4月23日，Ladies Who Tech北京区带来了今年第一场创始人系列活动，邀请到教育科技公司的四位创始人，结合自己的亲身经历，给大家谈一谈疫情会为教育科技行业带来哪些持久性影响。
The COVID-19 crisis has significantly reconfigured how we work, live and learn. With more than three million cases worldwide, it remains uncertain how a post-pandemic society will function, but a consensus has already emerged in the industry of Edtech: the coronavirus has been a catalyst for global implementation of online classrooms, pushing school faculty and teaching models to accommodate ongoing learning despite disruption to classes.
On April 23, Ladies Who Tech Beijing hosted its first Founders Series of the year, where we explored the future of education technology in the eventual aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak. We were thrilled to introduce an international panel of four female founders at the online event – Cindy Mi at VIPKid, Sara Gu at ClassIn (where this event is hosted on), Monica Brady-Myerov at Listenwise and Jill Hodges at FireTech – who shared their entrepreneurial journeys in education technology and discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the sector.
成立教育科技公司的驱动力 The Motivation of a Founder
"Mission" and "passion" were the two words most frequently mentioned by our guest speakers. As Monica Brady-Myerov, the founder of Listenwise, said: "I created Listenwise after noticing that my daughter learns much faster by listening to the radio than by reading a textbook. So I came up with an idea of allowing my daughter to learn and explore the world via stories.”
Once this idea emerged, Monica couldn't stop working on what was originally a side-project until she founded the company and took it to the next level.
Similarly, VIPKid founder Cindy Mi also emphasized the importance of "mission" and "enthusiasm" in every member of the start-up team. VipKid's mission is to encourage and empower every child, regarding students as the core value of the company.
She said: "You've got to be willing to spend every waking minute working and not feel tired. Everyone has to be good at what they do and deliver results. In the case of Edtech companies, the increase in the number of students will naturally attract excellent teachers; students who achieve good results will naturally lead parents to invest more on the platform. This is a positive promotion.”
This is the reason why VIPKid was able to achieve an average of one million new users per month and 100 million views of video playback during the pandemic!
When asked about the differences between online and offline education, and whether online education is likely to replace classrooms, Firetech founder Jill Hodges said: "For young students, offline education is still necessary. They may not be able to focus on computer screens for extended periods, and for many social teaching activities, offline interaction remains necessary. However, I am also very optimistic about the development of online education because of its overwhelming benefits. Obviously, it can accommodate more people at the same time, and provide more learners with homogeneous resources. The prices are lower but the profit margins are higher.”
At the same time, Jill believes that offline education can serve as R & D for their new products. "Every time we have a new product to go online, we will first start promoting it offline, which will allow us to more intuitively understand the experience of students and parents, and such continuous improvement allows us to do better online.”
MandarinPro is a Chinese language training company which has developed from operating offline to both online and offline. The company focuses on helping business professionals improve their Mandarin language abilities and solve their language problems in life and work.
According to founder Lily Wang, COVID-19 had both negative and positive effects on the business. First of all, there was a disruption to offline classes and her clients were not able to travel back to China due to the lockdown.
On the bright side, online demand has soared as most of their clients have swapped to attend online classes. In addition, new registration increased as many new customers saw the free time they had during the lockdown as an opportunity to improve their Chinese.
疫情之下对于教育科技公司的影响 Impact of COVID-19 on Edtech Companies
All four founders agreed that the pandemic has accelerated the development of online education. The registration numbers of new users on Listenwise has quadrupled, and the number of paid users has doubled. VIPKid has also added two million registered users in the past two months.
Sara Gu, the founder of ClassIn, said: "The pandemic crisis allowed teachers from all over the world to gather online to discuss and exchange excellent learning resources to help students learn more efficiently at home. At the same time, students are quickly becoming self-disciplined and independent learners.”
教育科技公司的未来展望 The Future of Edtech
Regarding the future of the Edtech industry, a quick consensus emerged on the learning habits of future generations: Students will become independent learners and learning methods will become more flexible as parents continuously source for high quality learning platforms.
The pandemic has spurred the transformation of offline education to online in an exceedingly short time period, and our founders see great potential in the future development of online education. Firstly, due to the flexibility of resource integration, profit margins will be greatly increased once the business is scaled. Secondly, online education can transcend geography and physical boundaries, allowing students to learn and communicate with excellent teachers all over the world, making the experience more accessible.