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Startups Authors: Harry Trott, Liz McMillan, Rolando Kahn, Jnan Dash, Ian Khan

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Why Edtech Is Likely To Be The Next Big Startup Story

The Boom And Growth Of EdTech Startups

A TechCrunch editorial in August this year proclaimed ‘Edtech is the next Fintech’. The premise of the article is that fintech startups, including those that offer mobile payments and funds transfers, have dramatically revolutionized the financial space over the past decade. While this boom continues to unravel, a slew of startups have also started disrupting the educational space with their host of technology solutions.

The Various Categories Of Edtech

Investments in the Edtech space is likely to reach $252 billion by 2020 and the startups getting funded are most likely to fall under one of these different categories - the first category of startups are those involved in the research and building of new systems and technologies to modernize pedagogy. For instance, New York based startup Brainscape uses an adaptive flashcard algorithm that helps make learning more interactive and engaging by repeating concepts in patterns that are optimized to a student’s individual learning pace. The company has raised over $2 million in funding till date. Other startups in this space include Knewton that has raised over $150 million and Schoology that has raised over $57 million in funding.

Another major Edtech category is education and exam preparation. Although a large number of startups have come up in recent times to help students with their exam preparation, this category is not exactly new. Organizations like USATestprep have been around for nearly two decades and have been used by nearly two million students to date. Businesses in this space are involved with bringing exam preparation to newer platforms like smartphones and tablets, as well as focusing on increasing the personalization of lessons and course materials. Other examples in the space include Udemy, Coursera and the Khan Academy.

The third major area where Edtech startups are blooming is in the social community and marketplace category. The growth in high speed internet combined with an increasingly globalized world has pushed the demand for Edtech communities that bring together educators and experts in various subjects along with students from across the world. ShareMyLesson, a teacher community for educators to share and download their teaching materials is a leader in the space with more than 900,000 members and 10 million+ downloads. TakeLessons, a San Diego based startup lets students find personal tutors on subjects as varied as Algebra, guitar, singing. Programming and sports. The company has raised nearly $20 million till date.

Why Is It The Next Big Startup Story

Edtech is not exactly a new interest area for entrepreneurs. Technology innovations in the education space have been around for a long long time. However, post-2007, we are seeing a dramatically different world where a computer is available in the palm of every individual. While this is merely a change in form factor in the western world, the availability of cheap smartphones have brought down the cost of education in the emerging world.

This presents a terrific opportunity for entrepreneurs and educators alike. While most of the Edtech startup success stories today are from the west, we are likely to see a lot more of them emerge from Asia and Africa over the next decade and this is likely to make Edtech a very prominent buzzword in the startup ecosystem in the next few years.

More Stories By Harry Trott

Harry Trott is an IT consultant from Perth, WA. He is currently working on a long term project in Bangalore, India. Harry has over 7 years of work experience on cloud and networking based projects. He is also working on a SaaS based startup which is currently in stealth mode.