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Why Indian ed-tech companies are going global

Eyeing international markets as they have quality products that can be showcased globally.

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MUMBAI: The advancement in technology has brought about various revolutionary changes in the educational sector in recent years. Post the rise of ed-tech start-ups, students in India are enjoying personalised learning experiences, and as a result, the popularity of these companies among kids and grown-ups alike has risen dramatically. 

From appointing film superstars as their brand ambassadors to offering virtual learning experiences to users, ed-tech brands in India are pulling out the stops to become the top name in the education industry. Several ed-tech companies in India have already emerged as big names, and they are now gradually extending their reach to foreign countries as well. 

The rise and rise of Byju's

With a user base of over 65 million and a bunch of A-listers promoting it, Byju's is undoubtedly the most popular ed-tech platform in the country. Launched in 2011 by Byju Raveendran, Byju's, in the course of years has emerged as the most trustworthy ed-tech platform for students in India. 

Over the years, Byju's has acquired several other players in the ed-tech space, like coding platform WhiteHat Jr, TutorVista, offline test prep Aakash Educational Services, Osmo, etc. Valued at $11 billion, the Byju Raveendran-led start-up is now eager to make its presence felt in the international market. 

Byju's is already a known name in the US ever since its acquisition of Osmo, an American learning start-up that is popular among kids aged between five and 12. During the Disrupt 2020 conference, co-founder & CEO Byju Raveendran had claimed that the company has plans to launch a digital learning app aimed at kids in several English-speaking markets. He also added that WhiteHat Jr will introduce math subjects to students in Australia and New Zealand. The company is also angling to expand its operations to countries like Singapore and Germany. 

On the marketing side, Byju's is a brand known for its close association with the Indian Premier League (IPL). Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the IPL, has roped in 18 sponsors for this year's tournament, and Byju's has once again made the cut. As the reach of IPL is unparalleled in India, the ed-tech giant will likely continue its association with cricket in the coming years too. Moreover, the popularity of IPL is not just confined to India, and it will help Byju's to familiarise its brand among foreign viewers too. 

upGrad: Offering courses to Indian learners from foreign universities

Headquartered in Mumbai, upGrad is one of the largest homegrown online learning companies. It was recently reported that the start-up is planning to increase its line-up of global universities threefold in 2021. 

Touted to be India's largest higher education firm, upGrad has already expanded its worldwide network of top universities by partnering with the University of Essex (Online), Duke Corporate Education, and Michigan State University. This move will help Indian students to pursue higher education from top-rated foreign universities, the company had said.

"2020 has been the year when we grew over 100 per cent in terms of both, national and international university partnerships. We introduced global MBAs and made them one of the highest revenue-making verticals. Now with the recent tie-ups, we have grown three times our program portfolio to cross 100+ programs. The figures are set to double in 2021," said upGrad co-founder Phalgun Kompalli told Bloomberg Quint. 

Last year, upGrad inked a deal with Star India to run its latest ad campaign during IPL matches. On the back of its association with the league, the e-learning platform aims to expand its global reach with an advertising blitz this year as well. 

Mindler aiming sky high

Mindler cannot be considered purely as an online teaching company; rather, it’s a career counselling firm that provides career development guidance services for students. Three years into the business, Mindler has succeeded in establishing operations in five foreign countries. 

"It’s no more about saturating in India before going global…if your product is good then why not," said Minder founder Prateek Bhargava, as quoted by Mint. 

Aspiring Minds' successful overseas run

Another ed-tech company that has planted its flag in the overseas market is Aspiring Minds, headquartered in Bengaluru. The start-up has already ventured into countries like the United States and China. 

Aspiring Minds co-founder Varun Aggarwal shared that they are planning to foray into other countries because they have a quality product that can be showcased globally. 

"If you have a globally competitive product and a company with ambition, then it is wiser to go overseas. We believe what we were doing in India can be replicated anywhere in the world. We are now in China, the US, The Philippines and parts of Africa. When you talk about global - for an Indian company like us it means two key markets, China and the US. Other markets are small in comparison," he added. 

Interestingly, Aspiring Minds' international operations account for 25-30 per cent of its overall revenue. 

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