Are you an entrepreneur looking to create an EdTech product? Or maybe you have already built an educational product and need a helping hand to make it scale?
Having worked with several EdTech companies, we have learnt the ropes and understand the key challenges of the market. Finding a technical partner who has experience in your market can be invaluable when building a product. Learn more about EdTech, three of our clients in the industry and how we helped them!
The EdTech market
Educational technology (EdTech) is a combination of using IT and educational practices to enhance and facilitate learning. With 4 out of 5 surveyed teachers claiming that they use EdTech in almost every lesson (RS), many technology companies are working with schools, colleges, universities and companies to support professional development, ease workload for teachers and improve student learnability.
The UK EdTech market has been forecasted to be worth £3.4bn by 2021, with a global valuation of £128bn (EdTechnology). Although the United States has the largest amount of EdTech headquarters, the UK sits firmly in the top 5 countries pioneering the EdTech market.
VC Brighteye analysed a steady increase in EU investment going towards EdTech companies since 2014, with Chinese EdTech firms attracting the most investment globally. Interestingly, they found that the majority of EU investment funds were invested in consumer and corporate facing companies:
“Combined, these two segments (consumer and corporate facing) accounted for 78% of all investments made to EdTech companies across the EU since 2014. Only 10% of total EU investment went to school-facing and 12% to university-facing companies over the same period.” (Brighteye VC)
Low investment in school and university facing companies could be accredited to the lack of funding available to educational institutions. Indeed, many teachers have expressed a concern in there is a lack of EdTech funds in their institutions. A survey by RS found that 37% of teachers have previously purchased tech supplies with their own money to bridge the gap in the lack of funding.
There is however hope and innovation on the horizon for schools! A £4.6 million EdTech investment programme was launched by Nesta and DfE (Department of Education) in 2019, hoping to kickstart school innovation and investment into EdTech. Although the applications are now closed, there is hope for a second release of investment so keep an eye out.
Our experience with EdTech projects
We really enjoy working with our EdTech clients. Our team have taken great pleasure knowing that what we have built with our clients has facilitated the learnings of thousands of students in the UK and abroad.
Our experience has allowed us to understand the key difficulties of building EdTech products and there are a few points we would consider “must-haves” for any of those projects:
- A clear user experience that allows users to understand their progress and track their results.
- Accessibility: More than any other project, EdTech projects are susceptible to be accessed by both students and parents. The wider the audience, the wider the importance of accessibility becomes.
- Scalability: EdTech projects are unique in the sense that new users will arrive in waves. Either date dependent waves (like a certain time before exam period) or number waves (because one person recommended it to 30 people and there is a rapid snowball effect). Creating a platform that scales between waves is essential.
- Video: Video is now at the heart of EdTech. Done well, it improves the learning experience of students and creates good retention rates. Done poorly, it creates a slow and frustrating app. You guessed right that we work with our clients to create the former experience!
- Lastly, we understand that education is constantly changing. We need to make sure that we create platforms for clients that allows them to update lesson plans as requirements change. Having a platform that is scalable and flexible is key when building an EdTech product, and something we would love to continue to build!
Discover some of our EdTech clients
What do they do? Creator of online maths tutoring tools. They make it easier for GCSE students to revise and prepare for their maths exams.
How we helped: We came in at the idea stage and made it into a product!
Technologies used: Ruby on Rails, Amazon Web Services, Heroku, Stripe
When the examfit team brought their idea to us at the end of 2018, we were keen to take on the project and create this useful resource. We agreed to build the marking tool in Ruby, which would allow us to get the product to market quickly.
First, we created functionality to allow students to search for, filter, save and self-mark relevant papers. Second, we created a system to generate accurate marks for the tests and data about the user’s strongest and weakest topics in just a few clicks. Then, we began work on the next phase – a tool for generating customised papers that will make practice possibilities endless.
The platform makes it easy for students to review their progress and make improvements – the past paper practice has taken it to the next level! In the first three months of it going live, the platform saw over 3k students answering 140k questions, and generated nearly 5k new practice papers. Impressive!
The Medic portal
Name: The Medic Portal
What do they do? The leading resource and training provider for everyone who wants a career in Medicine.
How we helped: Took over an existing platform and optimised it into a scaleable product.
Technologies used: WordPress, Ractive.js
George, co-founder of The Medic Portal, first met us back in 2018, when we teamed up to build the MVP of Examfit. Impressed by our pragmatism and passion to do great work, we conducted a mini discovery workshop so we could understand their immediate business needs and long term goals. It was clear that from the high volume of seasonal traffic, their sites were struggling to hold up and performance improvements became paramount.
We set upon an initial discovery sprint – investigating the overall structure of the codebase, setting performance benchmarks and tackling low hanging fruits. Before too long, we were making integral structural changes to increase performance. Following our regular deploys, the end result was a speedy website that holds up well, even under slow connections. It continues to perform and show stability during peak revision periods.
The future is bright for The Medic Portal users – we’re currently in the process of a redesign and build of key product pages and user dashboard, so they can look forward to many new and exciting features.
What do they do? Innovative medical learning through a stylish online platform. Showcases immersive video lectures, self-assessments and textbook content.
How we helped: We became their technical partners at the idea stage and built their app and marketing site from there!
Technologies used: Ruby on Rails, Heroku, Stripe, Vimeo API
The team at Pulsenotes invited us to become their technical partners and help their idea come to fruition. As well as developing the app and marketing site, we contributed our own technical expertise and business experience. Through brainstorming workshops and feature planning sessions, we challenged their concepts to take them one step further each time.
Pulsenotes launched in December 2015. The online medical revision service for undergraduates engages and challenges students. For the price of a standard textbook, users have complete access to quality video lectures series, question bank and accompanying notes. After such a successful launch, we look forward to what the future holds for Pulsenotes.
Are you thinking of building an EdTech company or looking to make improvements on your current product? Get in touch with us and let’s chat!