Classplus: India’s Shopify for Education
Tutoring in India is unlike tutoring anywhere else in the world. Indian parents spend whatever they can afford on their kids’ education because they see it as the primary means for socio-economic mobility. Parents enroll their kids in tutoring (aka “coaching”) to review what their child learns in school, as well as to prepare for high-stakes exams which can have a major impact on the students’ future. As a consequence, tutors are incredibly important in Indian society — they are idolized by parents and students.
We are excited to announce that we co-led the recent $65M funding round of Classplus, the leading infrastructure SaaS platform serving the $30B Indian tutoring market that remains 98% offline, alongside Tiger Global and Alpha Wave Incubation / Falcon Edge. Existing backers Blume Ventures and RTP Global also participated.
Mukul Rustagi and Bhaswat Agarwal founded Classplus to help tutors move online. It is a full-stack and mobile-first platform that enables tutors to distribute their content, acquire students, and teach virtually. Classplus empowers tutoring institutes to grow their audiences. The biggest center on the platform has over 100k students and over 100 centers using Classplus have more than 10k students. The platform grew nearly 10x in 2020 and supports nearly 5M active students. The vision behind Classplus is to be the leading provider of infrastructure SaaS for digital learning. It impresses across each category in GSV’s 5Ps framework.
Friends Turned Serial Founders
Mukul and Bhaswat’s story begins in 2007. The pair were classmates preparing for IIT entrance exams at the same coaching institute. However, the center shut down before they started 12th grade, forcing them to study for the exams on their own. They decided to study together and became fast friends. Although they attended different universities, they started two companies together as undergraduates. After university, Mukul became a derivatives trader and Bhaswat joined Microsoft Education. In 2015, they started a school communication platform. In 2017, they founded Classplus, which is their third EdTech startup together.
“The power of educators has historically been confined to their local neighbourhoods. With Classplus, educators have been able to build and expand their online presence, and monetise their content without any major investment and effort.” — Mukul Rustagi, CEO and Co-Founder, Classplus
$30B Market Ripe for Disruption
Over 70M Indian students use tutoring across over 700k tutoring centers. Notably, tutoring is a highly localized and fragmented industry. Classplus replicates this structure online. Coaching centers get their own app, own their student relationships, and can operate in local languages. This approach is highly attractive to tutors as it helps them become their own EdTech business.
“When lockdowns struck India, Classplus emerged as the critical infrastructure software for the $30bn offline tutoring industry. With the platform growing nearly 10x in the last 12 months, GSV views it as a “Weapon of Mass Instruction.’’ Co-founders Mukul and Bhaswat are empowering tutors in India to go online, enabling them to build bigger and stronger businesses while also expanding access to localized education.” — Deborah Quazzo, Managing Partner, GSV Ventures
Classplus’s vision is to empower the thousands of local tutors in India to go online, enabling them to reach more students and expand access to localized, specialized education. Most tutoring in India is done in local coaching centers in vernacular languages. The large traditional players (Aakash & FIITJEE) and large EdTech startups (BYJU’S & Vedantu) are unable to serve this market. Classplus is innovating quickly, as it currently powers over 10,000 tutoring centers and 5M students. We are excited to join Mukul, Bhaswat, and the team as they build a Weapon of Mass Instruction that empowers thousands of tutors and expands access to education for millions of students.
This piece is co-authored by Thea Knobel, Vice President of Platform & Marketing at GSV Ventures.