|Prithvi Puttaraju, founder and CEO of edvin.ai |
What originally brought you to Vietnam?
I first moved to Vietnam in 2009 when I founded Infonam with a vision of creating a unique software company servicing Silicon Valley customers. Having seen the globalisation of two giant economies in India and China, I saw that Vietnam had the perfect demographic data. It was clear to me that Vietnam was the next growth country.
With investments from Silicon Valley, the who’s who of the tech field, I moved to Vietnam to build Infonam. I ended up staying here for 10 years and built a 400-plus-strong high-tech team that was responsible for executing some of the hardest projects in software, which I exited in 2015.
How did the idea of edvin come along?
I was in Scotland for about three years between 2019 and 2022 during the pandemic, and it gave me space for reflection and inspiration to think about what I was going to do next. The interest to come back to Vietnam to build something very big persisted.
With two other well-known serial entrepreneurs, Rakesh Mathur – who has built 10 startups very successfully and several have become unicorns – and Vivek Paul – a software industry legend in India who built Wipro Technologies from $150 million to $1.4 billion revenue and a pre-IPO investor in FPT – we debated about the next big thing in Vietnam that we should address.
I was keen to go into edtech as I had seen my managers, who were parents, dedicate their minds and money to educating their children so they could get into good universities. Having lived here for 10 years already, and coming from a tech background, my confidence and passion for building edvinwere obvious.
What is edvin.ai?
|edvin team |
edvin is a comprehensive edtech platform for tutors who conduct after-school tutoring. edvin comes with a full suite of online teaching services such as classroom management, live video conferencing, resource management with question banks, exam and test management with MCQs and online corrections, scoring, payment management, and a strong community to contribute to the ecosystem with effective communication, collaboration, and sharing.
The tech-savvy features on edvin have been built with intense research and collaboration with teachers, tutors, and domain experts.
The classroom management feature is very powerful but simple and popular among tutors. Conducting a live video conference is three clicks away while inviting or managing students in a class has never been easier.
|The tech-savvy features on edvin have been built with intense research and collaboration with teachers, tutors, and domain experts. |
Students have been seen to enjoy the VC function as it integrates a very involving chat function and a whiteboard. Assignment management, setting question papers, and giving tests have been super easy. With question randomisation, automated test correction, and data management at different levels, edvin delivers a robust online tutoring environment.
Tracking child progress and using predictive assessments based on past performance is very important for parents as it can help with higher education specialisation, which is a big challenge for both parents and students alike.
With the edvincommunity, we will create peer groups for students, parents, and tutors, and deliver webinars from global education specialists on key topics that challenge every stakeholder in the ecosystem. The key goal for edvin is to help tutors become better with technology and teaching through these webinars, training sessions, and other resources.
What makes it different from other edtech platforms?
I believe edvin is a mix of far-thinking technology excellence and well-ingrained domain knowledge built by an incredible product development team in Vietnam, makingedvin more adaptable than others in the market. It is a superhighway in the edtech world that is not restricted to building content.
Our vision of marrying technology with the educational needs of the Vietnamese community will be the differentiator that gains the trust of the users. The edvin community will bring key global educators’ ideas and mindsets to your living rooms, addressing critical aspects of child development, mindfulness, and more.
As such, edvin is a lifelong learning platform and it can scale horizontally, building varied business models as the subscribers grow.
What traction has been gained so far?
The MVP has more than 5,000 students and over 500 tutors onboard and is growing. edvin has facilitated many 1-tutor-to-50-student and 1-tutor-to-100+-student classes very successfully.
The tutors who were conducting online classes and jumping between two or three applications have been pleasantly surprised by a fully integrated product like edvin. With the feedback from the tutors, we are clear that the product-to-market fit has been spot on.
In the 15 days since opening the platform, we have seen that 80 per cent of Vietnam has been represented, depicting the ease of use and powered features of edvin.
Why do you think this is the new era for edtech in Vietnam?
With the global movement of edtech in India and China, I can tell that the era of selling mass-produced learning content in either video-based or interactive form is diluting.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t need more engaging content, but the technology and changes in learner behaviour demand a new approach – an upgraded version of the edtech platform across the world. There are three key points to keep in mind:
First, learners are digital natives. They have learned everything first-hand with digital screens, be they smartphones, tablets, or even TV Screens. Our kids can search for and learn new things even on TikTok, not Google it! While things are moving fast digitally, the old ways of MOOC, video-based, or even 1-way Livestream classes need to be upgraded.
Second, younger teachers are tech-savvy and need better tools to deliver great teaching experiences online. Long-timers now realise the power of online delivery and want to interact with students via live-streamed classes and give more intuitive recommendations to the kids instantly. Unfortunately, most edtech platforms are focusing on end-users but not on teachers. However, removing the bottleneck of a better education still requires a great teacher.
Third, in this open world of knowledge, learners demand a more personalised learning experience to learn at their own pace. They rely more on social learning as they’re all connected via chat apps and social networks. Our kids can now work and learn with other students across the world, strengthening their view of how the world works.
To cope with the changes in personalised and social learning, we think edvin has a unique approach. Vietnam is still at an early stage, yet it is growing super-fast. Anyone who can embrace the challenges of first movers will be rewarded.
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VUIHOC has raised $2 million in a bridge round led by Ant Group-backed venture capital firm BAce Capital that was joined by other investors including Vulpes Venture, DT&Investment & Colopl Next, and Nextrans.
| ||Education investment dips increasingly into edtech |
If previously, Singaporean education investors saw opportunities in opening new training facilities in Vietnam or joint training programmes with existing educational institutions, the market in recent times has witnessed the entry of more Singaporean funds into the edtech sector.
| ||Shifting sands in progress for edtech amid reopening |
Since April 6, nearly one million grade 1-6 students in Hanoi have gone back to in-person classes, meaning schools in most major cities of Vietnam are now fully reopened. As education returns to its former setting, can edtech maintain its investment momentum?
| ||Vietnamese edtech market attractive to investors |
Educational technology (edtech) startups in Vietnam have drawn many domestic and foreign venture capital funds thanks to their high development potential.