Education Technology is a term that refers to the use of technology for disseminating and imparting education. It is often colloquially referred to as EdTech. As the presence of technology in our industries and our lives has grown, we have seen many tech entrepreneurs devise highly impressive EdTech solutions. This is merely the beginning, as the coming decade is sure to see many more attempts to realize the potential of EdTech. Those who intend to establish their own firms, within this fertile and exciting field, must keep the following key factors in mind…
What is your niche?
Before establishing their own firm, every EdTech entrepreneur must be able to answer one fundamental question. They must be able to identify their “solution statement”, the exact problem that they intend to solve. The education sector is far too vast for any one solution to cater to it all. This is why every EdTech firm needs to begin with a clear idea of what its niche is.
Is there clarity within your organization?
As with all startups, all of the co-founders need to be clear on their broad roles, degree of involvement, equity shares and the vision of the company from the very beginning. Many entrepreneurs find these topics uncomfortable and try to avoid discussing them, doing so will cause serious complications.
Do you have high-quality content?
Even the best of software cannot guarantee success, without high-quality educational content. The finesse of your software, the cutting-edge nature of your features, and the utility of your tools will not matter unless the educational content is beneficial to the user. Many technology entrepreneurs struggle, in the EdTech field, as they underestimate the importance of the educational literature.
Do you have a stable technology team?
Academicians looking to take their knowledge to the wider world, through EdTech, need to ensure that they will have a stable technology team. Technology is at the heart of all EdTech work and will need constant upgrading and debugging. This technology team can be built in-house, employed as a vendor, or you can share equity with them as a technology partner. The important thing is that you have a solid team, ready to maintain and improve upon your technology piece.
Are you embracing “progress” or chasing “perfection”?
All technology products receive new features, through regular updates. Successful products always evolve beyond their first versions, there is no such thing as a final or “perfect” product. This is why you should go-to-market early with a simple product, instead of holding off and trying to perfect it. Once the product is on the market, you will rapidly learn more about what features it needs and can then add them, via updates.
Will you be beta testing?
Even the best testing teams do not have a 100% success rate, in catching bugs. Some bugs are guaranteed to avoid notice, during the initial testing. Once your internal testing reports that your product is bug-free, you must put it through a round of beta testing. This will not only catch any remaining bugs, but it will also provide you with broad feedback on how well the product will be received. Only once you get a bug-free report from the beta testing and you see a positive user response from the same, should you go for the formal launch.
Are you marketing for “critical volume”?
Your firm’s marketing strategy must be centered around achieving “critical volume” – the number of licenses sold that will get the word of mouth out and get sales going. Do not put your entire marketing budget into one endeavor, split it across multiple avenues for maximum penetration. Set small milestones at which you will revisit the sales figures. When you revisit those figures, take the opportunity to change and adapt to new circumstances.
Do you pay attention to feedback?
Your software must include feedback and problem reporting avenues at all key places. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, all of it must be warmly acknowledged. Showing your users that you care about their experience is the best way to get them to spread a positive word about your product.
Crucial point: Are you aiming for “profitability” or merely “fundability”?
This is something that every entrepreneur, in every field, must know. While building your firm, do not pay attention to talk about “So and so secured this much funding”. Your priority should be building the profitability of your firm. In fact, that is what will secure the funding as well. Once you have proven that your firm will be profitable, you will not need to seek out funding, investors will be coming to you.
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.