How Does AI and ML Help In Up-scaling Edtech?
KopyKitab, a Bangalore-based Ed tech startup, founded by Sumeet Verma and Amit Shrivastava in 2013, is an education platform that helps students access curated content and syllabus as they prepare for toughest competitive exams.
India is known as one of the best education markets globally. However, education in India comprises of high costs especially related to textbooks as one is never enough. The founders saw a market opportunity as students restrict their intelligence and score by accessing a limited number of course books simply because it is not affordable and possible to buy all the books available physically.
Thus, KopyKitab helps students whether in school, college or competitive exams aspirants to access the top-selling syllabus digitally through their library. The AI and ML programs also help students access relevant books for their needs.
Amit Shrivastava, Co-founder & CTO, KopyKitab tells us why depending on technology in the education space is a good idea.
The current pandemic has left many topsy turvy. Has this lockdown led to an upsurge in traffic?
Ed tech today has spread its wings far and wide; for KopyKitab, we are growing fast and have seen 69% rise in new users, a 45% increase in reading session and 200% jump in revenue. As students and institutions get more comfortable using Ed tech services and virtual classrooms, they are not shying away from paying for relevant content. We believe that Ed tech has shown the potential to disrupt the entire value chain.
Online test preparations is also one of the growing segments in the Indian Ed tech space, almost 70 percent of traditional publishers are digitising their content since they see a sizeable addressable market. Students are looking for technology-driven, flexible and convenient options for themselves and these factors are gradually making the prospect of higher education online more appealing for students and professionals.
How are you abiding by a different business model, especially when there are plenty of other players in the market?
For KopyKitab, since its inception, we have set out to make education more affordable and accessible. From the day when Ed tech was yet to go through a technological disruption and textbooks especially Higher Education, costs a lot, and students, especially from Tier II and Tier III towns, had limited access, we understood the pain points from our own experience as both the founders have grown up in small towns and did their schooling. At that time, due to lack of technology, getting study books access was a task as compared to our peers in Tier I and Metros. The KopyKitab model is aimed at making education a level playing field for students anywhere in India
We have mastered the content acquisition and distribution, and adopted a mobile-first strategy and have managed to recreate an offline studying experience for students online, at a much lower cost, our focus areas are into higher education and competitive exams sector and we are already very near to creating a niche for ourselves.
As students need everything quickly on the go, KopyKitab is exactly giving them that, bite-sized learning on their mobiles.
How areAI and ML contributing to your cause?
At KopyKitab, we are using Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning programs that help track users consumption patterns and make more accurate recommendations based on language, city, campus, grade level, renting history, etc. It also helps us identify specific student’s needs
AI and ML programs have helped us increase the reach even in the remotest areas. Since, about 68 percent of our users hail from Tier II and III towns, with maximum demand coming from Patna, Jaipur, and Indore; five percent are overseas users, while the remaining comes from metros and Tier-I cities
The most critical and latest technology which we started catering in the COVID-19 pandemic is P2P (Peer to Peer) with structured learning options & Video Connectivity, be it teacher to students, coach to the students & content publishers to students, which is creating a highly optimised beneficial learning environment
Also, this will continue to be the base for all the tech platforms since it provides digital connection between people
How important do you think is it for people to rely on technology? Are there any major follies per se?
The future will undoubtedly be technology-driven, as stakeholders in the education ecosystem look to make access easier and provide flexibility in the learning environment. All this while keeping in mind that social distancing will be the norm going forward, technology will be the front runner for this connection be it WFH, P2P, Group connect as mentioned above
One of the major follies per se will be the absence or scarcity of direct human connect leading to longer time for execution for all the verticals
Could you acquaint us with your funding scenario?
In 2018, KopyKitab was backed by ECF, a Rs 100 crore fund registered under the SEBI. The fund’s marquee investors include Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and Gray Matters Capital, both US-based international investors in the education sector.
KopyKitab has also raised about $2 million from Pactolus Singapore, CBA Capital (ECF) and well-known angels including Praveen Gandhi, Paula Mariwala (Stanford Angels), Mohit Dubey (Carwale), Satyen Kothari (Citrus Pay), and others
What are KopyKitab’s upcoming plans like?
Our immediate priority would be to continue to serve our subscribers i.e students with more content in easy and engaging forms. We saw a surge in our traffic since the lockdown started in Mar and our aim to serve them with the best learning options.
For longer-term, providing P2P and Video-based access for our students, teachers/coaches and publishers to continue education without much interference because of the current scenario.
A piece of advice for others?
My advice would be to think long term solutions in digital/online space and if possible convert part of your business to digital/internet driven. Also, provide more accessibility between employees and customers using technology as base.
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