Online education, powered by a clutch of innovative education-technology companies and backed by digital lending, is set to transform the process of learning and upskilling for millions of Indians. Leading entrepreneurs and founders of successful EdTech and FinTech companies shared this opinion at an event recently hosted by ZestMoney, one of India’s fastest-growing consumer lending platforms.
Discussing the evolution of EdTech in India, Lizzie Chapman, CEO and Co-founder of ZestMoney spoke about user studies which showed that in India, education was the topmost area of priority for people who want to avail financing. This is reflected in the fact that ZestMoney has seen a significant increase in the number of loan applications for education in a short period of time. “The market opportunity for EdTech is huge – it can be ten times what it is today if powered by FinTech. That is what ZestMoney is committed to provide through our easy and transparent loans, as part of our mission to meaningfully impact the lives of millions of Indians,” she said.
Krishnan Ganesh, reputed serial entrepreneur and founder of GrowthStory, echoed Lizzie’s thoughts. “There is untapped opportunity in skilling, re-skilling and increasing employability. People in small towns can be taught trades like plumbing, for example, through well-designed content in regional languages. EdTech companies should focus on micro skilling and creating micro entrepreneurs in tier 2 and tier 3 cities,” he said.
Well-known angel investor, entrepreneur and advisor to startups, Kunal Shah spoke about the importance of understanding consumer motivation in a country like India before building products and solutions in the Education sector. “Education is probably the most fertile sector in the country, but EdTech companies must focus on the motivation of consumers here, which is very different from that of consumers in say, China. We must build solutions keeping this in mind and not simply copy models from elsewhere,” he added.
In the panel discussion that ensued, comprising leading founders like Hari Krishnan Nair – Co-founder and Director, Great Learning, Phalgun Kompalli – Co-founder, Upgrad, Priyamvada Sharma – Co-founder and CFO, ZestMoney and Rajesh Kumar – Co-founder, FACE and Upskilly with Rohit Gandhi – Editor in Chief, Democracy news live, as the moderator, everyone was in agreement about the fact that the larger role of EdTech lies in democratizing education, by helping provide access to high-quality education for all through innovative technological solutions, and FinTech can make this happen through digital financing solutions that traditional banks do not provide and which make it affordable for all.