XSEED Education is improving the way education is imparted in schools
Seven year old Children make use of the XSEED’s solution in a school
Dethswrang was finding it difficult to keep up pace with his classmates in studies because he suffered from dyslexia and dysgraphia. It was around then his school implemented XSEED’s teaching solutions, after which the teachers noticed a remarkable improvement in his performance. Scientific approaches in curriculum and regular assignments helped Dethswrang transform into a confident kid, says his school principal.
XSEED is a curriculumand trainingbased learning solution that helps schools improve their teaching techniques. Traditionally, schools have been dependent on a textbookbased method of teaching. “XSEED tries to resolve this by replacing the impersonalised teaching technique with an alternative that works inside every classroom, for all children and with every teacher,” says Ashish Rajpal, cofounder and chief executive officer. Rajpal quit his corporate career in Paris to pursue his passion for children’s education, which ultimately led to the birth of XSEED in 2008.
XSEED’s solution is a scalable teaching toolkit. Every concept is broken down into five simple steps — make the objective clear to children, conduct a handson activity to experience it, question to grasp the concept, apply this knowledge in a reallife situation, and assess what children learn. The package involves training for teachers and management, and books and assessments for children.
According to testimonials from schools, students have shown more curiosity, more confidence, and an ability to reflect after the programme was introduced. The company has raised more than $20 million from New Yorkbased Lighthouse Funds and Belgiumbased Verlinvest.
XSEED cofounder and CEO Ashish Rajpal
The Singaporebased company primarily targets aided and privatelyowned schools. While most schools do not have a teaching methodology in place for the service that XSEED provides, most are either unwilling or unable to pay for it. XSEED overcame this challenge by bundling it with the ‘product’ — books, workbooks and student assessments — which the parents pay for. Schools are charged a onetime fee to licence the programme and parents invest annually (through the school) an affordable perchild fee. “XSEED has a strong value proposition in K8 (kindergarten to Grade 8, a segment in which this firm operates) learning with its unique pedagogy, structured curriculum and technology,” says Nicholas Cator, executive director, Verlinvest.
In his quest to impact the way education is being imparted, Rajpal tried his hand in teaching science to fourthgrade students. “It’s so hard to do a good job in the classroom,” he exclaims. “XSEED was born out of a desire to change this situation; with a solution that actually works inside classrooms and shows results on children,” he adds.
Currently, the company has more than one million children, through 75,000 reskilled teachers in about 3,000 schools.
Most schools rely on creating their own teaching plans that are timeconsuming, relying on private publishers’ textbooks that are often outdated and oneoff teachertraining programmes that fail to have a lasting impact in the classroom. In short, XSEED tries to disrupt the ‘commodity’ model of the publishers.
There is an opportunity for innovation and quality improvement in the K12 (kindergarten to Grade 12) school education space. Parental aspirations to quality education are growing. “Parents in India (and elsewhere in the emerging economies) often spend 1520 per cent of earned income on school and afterschool education,” says Rajpal. According to him, India has about one million government schools and 400,000 private schools, enrolling 250 million students and the market is pegged upwards of $20 billion.
Traditionally, schools have been served by private publishers and more recently by digital or elearning firms such as Educomp or XSEED, which offer smart boardbased elearning solutions. A lot of investment has been made in digital solutions, mostly focused on hardwarecentric ones, which haven’t shown results in classrooms, Rajpal says. That’s where opportunity lies for XSEED. The ed tech startup is now exploring opportunities to take its service product to Southeast Asian economies.
Changing the schooling system was and continues to be the major challenge for the company. It overcomes this by developing practical tools to support teachers in the classroom and demonstrating tangible impact on children’s learning outcomes.
The second challenge is to attract quality talent. Often, the impact that the training brings about among the students draws individuals to work for the company. Currently, the team consists of about 400 employees.
XSEED is growing at more than 50 per cent and claims to be profitable. It targets 10,000 schools and 10 million children. “To reach this target, we will be strengthening our technology platform, international footprint, and brand in the K8 elementary education space,” says Rajpal.
Shantanu Prakash, founder & managing director, Educomp Solutions
XSEED took early leadership in a very interesting space in the education industry in India, pioneering the shift from books to a structured curriculum and over the years have done relatively well and is considered a category leader. The success of XSEED spurred a number of competitors to enter the space such as EzVidya, MyPedia, Cordova and EDAC.
XSEED would need to continuously innovate to maintain market share and leadership, as some of the new competitors are expanding the category by going beyond curriculum to provide very comprehensive solutions, eg EDAC offers the school a bouquet of services including FlipLearn, Digital Products and Branding. Xseed would need to do a product catch up. Xseed has also launched a digital product, however, while it pioneered curriculum it is playing catch up in the digital space.
This is a highly serviceand trainingoriented business, where customer delight is going to be the key, hence more investment in providing service is essential. Given the fact that the category has the risk of becoming generic, the key challenge is retention and continuous innovation. Further, the category itself needs to expand to include a more holistic view of the school ecosystem.
(As published in Business Standard on Mon, 13 Feb 2017)