Identifying the opportunity
“Education is a sector that has been behind in the distribution and adoption of technology as compared to other industries.
But because of the pandemic, there was an adoption inflection” tells Charlotte.
“This seemed like an “Uber moment” for education with GPS accuracy in smartphones, and smartphones becoming ubiquitous. This adoption inflection in education has led to stakeholders in the system becoming receptive and bought into the idea of utilising digital tools to improve the classroom. Additionally, overnight everyone was using technology for teaching, learning and administration. This inflection created a monumental opportunity in edtech, dramatically larger than ever before, it has changed the rules”
The first thing she did with co-founder, Rachiket, who she met at Entrepreneur First, was focus on doing the one thing that doesn’t scale first: customer discovery and customer development.
“Our ambition is to go global, but we had to come to a consensus on the specific problem, market and customer to even begin,” recalls Charlotte.
“We wanted to build a product that people love. Given that both of us had never worked in the education space before, that meant we had to learn as quickly as possible from teachers, tutors, parents, students, admi, all stakeholders in the industry.”
Starting from scratch is hard; there’s no connection, no foundation. They cold-messaged through a wide range of automated tools from LinkedIn, Facebook to Reddit threads to connecting, speaking and learning from people in education.
“We were asking everyone we knew to link us up with any teacher, tutor or principal that they knew. The goal was to talk to as many people from education that were willing to speak to us.”
These conversations formed the basis for them to understand the intricacies within the education sector. With these, they were able to formulate and test hypotheses on problems that could be solved by technology.
“Ultimately, we were after a unique insight that brought to light a problem big and urgent enough to have willing paying customers, and an opportunity big enough to build a decacorn startup.
What really helped us progress through these conversations we were having was our commitment to adopt a data-driven approach. We made it such from the get-go, all decision-making was to be as objective as possible.
Whenever we discussed our findings, we were always asking ourselves questions: how many people have we spoken to, does it align with our vision, how big is the market?”
Both of them decided to start with India’s tutoring market, an emerging market where average class sizes are still very large and where innovation could add a lot of value. Rachiket also had a wide and extensive existing network to propel the way forward.