For Class Apart, an independent Jammu-based coaching institute, the lockdown meant its students in classes 11th and 12th were left in a lurch. While it wanted to take its classes online, its biggest challenge was unavailability of high-speed internet connection everywhere in the city and its nearby towns.
This challenge is something most coaching classes and independent tutors faced last year. Like Class Apart, others also faced challenges of not just launching virtual classes but also keeping in touch with students and keeping a tab on their progress. Edtech solutions are solving these challenges, even in small towns with 2G networks and one startup carving a niche is Winuall.
“We had to find a means of conducting online classes along with a platform where we could conduct tests for students. We have never ever invested in technology and it was an untested scenario for us. We were looking for options and that’s when we tried Winuall,” said Ashish Dhamanodiya of Class Apart.
Using Winuall enabled Class Apart to collect fee payments and share updates with students such as notes, recorded lectures. Now, the coaching institute is slowly shifting everything online.
Similarly, Sugam Classes, an IIT-JEE and NEET coaching institute in Kota, used Winuall’s online tools and mobile app to manage the entire coaching online, conducting tests, announcements, managing fee payments and admissions, etc.
“While Winuall was the only way to manage things and teach, I started exploring multiple opportunities to leverage the app and also started teaching students outside India through it, thereby increasing revenue and giving students a great experience, which also helped me in building my brand and hence gaining more trust from students,” said Chaturvedi.
According to a Times Of India report, the private coaching industry in India earns a revenue of about INR 24K Cr ($3.2 Bn) a year. The industry is said to be dominated by unorganised players, running hole-in-the-wall coaching institutions in urban and semi-urban regions. About 55% of the students opt for private tuitions outside of school, as per Global Education Census Report 2018.
Creating A Shopify For Edtech
Since the outbreak of Covid, there has been a rise in the popularity of private tutors online. The rise in demand has been across segments including K-12, JEE, CAT, GMAT, UPSC, etc.
Winuall’s platform enables tutors to create and strengthen their brand name through a white-labelled app, where it offers them a set of tools and features to manage their classes, alongside selling their products and courses on the platform to their students.
Founded by Ashwini Purohit and Saurabh Vyas in 2018, Winuall competes with coaching management platform Classplus, which also offers similar solutions to tutors, solopreneurs and coaching institutions, where tutors can set up their business online.
“Unlike other players, who caters to anyone and everyone, we are more focused in our approach, where we are targeting only mid, small and large-sized coaching institutions, who have been running the business for a very long period of time,” said Purohit, cofounder of Winuall, stating that this has been one of the reasons for higher customer retention, user engagement and scaling up of the platform.
Winuall also competes with online coaching startups like Classpro, Teachmint, GuruQ and others. But, Winuall differentiates itself by creating a separate brand identity for tutors, instead of just offering a service, tool or features for them.
“On average, a student spends close to INR 5 Lakhs on stay, food and accommodation, plus the coaching fees, study materials, etc,” said Purohit, adding, “Moreover, tutors in India would never go and teach on someone else’s brand or platform.”
For students, the platform provides access to live classes, study groups, in-built chatting rooms, leaderboards and more. “From a student’s perspective, once they start using the app, they would never feel the need to use any other educational apps,” he added
In 2020, the company attracted investments from Prime Venture Partners, BEENEXT, Livspace founder Ramakant Sharma, Ola cofounder Ankit Bhati and Milkbasket’s head of engineering Nitin Gupta among other angel investors. Winuall, till date, has raised a total of $2.5 Mn in funding. In the coming months, the company is looking to raise more capital, depending on the requirements.
In terms of monetisation, Winuall currently charges a subscription fee for tutors for using its SaaS platform, and the cost depends on the number of students that the tutors onboard. For instance, for a class of 50 students, the subscription fee for Winuall would be anywhere between $150 to $200 (INR 11K to 15K) per year.
In addition to this, it also charges 5-7% fee for every transaction made on the platform, however, in the coming months, the company is looking to increase this to up to 25-30%, thereby creating a sustainable business.
Commenting on Winuall’s revenue model, Chinmaya Saxena, venture partner at BEENEXT said that its model shows the ability to retain existing and acquire new users consistently on value.
In the long term, the players which only focus on replicating the offline to online models may face a challenge around customer stickiness as you risk replicating the inefficiencies as well. “Edtech startups that drive meaningful educational outcomes for students/learners while maximising value of each stakeholder level towards that goal will emerge stronger,” he added.
Winuall cofounder Purohit refrained from commenting on the revenue numbers, but said that in the last ten months, the company had witnessed 50x growth in terms of acquiring customers, along with growing its team size by 10x across India. “We have about 15K tutors using our SaaS platform,” shared Purohit.
Focussing on getting more tutors onto its platform, Winuall has set a target to onboard 50K tutors by making apps for them. This will help the company reach out to 1 Mn students in the next six to seven months.
The customer acquisition cost (CAC) for the company is negligible at the moment as it relies more on referrals, and word of mouth marketing to expand the customer base.
“In the coming months, we will aggressively work alongside many tutors across India to help them create and sell courses online and increase their revenues so that they are using the app day in and day out, while testing free and paid options for their products and services,” Purohit concluded.
The pandemic has certainly made edtech one of the hottest bets for investors. In 2020, the sector received $1.43 Bn, which was 225% higher compared to 2019. But, will Winuall be able to empower individual institutes to take on the likes of BYJU’S and Unacademy? You will have to wait for a few years to know that.