Home / Companies / Start-ups /  The rise of coding edtechs

Seventh-grader Himmika Amarnani built a website for her family’s clothing store during the coronavirus lockdown, an effort which helped revive sales at a trying time.

A student of Lucknow’s La Martiniere Girls College, Amarnani learns coding from Bengaluru-based Codeyoung. The company, founded by IIT-Delhi alumni Shailendra Dhakad and Rupika Taneja, claims it has trained more than 15,000 students globally in less than a year.

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Coding is an art whereby kids enjoy creating websites, building apps and games," said co-founder Taneja.

Startups such as Tinker Coders, Camp K12, StayQrious, Coding Ninjas and CodeYoung have seen heavy demand this year, helped by the shift to online teaching, and the success of coding platform Whitehat Jr. The latter was acquired by India’s largest edtech unicorn Byju’s for $300 million in August.

Tinker Coders, which was launched in March targeting students aged 6-18 years, claims it has over 250,000 subscribers across the US, UK, UAE, Australia, Singapore and India.

“Huge prospects lie in the Indian market as coding for kids is an entirely new concept. Our vision is to build an ecosystem to make coding a crucial tool where kids become smart in their academics and solve real-life based problems," said CEO and co-founder Anoop Gautam, adding the company has been growing every month since inception. Gautam said coding will be a game-changer, with the new education policy 2020 mandating coding from Grade 6 onwards.

StayQrious, which raised $2 million seed money in September, says it teaches not only to “learn to code", but also “code to learn". It focuses on coding fundamentals in the first year, targeting 8 to 14-year-old students in metros and some tier-II cities.

“Learning to code is like learning new literacy. If taught well, kids can learn computational thinking skills by learning to code. We shouldn’t teach coding just to train someone to be a software engineer. Coding should be taught as a core subject like science, math or history," said Aanand Srinivas, co-founder and CEO, StayQrious.

Anshul Bhagi, who founded Camp K12 in 2010, said even 10 years ago, only those who planned to send children overseas to study would enrol them in coding classes. According to Bhagi, parents are now more aware of its benefits.

“From January, when there were only 2-3 companies teaching coding online to December, there are now over 15 companies. This is just the start—we’re in the early days of coding as a category, with immense room to grow as prices come down and coding courses become more affordable/ accessible," added Bhagi.

Getting trained faculty remains a challenge. Founders agree that it is imperative to get the right instructors who are not only professionally qualified but can also connect with children. CodeYoung engages mothers who have technical skills but have left their full-time jobs.

While Whitehat Jr’s acquisition has probably made coding more mainstream, its advertisements suggesting students can earn in crores has made parents and peers sceptical. The Advertising Standards Council of India has recently asked the firm to withdraw some of its ads.

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