Foreign investment is flowing into the e-learning system

Bangladesh’s digital education businesses, especially pivoted by EdTech startups, are growing rapidly in the emerging new normal with infusions of foreign funds, sources say.

Phenomenal development is underway in this vital sector in the interregnum emanating from the long closure of regular classes amid the lingering global pandemic, they add.

The use of multimedia for a course, access to better education from any part of the country and the traceability of progress are some of the key factors in the evolution of techno-education for which learners, both academics and professionals are inclined towards digital education.

It has great economic value, especially in the context of “education marketing” involving huge transactions around the world. Considering the commercial potential of EdTech platforms, local and foreign companies are showing interest in investing in such startups. They think it could provide solutions to many problems plaguing the traditional education system.

An educational technology (EdTech) is defined as the combined use of digital platforms, hardware, software, and educational theories and practices to facilitate learning.

Some of the global EdTech companies include Udacity, Coursera, Unacademy, Byju’s, and Khan Academy.

Some local EdTech startups have already drawn up investment plans — from local and international sources — while others are gearing up to attract more soon, sources said.

According to sources, there are more than 100 digital education platforms, including “10 Minute School”, “Shikho”, EduHive, Upskill, Instructory, Search English and Interactive Cares, focusing on different areas like education, personal development and skills enhancement. .

Among them, 10 Minute School raised $2.0 million in seed funding from Sequoia Capital India, and Shikho secured $1.3 million in funding led by Silicon-based venture capital Learn Capital. Valley, and Anchorless Bangladesh over the past seven months.

Funds raised by the EdTech startup over the past year are estimated at more than $5.0 million, according to industry insiders.

Although technology-enabled education is not a new concept for the developed world, it is growing rapidly in Bangladesh thanks to a large number of students and growing economic status, says Ayman Sadiq, founder and CEO of the 10 MinuteSchool.

“Given the perspective here, renowned venture capital (VC) firms are eyeing Bangladesh,” he says, adding that some of the milestones his startup has achieved reflect the perspective somewhat.

His company has seen unprecedented business growth 12 times in the last year, while all indicators such as the number of students, instructors, content, staff working behind also increased significantly, says Mr. Ayman, who started digital mentoring through a YouTube channel.

About 40 million students in the country need different types of tutoring, which means the prospect of EdTech in the country, according to the next generation entrepreneur in the growing knowledge economy.

The use of the same mother tongue by almost all of them is seen as another point of view for mentors.

According to an international report, the global EdTech and smart classroom market was estimated to be worth $84 billion in 2020. The market size is expected to reach $207.3 billion by 2026, growing over 16, 3% per year.

EduHive co-founder and CEO Md. Nazmul Haque Sarker said he received funding last year from Startup Bangladesh, a government initiative aimed at funding local startups.

Without giving further details on the funding, he said the startup is now in the process of receiving funding from foreign sources.

“Unlike many other industries, EdTech grew rapidly during the pandemic because there was no alternative to distance learning to maintain social distancing,” he says, adding that although they started before the pandemic, the crisis facilitated their expansion.

Highlighting the platform’s unique features, he says the startup has created a full panel of teachers who are mostly experienced in the traditional form of teaching.

“Our app provides a 360-degree solution, including virtual group study among classmates, recorded lesson, live lesson, and more,” he says.

“Shikho” co-founder and CEO Shahir Chowdhury said the platform is focusing on “mobile-first” to democratize education for all in the country.

“The country lacks a sufficient number of digital learning platforms for those who can really use the technology,” says Chowdhury

In fact, there is no alternative to adopting EdTech to ensure access to quality learning for all, he notes, adding that neighboring India has used EdTech to revolutionize the ‘education.

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