As a student dreaming of a successful future, Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Timofeev) used numerous educational mobile apps, either trying to learn 10 English words a day or solving logic problems.
Today, such applications fall into the EdTech category, creating various digital learning tools. Now, any educational content on YouTube is already a piece of the EdTech universe.
After university, Ruslan Tymofieiev established the Adventures Lab venture fund. Nevertheless, EdTech has not become less interesting to him, there being some reasons for this.
The pandemic has significantly accelerated the development of the EdTech industry. Although local stars like Grammarly and Preply are already capturing the global market, Ukrainian investors are still skeptical of this niche. Ruslan Tymofieiev considers this to be a mistake.
Today’s youth are ready to learn, says the investor. But the condition is that education contributes to their self-fulfillment and career success. “Modern” school fails to satisfy such needs.
“Once, my colleague and concurrently a teacher called the school a combination of serfdom and bureaucracy. Quite sharply, but truthfully,” Tymofieiev laughs.
Last year, Adventures Lab supported EduDo, a Belarusian startup providing three-minute learning videos on various topics. That’s how Tymofieiev sees the education of the future. And he is not alone. For example, Chinese media startup ByteDance has long been filling Tik Tok with scientific content, the demand coming from the users themselves.
“The most popular disciplines among students are IT and English. Not all schools can provide good English lessons, let alone high-quality IT education. EdTech is able to solve the problem,” says the founder of the Adventures Lab.
Some schools and universities had given in to digitalization long before the pandemic. However, a total quarantine forced almost every educational institution to move to a remote working mode as soon as possible. As a highly successful example, Tymofieiev cites Zhejiang University, where over 5,000 online courses were created for students in just 14 days.
The spread of high-speed Internet as well as the growing popularity of cloud services, AI, ML, and augmented reality has a positive impact on the development of EdTech. In 2027, the digital education market will cost about $318.8 billion. Ruslan Tymofieiev highlights four directions to investment within the industry.
“The first one is the gamification of education. One should understand that choosing between a book and a game, a teenager will prefer the latter,” says the investor.
The Norwegian Kahoot has now reached over 70 million users. Ukrainian service GIOS, helping students to prepare for external independent evaluation in video game format has successfully attracted $400,000.
Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Timofeev) considers cybersecurity to be an equally promising niche. In June 2021 alone, 1,700 educational services a week were the victims of cyberattacks.
At the same time, billions of “EdTech dollars” are invested in VR and AR projects. And it’s not weird at all with such technologies already allowing American students to go on a virtual tour of Pearl Harbor, for example.
“EdTech reminds us that we are all different and need unique treatment and education. Projects like Belgian startup Century Tech use AI, creating highly personalized educational programs for its users, which dramatically increases the effectiveness of the learning process,” Ruslan Tymofieiev shares.
In general, the human approach to self-development and education has changed a lot recently, the investor believes. Few limit themselves to the so-called school-university-job model. This promises significant progress to the EdTech universe.