Kaizen-backed WizIQ has built an online platform that lets educators create an online academy within minutes. It is now gearing up to expand both its educator and user base
IDENTIFYING A NICHE MODEL
After gaining considerable experience in the education technology space, a sector he was passionate about, and founding authorSTREAM, an online powerpoint sharing platform, Harman Singh decided to enter the online education space. In 2007, he founded WizIQ, an online tutoring firm that focused on enabling education and learning for students across the world, and one that followed a model similar to TutorVista.
THE PIVOT POINT
Within a certain period of initiating this business model, Singh realised that the business may not deliver sufficient growth in the long term. “While we were initially excited about the online tuition model, we realised that the students take those classes only for a specified period of time, post which, they don’t come back to the service provider,” shares Singh. This meant that on a regular basis they had to hire new teachers with higher or varied expertise to cater to the needs of the students. “That’s when we decided to pivot and create an impact on a bigger audience,” he states.
The team decided to focus on the service providers, and bring educators (universities, professors, training academies) on board, thus opening its platform to a cross-section of students. “Since we had varied service providers on the platform, each student had the incentive to stay on the platform for a longer period,” shares Singh. Priced at an average of Rs. 600 per student per year, WizIQ is today a SaaS-based education platform which allows students to choose any course they wish to pursue, and permits service providers to setup an online academy and teach students.
In fact, as a means to leverage its presence in this segment, it has recently launched a mobile application called WizIQ Live Mobile Learning Platform. “We want to eventually become a mobile-first company because that’s where a large share of our customers are,” he adds.
In January 2013, WizIQ raised US $4.1 million from Kaizen and German media firm Bertelsmann, the funds from which were primarily channelised towards product development and team building. Additionally, the company plans to raise a fresh round, upward of US $15 million in nine to twelve months to scale up its sales and marketing efforts.
Today, while India leads in terms of volume of learners on the platform, it still generates close to 80 per cent of its revenues from foreign markets such as the U.S. and Middle East. But, Singh adds that the focus for the company, going forward, will be on investing in India and generating higher revenues from this region. The company currently claims to have over 4,50,000 educators and over four million students on board.