With 1.4 Mn schools, 27 Mn students and more than 36,000 higher education institutes, the education market in India is currently pegged at $100 Bn. Pravin Sharma, ex-national Sales Head for Atom Technologies, took notice of this massive opportunity in April 2014 and came up with the idea for an education service portal, eShiksa, last year.
Where a majority of the Edtech platforms are focussing on using technology to create personalised learning experiences, Pravin is working towards automation of education institutes — right from the time of admission to when a student graduates — across the country. eShiksa offers a SaaS-based solution for the institutes which requires no special hardware and software at the institute and user end. The team of 18 is currently operating out of Jaipur, Rajasthan.
What eShiksa Offers?
According to Pravin, automation is the key for every business, especially mid-level organisations, to provide the best services and run operations smoothly. The ecosystem of education institutes is divided into many parts and departments so it becomes equally important for the institutes to automate their system.
The portal comes with more than 35+ modules from which education institutes can choose the ones that best fit their needs. It helps educators to manage, analyse and report extensive data while saving time by eliminating repetitive data entries. It covers all the business aspects of running the institute, including administration, academics and accounting.
It also offers a mobile app for parents/students/teachers for ease of communication and enables parents to review their ward’s performance as well as make online payments.
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“We aim to be an online platform for on-demand services in education and plan to launch more services at the student/parent level for revenue generation from the end user,” said Pravin.
Traction, Monetisation and Competition
eShiksa is currently live in more than 70 schools/colleges across various parts of the country and has an active user base of 75K. According to Pravin, the platform has already successfully enabled fee-payment transactions from parents/students worth $300K (INR 2 Cr) in the current FY. Clients are on-boarded through direct sales, channel partners and strategic tie-ups.
It has, to date, raised $187K (INR 1.25 Cr) in two rounds of funding from Dewang Neralla, founder and CEO of Atom Technologies and other angel investors. As far as monetisation is concerned, it follows a per student per year pricing model to the institute and services are charged to parents/students.
It currently competes closely with Edtech players like fedena,, NIIT and TCS. However, Pravin wants to configure the various solutions offered based on a service model rather than the software-vendor model.
Initial Challenges And The Road Ahead
For Pravin one of the major challenges faced by the startup is to convince institutions to spend a significant amount on automating the processes. Although things are changing now, he still believes there is still a long way to go.
eShiksa is now looking to onboard 1000+ institutes in the next 18-24 months with more focus on enabling services related to parents/students. The team is targetting to break-even by end of the current financial year and is further looking at raising $240K (INR 1.6 Cr) for business expansion.
The focus now will be on the platform to scale up, both with the number of users and the services being offered on the service portal. “We want to enable our services to a million student base in the next 12 months. We will also be looking to raise more funds to support the channels we have identified for user acquisition,” ended Pravin.
The Indian education market is poised to grow at $40 Bn by 2017. Automating the ecosystem processes like eShiksa is planning on doing pan-India, will only add to the revenue stream as more and more institutions come on board and adopt online processes to ensure greater transparency.