Things to Consider Before Starting an EdTech Firm
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Educational Technology, familiarly referred to as EdTech or EduTech, is the deployment for technology for imparting education. As technology has deeply impacted how different industries work and how day-to-day tasks are carried out, the education sector has not remained untouched- and why not? EdTech can take quality education to every nook and corner, enable educators to scale-up by tapping the unexplored territories, and help institutions in making the dissemination of knowledge more efficient and standardized. In last ~15 years, several entrepreneurs have devised EdTech solutions but the progress is still at a nascent stage and the coming decade is bound to witness innumerable attempts at extracting the EdTech potential. Here are some key factors that I recommend one must consider before starting an EdTech enterprise…
Identify Your Niche
Education sector is vast and no technology solution can cater it all. The first step that an aspiring EdTech entrepreneur must take is to identify one’s “solution statement”, clearly suggesting one’s niche, the exact problem that one is solving.
Have Your House in Order
This applies to any startup- at the outset, gain clarity among the co-founders on the key aspects- vision of the company, broad roles and degree of involvement of each co-founder, and the respective equity shares. Entrepreneurs often commit the mistakes of avoiding discussing these ‘uncomfortable’ aspects only to regret later as things get complicated at crucial stages in organizational growth.
Ensure High Quality Content
This one is crucial and often underestimated. A significant proportion of EdTech startups don’t do well because they are founded by tech-entrepreneurs who sometimes underestimate the importance of high quality academic content. Irrespective of how fancy the software looks, how cutting edge the features are, and how intuitively the tool works, content is the key resource for an EdTech firm and it needs to top in quality for the firm to succeed!
Have a Stable Technology Team
If you are a team of academicians trying to take your knowledge to a greater audience through EdTech, do ensure a stable technology team. Technology is going to be at the core of your work and constant upgrading and debugging are going to be necessary. Whether you develop a technology team in-house, share equity with a technology partner, or employ a vendor, do ensure a strong and stable technology arm.
Start With a Simple Product
The first version of a successful product is never the final version and there is nothing like a “perfect product”. Hence, choose “progress over perfection” and go-to-market early with a simple product rather than late with a fancy one. Once you roll the product out, you will undergo a steep learning curve and new ideas will come. Hence, do not elongate the go-live and keep adding new features in further, periodic releases- a must for any technology based product.
Ensure Rigorous Beta Testing
No matter how robust your testing team is, some bugs are bound to go undiscovered. Hence, once the software is ready and bug-free as per your internal testing, start with a beta version where you give your product free to a certain number of real users to gain a broad feedback and to catch the undetected bugs. Once you are confident that the product is being liked and that it is bug-free, go for the formal launch!
Have a Marketing Plan to Attain the “Critical Volume”
Have a clear marketing plan along with a dedicated budget to reach what you deem is the “critical volume”- the number of licenses sold that you think will put the word out and set the sales rolling. Spread your marketing budget into multiple avenues, keep small milestones, and revisit the sales performance periodically to improvise.
Value the Feedback
Have a clear feedback as well as a report-a-problem button at key places in the software. Positive or negative, value each feedback and acknowledge warmly to the users- they are going to be your brand ambassadors!
Crucial: Build a “Profitable” Rather Than “Fundable” Enterprise
It’s our advice to every aspiring entrepreneur- do not be driven by the noise around “who rose how much?” Do not start a company with the intention of “raising funds”; rather, start it with the inspiration for developing a “profitable enterprise”. If there are potential profits, investors will anyway follow!