Education today is a blend of both knowledge and technology. However, like always, it has been difficult for the faculties to complete the entire syllabus in everyday’s just 45 minute session. And with digitals around, most of the time is now spent in just flashing slides and repeating what’s inside, thereby leaving no time for proper discussions. Also, there is lack of direct communication between parents and teachers, leading to incomplete information regarding their ward’s progress, daily assignments and upcoming examinations. If talked about rural areas, than even today many students have to discontinue their studies because of the distances they need to travel daily and other infrastructure issues.
In order to sort this out, IIT Delhi Duo, Ritesh Singh and Akshat Goel came up with Eckovation– an Android based Social Learning Platform collaborating students, peers, teachers and parents. The cloud based app was launched in June this year named “Eckovation”. With a team of five, the founders aim to be a confluence point of various ideas by all the stakeholders involved in the teaching and attainment of knowledge process.
“We certainly dream that a day would come where even the child in remotest corner of Manipur to Kashmir to Kanyakumari would be connected on our platform sharing knowledge and stay connected. Teachers from all over the country could interact with fellow members, learn new methodologies and grow in the manner.” (As mentioned on their blog)
Everyone can create their own accounts and get linked to each other via the application. With the Eckovation app, teachers can easily create groups, and share photos, audio files and text and get connected. On one hand, this would help students in tracking daily assignments and solve their doubts in real time. While on the other hand, parents can get constant report of their wards progress. A privacy feature is available for the teachers where they can make the communication either one way or two way.
Apart from this, various online study materials will be available on the platform which would be accessible by everyone. Exclusive groups for different schools can also be created where the whole school could stay connected to each other and hassle free communication and exchange of ideas could take place in an effective manner.
Monetization, Traction and Competition
The team is currently looking actively to raise funds. The app will be monetized by enabling payments on the platform which is scheduled for next release. “We are not expecting upfront change in the user behavior. Initially, it will supplement the conventional payment systems.” As far the usage of Debit/Credit cards is concerned for rural areas, the founders are pretty confident that like all other electronic payment methods, their adoption will increase too.
If talked about the traction, then within four weeks of launch, the app has got more than 1000 downloads, have touched over 500 weekly active users and have got more than 100 thousand messages delivered on the platform.
As claimed by the founders, the app can also work on slow internet connections. Later, there are plans to add textbooks of different classes from schools all over the world to the app.
The startup currently competes with other startups in the domain such as Knit and Flinnt. However, Eckovation boasts over equal range of downloads as compared to its competitors in just 1.5 months of its operations. The founders claim that they have a more versatile platform which allows users to have complete privacy. A single account (which is uniquely identified by a mobile number), can have multiple profiles.
As per Akshat, “classroom communication” with mobile app, is still a developing market in India, with a lot of potential ready to be tapped. “We at Eckovation, are not just looking at the Indian market, but at the global scale. Every classroom out there around the world, can benefit from Eckovation! And in a larger context in near future, every learner will benefit from Eckovation,” he added.
The online education market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.50 percent over the period 2014-2019 and is expected to reach US$10.30 billion by 2019. E-education, at present is one of the fastest growing segments in India. And more promising niche here is M-education, i.e. mobile app learning. There has been a 217% Y-o-Y increase in the usage of education apps by Indian students. Also, it has been seen that even the primary kids are spending 32% more time studying online.
The market opportunity is huge in this segment a lot of venture money is also poured from time to time. With many new startups emerging in this space, it’s equally important for each startup to maintain its unique proposition and a revenue generating business model. Another aspect of the business involves educating the rural folks about the technology and ensuring that they are at ease using the same. At present, the market size is $2 Bn, expected to cross $4 Bn by the end of this year. So, definitely the time is good to enter into the market and cash in the opportunity to its maximum.