Shake it up! Edtech 1.0 ripe for disruption

How do you identify an industry that is ripe for disruption? When there is a gap between the solutions offered by current players in the industry and the changing demands of its customers, new players can disrupt the industry.

Companies from edtech 1.0 assured us that they would solve all the problems with our education system. They did solve for access by bringing offline content online. The best content from top professors and universities that was previously inaccessible to most was bought online by the likes of Coursera and Khan Academy. Online and live tutoring by companies like Tutorvista provided access to quality teachers to students around the world. edtech 1.0 was the best thing to happen in democratizing access to knowledge, since the invention of internet.

However, providing access has not solved all the problems, students struggle to learn, underperform in tests and fail to reach their true potential. As per a public report, 47% of Indian graduates are unemployable and 90% of engineering graduates are unemployable. The key reasons for these are:

–  The current learning process is boring and outdated. The focus is on rote learning and scoring at all levels. There is no engagement in the learning process.

– There is no personalization and one on one tutoring is expensive. It has been reiterated in many articles that we can not have a “one size fit all” solution to educate our diverse students. Students have different aptitudes and most are not even exposed to the various career options they have. The traditional and the edtech 1.0 players have failed to innovate and build products that individualize to every student’s profile.

– There is a disconnect between what is taught and the skills required in the job market. The traditional educational and edtech 1.0 players are teaching curriculum that is not in sync with the new age jobs. The frequency at which the curriculum is updated is slower than the rate at which the job profiles are changing.

If India has to fully capitalize its demographic dividend, then we need to address the issue of unlocking the true potential of everyone in our workforce. While this is a massive problem, tech can offer simple solutions. Edtech 2.0 companies are unlocking true potential of students using data and analytics to personalize education, make the process of learning fun and social, focus on true learning rather than rote and give real time feedback.

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Financial Services: Industry ripe for Disruption

Why are banks pruning their branches after years of growing them? What is the purpose of a bank? To grow savings, get a loan, make and receive payments.

With crowd funding sites like zopa, lending club, ilend and umpteen other crowd funding sites, individuals can cut the middleman and take direct control of their investments or get a loan. Venture capital, PE and debt funds are better capable of evaluating the risks of investing and lending to businesses. NBFCs (Non Banking Financial Institutions) in India – an umbrella that includes micro financial institutions (MFIs), Asset backed financiers (housing, auto and consumer) have better infrastructure like geographical coverage, understanding the market, credit score of borrower, than banks to cater to customers. Focused lenders that lend to infrastructure, agriculture and export sectors are better placed in their sectors than banks. Crypto currencies can’t be written off and will comeback as they offer an almost no transaction charge transfer of money. New payment solutions like mpesa by Vodafone and Square (and the look alikes) serve merchants better than solutions provided by banks. So why do we need a conventional bank in its current form?