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The Biggest Challenge In Edutech Space And More An entrepreneur needs to understand that funding is a means, not the goal

By Sneha Banerjee

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The edtech space is evolving fast and smart. With the penetration of mobile phones and the injection of funds from marquee investors, are we going to see the herd mentality and "me-too" versions creep into this sector as well? Lovleen Bhatia, co-founder and CEO of Edureka, talks about the challenges and merits of being in the edtech space today.

Edureka offers instructor-led courses supported by online resources, along with 24/7 on-demand support. It gives professionals the flexibility to learn at their own time and location, even from their mobile devices.

Biggest challenge in the edtech space

"The biggest challenge that is driving the edtech scene today is the fact that there is a gaping mismatch between academia and the industry. While the academia focuses on theories, the industr y is looking for candidates who can exhibit practical applicability of these technologies," Lovleen said.

Lovleen, who has been running Edureka for the last five years, said his company wanted to help bridge the gap between academic learning and workplace expectations. "The professional workforce had to be industry-ready to take on real-life challenges, and we wanted to contribute to this by helping professionals up-skill themselves through high quality, differentiated learning. Companies out there are looking for quality talent and we are helping them by creating an ecosystem of quality, industry-ready, future-proof professionals," he said.

80 percent of Edureka learners have 3-10 years of experience, which means they have full-time jobs to keep, yet have to up-skill to stay in the race. Time and space are a constraint for learning. Edureka classes are held on weekends and before/after office hours.

Fear of failure

Recently, edtech startup Purple Squirrel shut shops owing to cash burns and failure to meet revenue targets. The startup focused on taking under-graduate students on industrial visits. When asked about the fear of failure Lovleen said, "Right from the start we believe that for a startup, it is essential to fail fast, but fail small. By following a Iterate --> Test --> Scale methodology, we've been able to rectify our mistakes, identify our strengths and move up the value chain,"

"As long as you don't fail big, you can sustain a startup comfortably. Of course, you have to ensure that you have the customer as your focal point, and keep your eyes and ears open for everything the customer has to say about you. Finally, an entrepreneur needs to understand that funding is a means, not the goal. You are doomed if you are obsessed with funding. Use funding to scale up, improve, enhance. The end goal should always be that vision you had on day 1. Never, ever dilute that."

Mobile is the way to go!

The Edureka Learning Management System (LMS) is completely available online. "We have seen increased interest in and adoption of our courses after we launched our iOS and Android apps last year.

We noticed an interesting trend between January and March this year. We saw an up-surge in customers from the Delhi & NCR region," Loveleen said. According to the data provided by the company, xompared to October-December of 2015, Edureka witnessed a 30% quarter-on-quarter growth in January-march 2016, specifically from this region.

"When we asked around, we found out that an increased number of people were taking courses while they were traveling from Delhi to NCR and back. The region is notorious for its traffic and it was happy to realize that learners were using the true power of online to up-skill themselves while on the move. In spite of multiple constraints, learning was uninterrupted."

Market opportunity

The edtech space throws open an opportunity of $51 Billion, according to Lovleen. "Yes, a lot of companies are jumping on to the bandwagon, with more expected to follow. This will drive innovation and help the larger learner ecosystem out there. We plan to stay ahead in the race by sticking to our core values. Rather than pay attention to competition, we would rather focus on our customer and provide to him/her, the best possible learning experience. "

Edureka recently announced a partnership with Talend, a leading data integration service provider, where Edureka became the preferred Education Partner for Talend. The company plans to have more such partnerships in the days to follow.

Sneha Banerjee

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

She used to write for Entrepreneur India from Bangalore and other cities in South India. 

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