The online education or edutech sector will overtake offline coaching eventually, given the convenience and the better learning experience that it offers students, said Zishaan Hayath, co-Founder of online test preparation start-up Toppr.
“Online tutors will definitely be able to match and replace offline tutors eventually. It might take time, but we will get there. Around 10 years ago, nobody had imagined that companies such as Flipkart would grow so big or that offline retail, which was predominantly everything then, would be so different in today's world. But now, when we look back, we say that it was supposed to happen,” Hayath said.
“So, we are at a similar stage right now. Ten years from now when you will look back, you will see that these large coaching classes would have vanished because online coaching classes and learning apps would have killed them,” he added.
Hayath said the sector is expected to grow phenomenally owing to rise in consumption of online content. According to a Google and KPMG report, online education in India is expected to grow to $1.96 billion by 2021 (a compounded annual growth rate of 44 percent). The paid or subscription-based user base is expected to increase from 1.6 million users in 2016 to 9.6 million in 2021.
Hayath, who is also one of the most prominent angel investors in the ecosystem, believes that unlike offline teachers who have limited amount of time for each student, online platforms offer students the flexibility of time.
“At tuition, you cannot repeat the lecture again and again. You cannot replay the lectures you attended months ago, just before the exams. You cannot have doubts cleared round the clock. You cannot practice differently at your own pace,” he said.
Toppr currently offers personalised courses for students across primary and secondary schools, including courses for olympiads, engineering, commerce and medical competitive exams.
According to the company, 65 percent of its business comes from senior secondary students.
The company claims that its fee structure is more affordable, almost one-fourth as compared to offline coaching centres. For instance, an eight months customised course tuition fee for students of eighth class students is available for Rs 10,000, while an advanced course for these students will be Rs 31,000.
Toppr claims to have reported a three-fold growth in the paid subscriber base in last 12 months on the platform. The company did not disclose the number of paid subscribers, however it claims to have a total registered user base of 4.5 million on its platform.
The company, which currently gets 55 percent of its students from Tier II and III cities, is planning to set-up courses in vernacular languages as well. The current medium of teaching is English and Hindi.
So far, the company has raised around $23 million from investors such as SAIF Partners, Helion Venture Partners, Fidelity Growth Partners, among others.
Some other start-ups in the edutech space that have attracted sizeable investor capital include Byju’s, Vendantu and Unacademy.
While Byju's last raised $40 million from Tencent in 2017, Vendatu is backed by Tiger Global and last raised $5 million.
Unacademy has investors such as Nexus Ventures and SAIF Partners on its board.