Entrepreneurs have found in education a promising niche for investment. The bustling world of startups is already responsible for introducing new platforms, technologies and even teaching models. We have dived in the universe of edtech startups and their contributions to education.
Get to know more.
Startups are revolutionizing business with innovation, technology, collaborative work, agile methodologies and solutions to impact society. All this effervescence has also benefited education, with new learning models, digital tools for study and interaction, solutions for implementing technology in the classroom and for bringing quality content to hard-to-reach places.
Education has proven to be such a promising niche for entrepreneurs that startups in the segment have even specific names: edtech startups. Let's go deeper into the concept of edtech startups and how to get the most out of them to promote more entrepreneurial education. There are numerous advantages for both educators and students!
Picture an entrepreneur with an innovative idea, with the potential to solve a problem or create new necessities in the community. Figure this idea developing from relatively low investments, but with a talented group of professionals dedicated to effectively implement the planning.
Add up the potential of that idea to actually work - and also a great risk of failure. To conclude, imagine that this innovative project can easily be replicated in other communities, through small adjustments to the local reality. Basically, this is the ideal scenario for startups, which are relatively new ways of undertaking - and have found in education a lucrative and fulfilling niche.
The term startup began to become popular in Brazil in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Internet audience was increasing. The term came to be associated with new companies that arose to meet the news of the online universe, whether they be search sites, suppliers or virtual stores. The effervescence in relation to this type of entrepreneurship is more recent in the country. A survey made by the Brazilian Association of Startup (ABStartups) shows that at the end of 2015 there were 4,151 companies of this type, which were still in their initial stages.
A startup is an early-stage company that proposes innovative and promising ideas that have not been tested yet in the market and therefore have a high degree of uncertainty. Undertakings of this type have low initial costs and very high growth expectancy. Successful startups can also create repeatable models, which can be reproduced in other realities with a few adjustments. Venture projects of this type are often linked to research, exame and development of innovative ideas. Companies with these characteristics often arise to meet daily needs that we did not have before. Who could have imagined that cameras would become so indispensable to cell phones a decade ago? Or that would we store photos, videos, music, and other files in a virtual space called a cloud? Or that clocks, garments and smart shoes could help us monitor performance in physical exercise and even improve health?
startup entrepreneurs can not guarantee the success of their projects, precisely because the idea is often extremely innovative.
startup needs to evidence how it will generate profit for investors. Through the business model, entrepreneurs can demonstrate the strategy they will use to generate value in their endeavor.
the company will be able to reproduce the good result with a very few adaptations or customizations.
growing revenue faster than rising expenses - and driving more profit for investors.
In the expanding universe of startups, there are those who bet on contributing in one of the country’s most deficit department: education. Specialists in the field argue that edtech startups are one of the most promising sectors in Brazil, with initiatives that propose innovative solutions to change the students' learning experience.
In the midst of traditional teaching strategies, still present in the vast majority of schools, from basic to higher education, edtech startups offers online platforms to teach through game or quiz, as well as videos in a space similar to Netflix . Other entrepreneurs are betting on teaching innovative content: have you thought about enrolling your child in a programming school? There is, moreover, who bets on a period of complete immersion in certain content - a kind of encampment - to make the student a specialist in that area.
1Most schools use traditional teaching strategies, which are sometimes ineffective. Startups, on the other hand, offer innovative solutions.
2The country has very important assessments for the future of students. A good grade in the National High School Examination (ENEM), for example, can define its professional trajectory. Therefore, several entrepreneurs bet on creating platforms or teaching pathways with a focus on ensuring student performance.
3Education does not receive major investments to change this whole scenario and still does not invest in technology to improve education. And this is the opportunity for startups: to offer something new, innovative and capable of solving a problem.
In addition to having various challenges and possibilities, the education are also has a promising market. Take a look:
(kindergarten, pre-school, primary and secondary education, youth and adult education and special education)
Source: School Census of Basic Education and School Census of Higher Education (Ministry of Education)
is the global investment estimate
for edtech startups by 2020.Source: EdtechXGlobal
Fernando Americano, co-founder of Le Wagon Brasil (company that offers an intensive nine weeks program to teach programming) is one of this branch enthusiasts. The entrepreneur created a mapping of the main Brazilian companies that works in the area, dividing them into the following categories:
Companies that offer content, courses and classes for students to learn via internet are included in this category. Through various portals and platforms the student can study for the ENEM or the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB). The user can also learn how to edit videos, play guitar, draw or cook. The business model of these companies usually charges for the course or stipulates a monthly fee for the users.
For these companies, re-reading notes during class or reviewing the book are not the only study strategies for any test or assessment. Startups proposes more fun and personalized ways to study, making a profit from selling products and solutions to schools.
Those who work in this category are contributing to organize teacher and student routine. They propose strategies to help the educator diagnose students' difficulties in the classroom, prepare assessments, and correct them. For students, it can provide a notebook, which lists all the school commitments. Such ventures also generate value through partnership with educational institutions.
Since programming is a promising language of the future, many people are already willing to teach about technology. Most of these companies do not require a previous degree in the subject and there are various ways to teach offered. Some by means of distance learning courses, others promote the immersion in the world of technology, whether teaching about programming, marketing, digital design or online sales. Startups in this category may charge for the courses they provide, which is a way to make money through technology in education.
Digital literacy is the goal of this type of startups, which seek to awaken the creative and entrepreneurial potential of young people and children. There are those who teach programming, design, or robotics to children through methods such as design thinking or project-focused learning. In this cases, courses are paid for.
In this category there are the most ambitious initiatives, as they try to break with the traditional teaching structure, exploring new ways and methodologies to teach that escapes standards. They propose teaching through experience and practice. Startups from this branch sell to companies their strategy to teach or solve problems.
Although the possibilities are diverse and the gains still difficult to measure, there are those who have reservations when thinking about the future of Edtech Brazilian startups. This happens due the fact that the industry still faces barriers to provide its products from north to south.
One of it, is the lack of quality of country’s data networks. Experts pointed out, during a public hearing held by the Brazilian Senate in 2016, that our country still does not have good connectivity indexes. Another study, commissioned by Facebook, puts the country among the 10 in the world with more people disconnected. In this panorama, how to create strategies and products to reach out those who have poor internet connection or do not have network access in your home?
Entrepreneurs also pointed out dealing with the state as one of the difficulties of the sector. Accustomed to a universe of constant change, dealing with the morose and bureaucratic model of the public machine is a challenge to reach the student community on a large scale. In addition, government institutions still have reservations when it comes to investing in technology, mainly because they lack the value that startups can provide for education.
What are the real opportunities to make a difference in Brazil? A study of the Potencia Ventures and Inspirare Institute conducted a study on the educational context in six Brazilian states, which together receive half of the public education budget in the country. The 2013 survey revealed several opportunities for startups in the country, the promising combinations, which focus mainly on changing the education offered to the lower social classes.