The platform was started in late 2020, on the back of a fund worth Rs 20 crore in a pre-Series A round led by Omidyar Network India and Blume Ventures.
Communication between parents and teachers have always been an integral part of the school ecosystem. Historically, it has been maintained through school diaries. But this too has gone through a change in the last two years, with the roll out of tech drive platforms. Rolled out in late 2020, on the back of funding worth, Rs 20 crore in a pre-Series A round led by Omidyar Network India and Blume Ventures; UOLO is one such school communication platform. “Parents are paying customers for a private school. So the school has to share the progress of the child. During pre-pandemic, school diaries were the source of communication, which moved to text messages on WhatsApp or other messaging apps. But it was important to create a platform during the on-going pandemic during the pandemic emergence of new technology was in surge, where parents and teachers can maintain a dialogue constantly,” Pallav Pandey, CEO, UOLO, told FE Education.
Regulatory files accessed by Tofler, a business intelligence platform shows that the platform earned total revenue from operation of Rs 56 lakhs,in the very first year of operation, that is FY21; while it posted a net loss of Rs 8.1 crore. As part of its expansion, UOLO aims to reach 25,000 schools by September 2023 with 10 million students. At present, the company claims to have two million students with a monthly active user (MAU) of 0.9 million. By December 2024, the start-up aims to clock 6.5 million MAU with a revenue of $80 million. By CY24, the company aims to reach 50,000 schools with a 20 million student base generating a revenue run rate of $240 million.
The ed-tech startup aims to provide low-cost ed-tech distribution for the mid mass-market. “Most of the parents who opt for ed-tech products, have their children enrolled in private schools. This trend can be used as an opportunity to use schools as a great distribution agent for ed-tech offerings. UOLO aims to create a low-cost partnership with schools,” Pandey said. It claimed to have closed CY21 with a retention rate of 95%.
The company claims that the platform provides school based activities including parent communication, attendance recording, worksheet tracking, provision of multimedia content, and upskilling products among others. In 2022, the company claims to have collaborated with more than 5,000 schools across the country, including tier 2 and tier 3 cities. “Most of our students belong to poor families, even from slum areas. UOLO Speak has facilitated students to enhance English speaking skills and they are really enthusiastic about it. It brings their parents satisfaction when they find their children learning the language,” Anjana Bansal, Principal, SSN English School, Jaipur, Rajasthan, said. The school is one of UOLO’s services.
The start-up claims to monetise through a hybrid mode of business model which comprises both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) models. As part of the B2B model, the company runs ‘Mandate by School’, a program which includes coding classes, english, and STEM. This program is usually subscribed by schools, and further provided to students. Under the B2C model, it runs, ‘Recommended by School’ programme which is directly purchased by students. “Each school on the UOLO platform generates revenue for the company based on captive studentise. Therefore it is strategically important to ensure that the school relationship remains intact. For this UOLO’s free services have been designed to act as a moat. The plan is to keep deepening the moat by bringing other stakeholders and frequently use modules as part of the free platform,” Pandey said.
As per the firm, process is executed through provision of free essential services such as report card, attendance, fee management, to more evolved needs such as teacher training at zero cost. According to him, even as the app was started during the pandemic, with the offline classes coming into play, it has still found a place. For Manita, principal, Genius Planet School, Bhopal, the app has become an integral part of the school’s ecosystem.
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