Top things all EdTech entrepreneurs must know
The following article has been inspired by the thoughts of Mr. Mayank Srivastava. He is the Founder of Experts’ Global, one of the world’s leading EdTech firms in the field of GMAT prep and MBA admission consulting.
Education technology, colloquially referred to as EduTech or EdTech, is a term that signifies the use of technology in the field of education. As technology has steadily influenced every one of our industries and our day to day lives, the education industry has not been untouched- and why would it? The education industry has always been one that has readily embraced technological innovation and EdTech has the potential to be a great asset to it. Through EdTech we can take quality education to every nook and corner, help educators scale up by tapping unexplored territories and help institutions make the dissemination of information more efficient and standardized. Over the last 15 or so years, several entrepreneurs have built impressive EdTech solutions, but the field is still in its nascent stage and the coming decade is sure to see innumerable attempts to realize the potential of EdTech. This field is sure to become a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, in the near future. Here are some of the key factors that anyone who is considering venturing into EdTech entrepreneurship must consider:
The Solution Statement
The education sector is too vast and too varied for any one technology solution to cater to it all. Before anything else, an EdTech entrepreneur must identify their “solution statement”. The “solution statement” is supposed to be the exact problem that one intends to solve.
Clarity Within the Firm
From the very outset, every one of the co-founders needs to be clear on their place in the firm. They need to know their respective roles, degree of involvement and their equity shares. Furthermore, they should also fully understand the company’s vision. This advice really applies to every type of startup. Entrepreneurs often try to avoid discussing these “uncomfortable” topics. This is a mistake that often comes back to haunt them, as the firm faces complications at key junctures of organizational growth.
The Quality of the Content
A significant portion of EdTech firms face difficulty because they were founded by technology entrepreneurs, who underestimated the importance of high-quality academic content. Regardless of how well designed, cutting-edge, or attractive the software may be, an EdTech firm cannot succeed without educational content of a competitive quality. This content is the EdTech firm’s primary resource.
The Technology Team
On the other side of the matter, academicians often fail to understand the importance of having a reliable technology team. Educators, who intend to use EdTech to widen their audience, need to understand that technology is the core tool of any EdTech firm. This means that the technology will be vital to their work and will need to be maintained and upgraded, constantly. A stable technology team needs to be maintained; whether it is done in house, through a technology partner, or by employing a vendor.
Starting with a Simple Product
All successful tech products evolve beyond their first versions. A firm should choose to go-to-market early with a simple product, rather than waiting until they have a perfect product. Once the product has been rolled out, the firm will undergo a steep learning curve and will be able to improve upon the product, through regular updates.
Ensuring Rigorous Beta Testing
Even the most robust testing teams will miss some bugs. This is why all tech products need to be put through exhaustive beta testing. Once internal testing has proclaimed the product to be bug-free, a beta version of the topic needs to be given to a select number of trusted users. This will allow the firm to gather a lot of broad feedback on the product, and catch all of the undiscovered bugs. Only once there is confidence that the product is well liked and bug-free should it go for the formal launch.
Marketing for Critical Volume
There must be, from the very beginning, a clear and well budgeted marketing plan. This plan must be geared towards achieving what is known as “critical volume”. “Critical volume” is a term that refers to the number of licenses that need to be sold in order to gain widespread recognition for the product and get sales going. Aside from the importance of marketing to achieve this “critical volume”, there are a number of other important ideas that must go into a good marketing plan. The marketing budget must be spread across multiple avenues, not concentrated into one place. Sales should be revisited at small milestones, to improvise new strategies.
All EdTech software should include feedback and ‘report the problem’ options, at all key places. Whether positive or negative, all feedback should be embraced. By making sure that the users feel heard, the firm can convert them to brand ambassadors.
Important: A firm must aim to be “profitable” not “fundable”
This is solid advice for all entrepreneurial ventures, do not make chasing investment the goal. An entrepreneurial venture should not be driven by the noise around “So and so raised so much”. The goal behind a company should not be to “raise funds”, a company should be founded on an inspiration to develop a profitable enterprise. As a rule, if a company can promise profit, investors will approach them.