Essentials that VCs Look for in an Edtech Solution

January 09, 2024

Education Technology, or Edtech, has caught the attention of investors looking to put their money into digital learning platforms, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed learning online. These investors, called Venture Capitalists (VCs), are very selective, ensuring their money will generate good returns. This article explores the key points VCs consider when investing in Edtech solutions.

What Attracts Investment to Edtech Solutions?

Market Size and Growth:

1.  Big Market: VCs like Edtech solutions that cater to a large number of people and have the potential to grow even more extensively globally.

2.  Growth Potential: The platform should be able to handle more and more users without slowing down or having other issues.

The education technology (Edtech) world is enormous because so many people want to learn, from little kids to grown-ups, all around the globe. This extensive market is like a giant playground where Edtech companies come to play and teach. 

Some parts of this playground, like Asia and Africa, have many people eager to learn but need more good digital classrooms. Companies like BYJU’s from India and VIPKid from China saw this and stepped in. Now, they are like the big kids in the playground, helping many learn in fun, new ways.

Now, more than just having a big playground is required. As more learners join in, the digital classroom should fit them all comfortably. This is what we call ‘growth potential.’ It's like having a slide that gets longer and bigger as more kids want to slide down. But making the slide big while keeping the fun ride smooth is tough. 

There could be bumps, or it could get crowded. Edtech companies have to solve these problems to grow. Some companies, like Coursera and Khan Academy, have done a great job at this. They started with a small slide but now have a big one where millions of learners can slide down smoothly, learning along the way.

Creative Technology:

1.  Advanced Technology: Platforms that use the latest technologies like Artificial Intelligence or Augmented Reality stand out to VCs.

2.  Personalized Learning: VCs are interested in platforms that adjust to each learner's pace and style of learning.

Things like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR) are changing the way we learn. They make learning feel like an exciting adventure. For example, ClassVR lets students explore different places and ideas through virtual trips, making learning much more fun.

Another prominent idea in online learning is personalized learning. This means the learning program changes to fit each person, just like a playlist that knows your favorite songs. With the help of intelligent tech like AI, online learning platforms can understand what learners know, what they need to learn next, and how they learn best. 

One such platform, Squirrel AI, acts like a personal tutor, adjusting the lessons to help each learner understand better.

Personalized learning ensures that everyone learns at their speed, making learning less stressful and more effective. For example, DreamBox Learning is a platform that changes the way kids learn math based on how they solve problems, making math less scary and more fun.

In simple words, creative technology in online learning is like having a magic school bag. This bag has cool gadgets that take you on fun learning adventures and an intelligent notebook that understands you and helps you learn better. 

And the good news is more and more online learning places are bringing these magic school bags to every learner, making learning something to look forward to!

Making Money:

1.  Earning Plan: A clear plan on how the platform will make money is essential to assure VCs they will get a return on their investment.

2.  Sustainable Business: The business model should be solid, ensuring the company can make money over the long term.

Educational apps and websites (Edtech) can be great places for learning. But to keep going, they need to make money too. One way they do this is by asking users to pay a monthly fee, a subscription model. 

Another way is the freemium model, where basic stuff is free, but you pay for extra cool features. Coursera is a good example where you pay a monthly fee to access many courses.

Now, making money is good, but it’s also essential to have a plan for the long term. This means having a way to keep making money and growing even as things change. 

It’s like planning a big road trip - you must have enough snacks and a map to keep going! Investors, who are people or groups with money to support these education apps, like to see a good long-term plan. They want to know their support will help the app keep going strong for a long time.

An excellent example of a long-term plan is Khan Academy. They give free lessons to everyone, and they get money from people who want to support their mission of free education for all. This plan has helped them keep going for many years, helping many people learn all sorts of things.

So, making money in Edtech is about having an excellent plan and thinking about how to keep going in the long run. Like an intelligent road trip plan ensures you reach your destination and have fun, a brilliant money-making plan helps Edtech places help more people learn for a long time.

