Quarterly Trends Report

A new chapter for edtech

  • Multi Asset
  • TMT
  • Asia exc. Greater China

One of the defining images of 2020 for many people is that of remote interactions, from work to socialising to education. Across the world, online learning had been taking off for years before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, and these conditions have provided a boost for many edtech providers. Indeed, according to UNESCO data, the total number of students affected by school closures amounted to almost 1.6 billion at the pandemic’s peak – while this figure has come down somewhat, it still remains substantial. Third Bridge Forum’s Interviews with experts working in this sector have examined the impacts on markets across the world.

India has both privately run and government-run schools, and it’s in the latter category where there is still much room to grow. “Online learning hasn’t penetrated… the government-school crowd, so they are still untouched in most of the states and cities.” In some of the northern states, about 50-60% of the school population is in this type of school, so “even if [edtech providers] can manage to get 10% and 20% of this crowd on their platform, it will be a huge boon to them because that is a segment that no one has tapped.”

Players in this market include Byju, which, prior to the pandemic, had a tablet-based programme targeting the K12 segment. However, supply-chain disruption caused by coronavirus meant that the company had to switch to online content. Unacademy is Byju’s main competition and primarily focuses on test preparation. However, both of these “are targeting the cream layer of society. They are not focused [on] the bottom-most segment.” Within the device-dependent segment, Byju’s peers include Extramarks and Toppr, which also moved into online content this year. The specialist explained that Byju’s tablets offer a better experience owing to “different sorts of teaching methodologies, that is using animated series or cartoon content”, whereas the others lacked compelling formats.


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