As most Indian edtech startups work on broadening their catalog with live and recorded courses for students, some are beginning to take a different approach to tackle the South Asian nation's large education market.
Teachmint, a one-year-old startup, is betting on empowering teachers to create their own virtual classrooms with a few taps on their smartphone.
The startup, which started its journey during the pandemic, has developed what it calls a mobile-first, video-first tech infrastructure to help teachers take online classes, engage with students virtually, assign them tasks, conduct attendance and also collect fees.
Teachmint’s offering has already amassed over 1 million teachers from over 5,000 Indian cities and the usage is growing over 100% each month, said Mihir Gupta, co-founder and chief executive of Teachmint, in an interview with TechCrunch.
Last month, students consumed over 25 million live classes on Teachmint, he said. Naturally investors are paying attention, too.
On Thursday, the startup said it has raised $20 million in a new investment led by Learn Capital and with participation from CM Ventures. The new investment, dubbed Pre-Series B, comes in less than two months after the startup closed its $16.5 million Series A funding.
Other than taking a different approach to tackle the education space in India, where over 250 million students go to school, another key thing that differentiates Teachmint is its in-house prowess with tech infrastructure.
Most startups today rely on scores of technology vendors for streaming their videos, cloud storage and processing tasks, and collecting fees. “Zoom and Google Meet are great services for talking to people. But they are not fundamentally designed to solve the needs of teachers and students,” said Gupta.
By not relying on other tech providers, Teachmint, which counts Lightspeed India Partners and Better Capital among its investors, has also been able to optimize its offerings more aggressively, said Gupta.
Through its proprietary approach, Teachmint said it is able to significantly control and improve the interactiveness in these classrooms. Having in-house technology offering also helps the startup spend only a fraction on each class, he said.
"We have created a new category altogether. Any teacher can download the Teachmint app and create their first classroom within minutes. This ease of digitization of classroom didn't exist before Teachmint," he said, adding that more than 75% of teachers on the platform use their smartphones to conduct classes.
Image Credits: Teachmint
Teachers on Teachmint can also create public links of their classrooms and share it on Facebook and other platforms to create additional distribution channels.
Students also don't need to jot down the entire session. Teachmint delivers the notes that teachers go through during their classes in real time with students. This way, "teachers also don't have to recreate their notes," he said.
The app, which supports 10 Indian languages (in addition to English), is just 14 megabytes in size and consistently ranks at -- or among -- the top education apps in Play Store in India.
On Thursday, the startup also announced a new product to serve schools and colleges. The product, called Teachmint for Institute, offers educational institutes a platform to conduct and monitor all their online classes and institute activities.
The expansion to this new category came after Teachmint, which consults with many teachers for building products and new features, learned that schools were struggling to collect fees from students amid the pandemic since these institutions were not able to continue their offerings in a structured way, said Gupta. And the pandemic, which last year prompted New Delhi to close schools, also made it less transparent for institutes to have visibility into how their classes were being conducted.
"In just 12 months, Teachmint has blossomed from a nascent idea to the No.1 ranked education app in India – an unprecedented growth narrative for an Indian edtech company," said Vinit Sukhija, partner at Learn Capital, in a statement.
"This market resonance is a testament to the Teachmint team’s ongoing commitment to authentically incorporating teachers’ perspectives into the company’s ever-expanding suite of market-pioneering digital teaching tools. Having inaugurated its partnership with Teachmint just several months ago, Learn Capital is thrilled to now augment its partnership at this critical juncture in the company’s trajectory as it plans for exciting new product launches and international expansion.”
The startup will deploy the fresh funds to continue to expand its product offerings and hire talent, said Gupta. But more interestingly, he said, Teachmint is ready to expand outside of India and serve teachers in international markets.
With a flip of a switch, Gupta said he will make the offering available globally. "We don't create content, so product is geography agnostic," he said.