Educational Impact and User Involvement:

1.  Real Learning: The platform should enhance learning and have proof to show its educational benefits.

2.  User Engagement: If users are actively engaged, it shows the platform meets educational needs, which can lead to success.

Two big things matter a lot. One is ensuring that learners understand and learn what's being taught. The other is ensuring learners are having a good time and staying interested. 

For the first part, it's all about real learning. Edtech platforms use different ways to check how much learners are understanding. They use quizzes teacher feedback, and sometimes even ask learners to solve real-world problems. It's essential to show that the learning is working. 

For example, platforms like EdSurge and Prodigy are good at showing how learners are growing and getting better over time.

On the flip side, keeping learners interested or user engagement is a big deal, too. Edtech platforms look at how often learners log in, how long they stay, and how much they interact with the lessons. 

To keep learners interested, these platforms try to make learning fun. They use game challenges and give rewards like stars or badges. For instance, Duolingo and Khan Academy do a great job at this. They make learning feel like a game, so learners enjoy it and keep coming back.

Following Rules and Protecting Data:

1.  Legal Compliance: Following all the education-related laws is essential to avoid legal trouble.

2.  Data Privacy: With data misuse concerns, strong data privacy and security measures are crucial.

Educational apps and websites have a big job of following specific rules and keeping our information safe. These two tasks are crucial for making sure everything runs smoothly and safely.

Firstly, there’s a need to follow the rules, known as legal compliance. There are many rules in the education sector that Edtech platforms need to follow. These rules are there to ensure everything is fair and safe for everyone. 

Following these rules can be challenging, but it's imperative. Edtech platforms need to know the rules well, teach their team about them, and check regularly to ensure they follow them correctly. 

When rules are not followed, problems can arise. For example, some Edtech companies got into trouble and had to pay fines for not following data privacy laws, which are rules about keeping personal information safe.

Secondly, keeping personal information safe, known as data privacy, is a big concern with more online learning. Edtech platforms use special tools to protect data, tell users how they will use it, and check regularly to ensure everything is secure. 

Some Edtech platforms do a great job keeping data safe and have become examples for others in the industry.

Team and Getting Things Done:

1.  Skilled Team: VCs like a strong team that can effectively carry out the business plan.

2.  Quick Adaptation: A team that can quickly change and improve the product as needed is a big plus.

A good team is like having a group of smart friends who can solve problems. When a company has experienced people who work well together, they can figure out how to get through challenging situations and help the company do well. 

Some Edtech companies like Coursera and Khan Academy have good teams who know a lot about education and technology, and they have helped their companies become popular places for people to learn.

Being able to change quickly is also essential because online education constantly evolves. Companies need to be quick-change artists, able to switch things up when needed. 

This means listening to what users say, learning from mistakes, and trying new things to improve. Even as the company grows, keeping this quick-change ability is essential. Some Edtech companies like Duolingo and Quizlet are good at this. They have been able to change and improve their apps to keep users happy and keep up with what’s new in education and technology.

Simply put, having a good team and being able to change quickly are two big things that can help an Edtech company do well. With intelligent people working together and willing to change and improve, Edtech companies have a better chance to grow and help more people learn.

Customers’ Approval and Growth:

1.  Customer Approval: Early users liking the platform and giving positive feedback shows the platform meets market needs.

2.  Growth: Growing user numbers and revenue are good signs of a platform’s potential success.

When a company is just starting, what the early users say is super important. It's like getting advice from friends on how to get better. Companies can ask users what they think by using website surveys or feedback forms. 

They can use this feedback to fix problems and make the platform better. A good example is Khan Academy. They listened to what users had to say early on and made changes, and now they are a big name in online learning.

Conversely, growth is about getting more users, keeping them interested, and making more money. It’s like a small tree growing more prominent over time. When a company grows, it can attract more money from investors because they see it’s doing well and want to be a part of it. 

Duolingo and Coursera grew a lot and attracted money from investors to help them grow even more.


Edtech is an exciting area for VCs, but only the best solutions will attract serious investment. Combining great technology, real educational benefits, and a solid business plan is critical to getting VCs to invest and making an Edtech venture successful.


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