Last week, I stumbled upon an interesting blog article
that was featured in StartupDigest, a weekly e-newsletter about the tech startup world. In the article, Avichal Garg, co-founder of PrepMe and most recently Spool, talks about why education startups fail. At first glance, it may seem like Garg is dissuading aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make big money while simultaneously making a positive impact in education. That's because he is. An edtech company doesn't follow the same growth curve as an Internet company (think Facebook) nor does it reap high returns in the short term. Garg is basically saying, "If you're just after the big money, don't go into edtech." This is absolutely, 100% true, and why it makes working in the edtech space so exciting. This reality creates a startup culture that is full of passionate, hard-working, enthusiasts individuals looking to really make a different in education.
I disagreed with Garg, however, regarding quality. According to Garg, focusing on quality is one of the factors that will lead to failure. Instead, he believes that focusing on scaling and growth which is much easier to do when you have a sub-par product. This may be true for a company looking to make short term profit, but if you're looking at the long-term trajectory, quality does matter. Look at Apple for instance.
Education is unlike any other industry because you are dealing with molding the minds of children, future thinkers and contributors to society. Just as education is a long-term pursuit, edtech entrepreneurs should also view the companies they are building as a long-term project. Just as quality matters when it comes to educating a child, quality matters with the educational tools and products being used. The edtech startups that fail, fail not because of following the wrong business model. They fail because they have stepped away from the core values of passion for change and a high quality product.