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What Tech Education Businesses In India Can Do To Cross The Chasm

[Guest article contributed by  Apoorva Pandhi, Associate at LightSpeed Venture Partners India.]

“The technology itself is not transformative. It’s the school, the pedagogy that is transformative”
– Tanya Byron, psychologist

As part of our upcoming founder-focused breakfast on education startups, I wanted to lay out my thoughts on the education space, which has proven to be a productive area for us  through our investment in TutorVista.  This post is focused on K-12 education businesses.

After Educomp and Everonn built large businesses over the last few years, many education-focused businesses are emerging, piping existing and new content into classrooms or homes using new technology platforms like web, cloud, tablet and VSAT.  However, it is debatable if any of these businesses have measurably improved student learning outcomes.

Technology Adoption Lifecycle

Tech-enabled education businesses still have not crossed the chasm (they fall in region I and II above). In fact, of the ~80K private schools in the K-12 segment in India –only ~12-15% (# of schools doesn’t take into account # of classrooms per school, Educomp claim: 8000 schools) of them are using technology enabled solutions.

The key reason is that the perceived technology is being adopted by schools who buy those solutions that are vendor financed or paid for by the “early adopter” parent. To get to the main stream market (pragmatists, conservatives in the diagram above) a “whole product” needs to be stitched together that addresses the pain points of all the stakeholders of the education ecosystem effectively. Here are the pain points I see in the market:

Though school as a distribution channel not only provides instant credibility but also a captive base of customers to the business, this channel might take time to scale since schools appear to be fatigued by a number of vendors offering similar solutions.

So how can a business create a bandwagon effect so that the product becomes a standard, a solution and a convenience?

Businesses need to have a strong value proposition by identifying the key intervention point (s) as well as by addressing some of the pain points mentioned above. Additionally they need to continuously innovate. They should:

Potentially interesting areas for intervention (with examples):

Though one might argue that the impact on the schools and the students would be more visible in the long term, there are a bunch of progressive schools such as Shri Ram (Delhi), La Martiniere(Kolkata), and Presidency School (Bangalore) etc. who seem to understand, appreciate and adapt meaningful products which should transform the pedagogy in the long term. As far as commercial schools are concerned they would follow suit once the models are proven.

[The article has been reproduced from Lightspeed Venture Partners India blog. Apoorva joined Lightspeed Venture Partners in 2010 and is a member

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of the team advising the firm’s investment activities in India. His Areas of focus include Education, Healthcare, Internet and Mobile (including areas like such as commerce, marketing, location and social media) and other consumer brands. Prior to Lightspeed, Apoorva was a senior consultant at A.T Kearney and focused on industries including energy, telecom, aerospace and media.]

Article source from http://www.pluggd.in/tech-education-businesses-in-india-297/