A social network primarily used in k-12 by 18 million people as of March 2013, here's a quick look at their growth stats:
- End of 2012: 15 million
- End of 2011: 5 million
- End of 2010: 1 million (Sept 2010: 0.5 million)
Source: Edmodo blog.
A destination for teachers to share resources and find jobs. Used by 52 Million and bringing in over USD 100 Mn in revenue in 2012 (reportedly half of that in profits).
Teachers Pay Teachers
A site for Teachers to sell resources (lesson plans et al) to each other. Has facilitated USD 30 million worth of transactions so far.
What's the common thread running across these three Ed Tech stars?
1. Focus on the right stakeholder.
Edmodo does this by putting power in the hands of the teacher who 'creates' a group for her class and invites her students to 'join' the group. And the magic starts from that simple action. The teacher is the 'primary driver' in this case and the other stakeholders (students, parents, administrators) follow.
On the other hand, if you are working in the test prep market, the learner may becomes your 'primary driver'.
It's not about alienating either. It's about who you start with and who will drive that market for you.
2. Focus on creating superlative value for that stakeholder.
Apart from helping manage classes, assignments and grades, Edmodo helps teachers connect with each other in a meaningful way and share resources within the network.
On the other hand, TES helps teachers find better jobs, besides giving them access to resources.
TPT helps teachers generate a second line of income from the resources they create. Some teachers have made more than USD 300 k from TPT sales.
How is your Ed Tech tool helping the aspirations of stakeholders - be it becoming a better teacher, finding a job or making additional income?
Or as a tool for the learner, how does it improve performance in a class; an exam; a project in a tangible,demonstrable manner?
Ed Tech is not about 'cool'. It's about making something that finds time in a busy teacher's (or student's) calendar of school work and assignments. And buying time from a learner/educator is not possible unless it organically fits into the scheme of things. Make your tool a natural extension.
3. Focus on reducing transaction friction.
Selling to schools is tough. There are far too many stakeholders involved and it's a solid feet-on-the-street effort with a long sales cycle. And selling, like any other business, is the most difficult part of running an Ed Tech startup too. How does one find mind-space among hundreds of others jostling for the same attention?
Edmodo's move is brilliant and the right step in the direction of selling education tools by reducing this friction involved in the sales process. Their marketplace allows third-party developers to sell free/paid apps to the Edmodo community.
What's different? The way they went about it. By keeping the site free, adding features consistently and connecting with the community meaningfully through events such as EdmodoCon, Edmodo has become a way of life with teachers and students. And with 18 million + users, it's no longer an alien name to the administrators.
So when a teacher wants to buy an app from the Edmodo marketplace, the friction is minimal because:
- the administrator knows Edmodo
- the administrator knows that it's trustworthy
- the administrator knows that buying has become more of a transactional activity (on account of the two points above) and not about listening to a sales guy
- the administrator still has the power to sanction purchasing credit for buying apps
The trust has come from the community and buying a tool has become sort of a 'one-click' affair.
Edmodo has made the whole aspect of buying not a 'violent', but a pleasant seamless experience.
In fact, I would peg Edmodo as one of the few Ed Tech start-ups on its way to cracking the sell/distribution piece. Imagine a AppStore for education with a majority of the k-12 (and potentially the Higher Ed) market using it and thousands of developers riding on it. That's one solid supply chain in place.
Focusing on the right stakeholder + Creating superlative value + Enabling frictionless transaction = a potentially successful Ed Tech company. That's my take.
Do you agree? What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback.
1. TES was acquired by TPG in a deal worth USD 600 Mn this year.