(SHANKAR MAHESH AND SHIVA RANJAN)
Trainers, coaches and tutors across the globe are increasingly interested in expanding their local audience by creating and selling online courses. Bangalore-based Learnyst offers educators all the tools they need to set up a storefront to sell their online courses, assess and manage their students, host their content and receive payments.
It helps educators build their branded online school and sell courses. In short they are building the Shopify for educators.
Their goal is to make teaching online very simple, secured and cost effective. Ultimately, their vision is to see the educational resources in every student’s hand.
1. Easy to use Course Do-It-Yourself website builder for creating a beautiful school front
2. Builder, Assessment Builder, Student Manager and Analytics Tools
3. Integrated Payment Gateway and content hosting solution
4. Content encryption service to prevent piracy
The founders of learnyst Mr.Shankar Mahesh & the Co- Founder Mr.Shiva Ranjan Virendra Kumar are school and college mates. They have known each other for the past 20 years and loved developing new apps since their college days. Eventually their passion for developing new apps made them quit their corporate jobs and start their entrepreneurial journey in July, 2012. Mr.Shankar Mahesh takes care of product development and Mr. Shiva Ranjan heads marketing and sales.
IDEA BEHIND THE STARTUP
They started Learnyst on Jan 2014. They wanted to expand their previous start-up karaokegarage.com a music learning app, and so explored the market opportunities.
After a survey of around 50 music schools in Bangalore, they found that a lot of music institutes were interested in a video based learning solution rather than an algorithmic based pitch analysis to learn music. Since a video based learning solution was considered beneficial to most educational institutes they extended their market research with other diversified test preparation and training institutes.
From a survey with educators the team found the following requirements and main points:
1. Content Security – To prevent piracy & loss of revenue
2. Websites to showcase and sell course contents
3. Mobile apps – Many students use mobile first app
4. Offline content accessibility – internet infrastructure is poor in India
5. Marketing tool support
They analysed the above requirements with existing products in the market but could not find any solution that addressed this problem. This encouraged them tp prepare some simple mock-up screens and present to potential customers. They were appreciated and receive commitment from some of the reputed test preparation institutes in India. From this point Learnyst has evolved through market requirements and feedback from teachers and students.
There are millions of good teachers who teach exceptionally well and are willing to teach online. By teaching online, educators can reach more students which is otherwise difficult due to physical or geographical limitation. Similarly, there are tens of millions of students who want to learn from quality educators. Having an independent online school provides complete control to educators and helps establish their brand as digital entrepreneurs. However, building a branded online school to teach is tough, expensive and time consuming. It requires knowledge such as hosting, video streaming, payment setup, analytics, etc. which deviates educators from focusing on teaching and content building.
1. Content security – With encrypted streaming the educator’s content is safe from piracy. This is a most desirable feature for educators as it ensures security of their course content.
2. Adaptive video streaming technology which ensures continuous video streaming even at low internet connectivity
3. Offline secure mobile apps where educators can distribute their encrypted course content on pen drive or SD Cards and students can access course content using Learnyst powered mobile apps. Helpful to reach students in remote places where internet connectivity is bad or unavailable.
4. Pricing – They do not take any percentage cut on course fee or restrict on student enrollments. This is a great motivating factor for educators to scale their school as they get to keep 100% of course revenue.
5. Ready to use assessment templates for standardized exams like GRE, GMAT, SAT and other competitive international and Indian exams.
ACTIVE MARKET REGIONS
Currently, they have more than 2000+ educators signed up on learnyst. About 50% of the customers are from India followed by the US, Europe and Africa. With the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) school builder it expects more global reach. However, the primary target, apart from India, will be the US & Europe.
Primarily independent educators. They could be independent tutors, test prep institutes, vocational training institutes, or anyone who would like to teach online. About 25% of the new customers come through referrals from existing clients. Apart from this they are reaching the target audience through social media, content marketing, SEO and PR.
For effective conversion they also offer a 30 day free trial to users upon sign-up. They help educators with content loading and provide customization support. They have also dedicated a sales person who engages with prospective leads and help them launch their online school.
PRODUCT / SERVICE COST
Learnyst is a SaaS product. The pricing is purely based on bandwidth usage. They do not charge any transaction fee or take a percentage cut on course fees.
The initial plan starts with $39/- per month which includes 30 GB storage and 15 GB bandwidth. The biggest benefit for educators is that they get to keep 100% of course revenue and have complete control over student data. Learnyst has proved its value proposition for educators by providing them an opportunity to generate at least 30X revenue over investment.
It has raised INR 10 Lakhs from Times Internet Limited (Delhi, India) for their previous product Karaokegarage.com. However they have pivoted and currently focused on Learnyst. They are looking to raise $200K for taking Learnyst to the next level.
Learnyst has evolved through market requirements and feedback from teachers and students. Every feature developed on Learnyst has been derived through requirements from prospective customers. This has helped Learnyst find its niche and market fit in a very short time. Its features and product road map are inline with competing products which validates their findings. It has partnered with reputed test prep institutes like Career Launcher and 2IIM as technology partners. At present they have more than 2000 educators signed up with more than 60 paying customers.
1. Target to have 10,000 signups with 1000 paid customers
2. Provide marketing tools for educators like emails, blogs, social integration, SMS, coupons, partnerships with marketplace vendors etc
3. Focus on implementing a standardized marketing and sales process
4. Develop features to automatically create mobile apps from web version
5. Improve upon customization tools & plug-ins
There are millions of educators who are not able to expand their business online due to the unavailability of affordable solutions and high maintenance cost. Learnyst helps educators unleash the power of online education and reach a wider global audience. The mission is to empower educators with an affordable, high quality secure learning solution so that they can take their courses online and become online Entrepreneurs without much investment.
Ultimately their vision is to see school solution in every student’s hand’. They want to achieve this by providing a robust technology platform that reduces setup cost to launch an online school by 90% and by providing powerful marketing tools to educators.