos and tests. EduRev was initially funded by Jaarvis Accelerator.
It’s raining funds in the edtech space. Leading the pack is Byju, which snapped $75 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital and Sofina earlier this year. Several other startups in this domain have received funding including Unacademy and Smartivity. Gurgaon –based EduRev is the latest one to join the list.
“As they say the first round is the toughest, it takes quite a while and convincing to get someone to take a call,” Kunaal said.
Kunaal clarified that this round is only with Pradeep in his personal capacity, and this round is still open and he might get more angels to join him before the round gets closed.
“ Pardeep wanted to understand the model at the core and specifically how the unit metrics function, what kind of profitability do they generate. He wanted to understand how far it can go with its full potential if funded,” he said.
Kunaal said that Pradeep had seen a few EdTech startups getting better adoptability in South India than North, he wanted to be clear if that is a case with EduRev as well.
The role of an accelerator
Talking about the support from the accelerator Kunaal said Jaarvis Accelerator knew the markets were getting tough but if we stuck to basics there are always funds for genuine business models.
“They told us not to go for the bubble but focus on building a strong business model at the base. They always conveyed that businesses are built over perseverance and strong business ethics, and not on market phases,” Kunaal said.
“EdTech is something which always got my curiosity, this system has so much to be changed, I wondered why we were following age old orthodox practices when so much can be improved with infusion of technology,” he said.
“I firmly believe this system can change into something which breeds the same culture of learning than boring kids out. We want to make studying so simplified that no one is left bereft of learning the essentials. And we don’t plan this for very far in the future, we believe with the right steps we can achieve a great deal of change in the next 3 to 5 years.”