For over a year now, children have been cooped up inside their homes with little social interaction or outdoor play due to the pandemic. Experts say outdoor play is vital for a child’s overall development and learning. It is also important to hone and encourage different kinds of talent for their early development.
With an idea to ensure children experience multiple aspects of their talent early in life, IIT Kharagpur friends Amritanshu Kumar and Kapish Saraf founded edtech startup KidEx in March 2020 in Gurugram.
KidEx is a data-driven digital platform that offers classes and conducts competitions for children such as extracurriculars, co-curricular activities, life skills, etc., to enable their holistic development.
Amritanshu says, over 1,000 schools and 50,000 children have joined the platform till now. The startup claims to be growing at 200 percent year-on-year.
Representational image (Image source: unsplash.com)
Why this segment?
The co-founders were batchmates at IIT Kharagpur and went on to become batchmates and wingmates at IIM Calcutta.
Kapish says, “We realised there was a high degree of cut-throat competition, and as a result, from a very young age, children have been choosing or have been guided to pursue academics over everything else.”
“Somewhere in 2019, over multiple conversations, we realised the timing was right, and we decided to take a plunge,” says Kapish.
Since the co-founders come with work experience at companies like BCG and BlackRock, they were able to get the support of their colleagues and the bosses initially.
“Today, KidEx is a 100-member organisation, which has both full-time employees and freelancers working across departments like pedagogy, assessments, marketing, engineering, analytics, etc.,” Amritanshu tells YourStory.
How does it work?
Parents can register their children on the platform for co-curricular classes or for the National All Rounder Championship. They can introduce the child to new activities every three to six months, keeping in mind recommendations from KidEx team regarding the needs of the child’s holistic development.
The startup helps children with different aspects of development like creating stop motion videos, learn sign language, karate, improve vocabulary, improve Body Mass Index (BMI), etc. The classes are conducted in customised group sizes.
The team also offers a gamified tool to teach relevant skills to a child. As it is the pandemic, the team cannot ask a child to play an outdoor sport. So, the startup has created innovative activities to promote the underlying skills.
It has also tied-up with schools to be their virtual extra-curricular department. “KidEx has created a group of 1,000+ schools all over India and has been organising intra-school tournaments as well as conducting online classes for children aged six years and above,” says Kapish.
“Our partner schools have said that the platform has helped them offer more to students at the best possible quality and at the least possible cost. We have received request from 200+ schools to become official partners for their students’ continuous holistic development,” says Kapish.
He explains the problem KidEx is solving is to enable holistic development of children on the lines of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. He says they have continued to maintain a Net Promoter Score of 85 percent consistently.
In June 2020, KidEx organised the first edition of the National All Rounder Championship (a bi-annual event organised in collaboration with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog) – an event to promote self-learning and continuous improvement for children in a gamified manner. It claims to have received positive feedback from the parents of over 1,000 participants.
The key challenge for the startup has been to reach the customers and get their attention.
Kapish says, customers have been bombarded by the marketing and sales teams of edtech companies, which has resulted in cognitive overload for parents juggling multiple things amidst the pandemic. To catch their undivided attention and to help them appreciate the uniqueness of the product has been a challenging task, he says.
“At multiple stages, we have chosen to solve problems at a very early stage as customer experience is most important in edtech and it obviously has implications on speed of growth.”
“Thanks to the work done by the entire team, we continue to grow 200 percent year-on-year,” says Kapish.
The market and future
“We have grown at an annualised GMV of $2.5-3 million, implying annualised 25 million minutes student learning time on the platform,” says Amritanshu.
RedSeer predicts the online K-12 education space will grow by 6.3 percent, creating a $1.7 billion market by 2022. According to Statista, the global e-learning market was pegged at $101 billion in 2019. By 2026, the market is expected to grow exponentially to reach over $370 billion.
The focus on extracurricular activities is growing in India with platforms like Sequoia India Capital-backed Kyt and Matrix India Partners-backed Crejo.Fun.
The startup has multiple revenue models, but its main source of revenue is the fee collected for the services offered, i.e. classes and competitions.
The prices vary from Rs 300 to Rs 3,000 per month depending upon the product and learning programme. The startup offers multiple pricing models to ensure the product is accessible to all parents with different income levels.
Close to 53 percent of their customer base is from Tier II and III cities, whereas 47 percent are from Tier I cities, making this a pan-India play.
Speaking of the future, Amritanshu says, “So far, we were focused on refining the product and understanding the requirements of our end-users, i.e., children, parents, and schools.”
“Our focus for the next three to four months is to digitalise the end-to-end experience for customers and then ramp up the network to over one lakh schools in India, creating a network of over 10 million children in the next 12 to 18 months, while maintaining a customer NPS of 85 percent.”