Classplus is an Ed-Tech startup transforming the world of education by powering educationalists with the digital tools and resources which help them become future-ready. Its unified platform enables teachers and students to unravel their true potential across the country on a streamlined platform with our next-level technology. We talk to its co-founder and CEO, Mukul Rustagi, about the company’s inception, the evolution, and what the future holds in this interview.
PS: The interview has been edited for the sake of brevity.
Table of Contents
1. Before we begin talking about Classplus, our readers would love to know your journey into the world of SaaS?
Bhaswat and I (Co-founders, Classplus) met each other back in 2007 at an IIT-JEE preparation coaching center. The vision for our startup, Classplus, stems largely from that experience. Our coaching center shut shop 10 months before the exam date and all the students were left looking for other options. This incident left us with a sour memory.
Later in 2017, when Bhaswat and I decided to take on the entrepreneurial journey after 2 years of work experience each, we noticed things hadn’t changed much for educators. There were big tech players taking over the exam prep and after-school education sector in India, but educators themselves remained somewhat immune to the march of tech. We realized the need to equip educators with technology to run their video classes, online tests, payments, and student engagement on a single mobile app which is what students love in today’s smartphone age.
We started our first venture in 2016 that did not do well but that experience led us to build a product called Classplus, in 2019, that tutors love today.
Our mission to provide a single digital platform for educators to run their entire coaching stack on a single digital platform is what brought us to the world of SaaS. We wanted to flip the trend of internet-centric learning that often sidelines teachers, and ensure that technology is used to support the efforts of these local coaching centers and teachers.
2. What’s the gap that you saw in the Ed-Tech market, and how are you solving it with Classplus?
In the internet age, educators found themselves devoid of any technology to give their students a digital learning experience and were not able to compete with the big online players of today. Teachers were afraid of adding online to offline as they did not know how to code and build an online platform.
While other tech giants are using technology to replace tutors, Classplus is enabling them with technology to compete against these giants. Classplus aims to streamline this massive and fragmented market by providing tutors a mobile-first platform allowing them to adopt a digital teaching model and create a new future for themselves by going national.
3. Could you share the evolution of Classplus since its inception in 2018?
Classplus was launched in 2018. Since its inception, we have seen exponential growth with 100,000+ educators and 10M+ students across 1500+ Indian cities using Classplus. We became the category leaders in India within 12 months of our launch. We are the first Indian B2B Edtech platform to do 4 rounds of funding within 2.5 years of launch backed by some of the key investors like AWI, RTP Global, Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, and Blume Ventures.
During COVID, we also partnered with NGOs and benefitted more than 20,000+ underprivileged youngsters across 22 states in locations as remote as Kurnool in Hyderabad, Ambadi, and Shahpur in Mumbai & Thane.
We also launched a new product, Classplus Lite, India’s first free app for teachers, which allows its 50k+ tutors to teach and engage students online quickly. It became the fastest-growing coaching app for teachers and students within 4 weeks of launch.
4. How many users / coaching institutes are using Classplus?
Our platform currently has 100,000+ educators and 10million+ students across 1,500+ Indian cities.
5. How do you stand out from the competition, as you offer a bunch of things, and there are rivals which offer some of the features such as live classes or the ability to purchase courses.
Empowering educators through a simple mobile-first online learning management app is something that no company in India had been able to do before Classplus. And within 18 months of launch, we expanded nationally, serving tutors across 1,500+ cities becoming the category leader in the segment.
Classplus gives every educator a mobile app that comes by their own brand using which they build their own digital identity. Classplus is organizing this massive market by helping educators run all their communication, online tests, digital payments, video lectures, and online learning programs on a full-stack mobile solution enabling them to reach out to students across the country.
It also provides a content distribution channel allowing educators to generate additional opportunities of monetizing their online assessments and digital content. Teachers are saved from the trouble of using multiple platforms for different needs and spend time on learning technology so that they can focus on teaching their students in an easy manner.
6. How has the ongoing pandemic affected Classplus – both in terms of businesses and no of users?
We have been fortunate to be a part of the digital transformation of thousands of coaching centers during the pandemic. We are thrilled that by using Classplus, millions of students could stay connected to their favorite tutors. This also prevented the educators from losing their tuition business and livelihoods while ensuring that students remain undisturbed. We saw the student engagements growing by 10x over the last 12 months.
7. What do you think the future of Ed-Tech holds, especially as the world has warmed up to the idea of remote learning?
We don’t imagine technology to replace tutors in India, however, see it as a collaborative trend going forward. In our view, traditional tutoring set-ups, armed with local trust and modern-age technology can jointly foster the future of the Indian e-learning market. Though the market is highly competitive, we believe that our technology is simplified as per the needs of the tutors, and it will help them create a niche in the sector.
8. Speaking of that, what’s Classplus working on? Is it looking to expand to new geographies, launch new features, or something else altogether?
We are strengthening our presence in vital educational hubs in key South Indian markets that are highly acclaimed for the quality of their educators and the academic excellence they instil. South India is critical geography and sets the bar for academic excellence nationwide. More than 1,500 teachers from across Karnataka are using Classplus, and the response has been particularly encouraging especially in and around Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, and Hubli. A presence in the South will also empower Classplus to better service our growing customer base across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka, which has witnessed massive growth over the last 12 months.
We are also hiring across engineering, product, and business development to upgrade the platform with the latest technological advancements, making the digital coaching process easier than ever before.
In the next 2 to 3 years, we plan to expand to the South East Asian regions and strengthen the region’s educational ecosystem, powered by our product and technology.
9. What are your favorite SaaS products out there?
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