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The lockdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic has produced a paradigm shift in learners’ behavior leading to an exponential increase in the demand for EdTech products in India. The global education market is worth $6 Trillion out of which $10 Bn is the size of what the Indian education market will be by 2025. There are 100 Million learners in Practically's target segment India, which is largely the private school student population.
Practically is an intelligent, interactive and immersive learning app for students of classes 6-12 with a focus on STEM learning. Being the only such product in the world, Practically combines gamification techniques, immersive learning assets, test-prep and AI-assisted study buddy in one compact cross-platform app. 3,30,000+ students have already benefited from the engaging content on Practically platform, which has the largest content library of world-class 3000+ 3D videos, 1000+ AR experiences & simulations, all created in-house.
Practically - Company Highlights
- Startup Name-Practically
- Parent Organization-3rdFlix Visual Effects Pvt Ltd
- Founders-Subbarao Siddabattula (CEO), Ilangovel Thulasimani (CTO), Charu Noheria (COO)
- Founding Year-2018
- Funding-$14 mn
Practically - About
Practically is an intelligent, interactive, and immersive learning app for students of classes 6-12 with a focus on STEM learning. It is the only experiential learning app that brings learning alive through immersive videos, interactive augmented reality and 3D simulations.
It offers an edge over other learning apps by enhancing conceptual understanding and improving retention of concepts with features like -
- Life-like video content
- Hands-on learning,
- experiential learning,
- 24x7 seek help with access to subject experts for doubt resolution,
- Live classes
Coding++ and Proton – a very sophisticated virtual AI assistant that can answer most doubts learners may have.
3,30,000+ students have already benefited from the engaging content on Practically platform, which has the largest content library of world-class 3000+ 3D videos, 1000+ AR experiences & simulations, all created in-house.
Practically AI Buddy - PROTON
Practically offers a unique solution for schools. The new-age classroom experience for teachers and students, through the Practically School Solution, focuses on futuristic content, gamification, and distraction-free classes. The platform is currently free for all teachers and schools. Practically has come up with a unique tool, which gives teachers the AI-based insights and real-time data analytics of student attentiveness in the virtual classroom, and helps them to come up with alternative teaching solutions such as a pop-quiz or playing a subject related, simulation videos, thereby making learning fun, interactive and distraction-free. Apart from this, teachers have complete access to world-class video and simulations that uses real-life applications, 200K questions, various learning models that enables flipped or blended learning models, easily shareable reference material, test-prep with five-level question bank, detailed reporting and analytics, and most importantly, they can teach students anywhere and anytime on any devices.
Over 200 schools and 18,000 teachers across India are already using Practically to enable online classes during the pandemic. Practically is constantly innovating ways to improve the rate of retention for students to more than 90% by using new-age learning methodology and experiential content.
Practically is a young, insurgent brand from a team of energetic people who passionately believe in reshaping the way the world learns. It believes that there is a hidden explorer embedded within us, which is often stifled by the rigid notions of conventional education. Practically aims to nurture that explorer within every learner and unleash their true potential for limitless learning. Practically uses cutting-edge technologies to render experiential learning to the students. Its primary objective is to improve the rate of retention for students to more than 90% by using a new-age learning methodology and experiential content.
Practically - Vision and Objective
Practically's aim is to be the ‘Most trusted and preferred’ EdTech brand globally. It will be looking at expanding pan India, one more international market followed by other markets with a collective reach of 20M users by 2025.
Although the near-term plan is to expand into other English-speaking countries globally, It is also exploring with partners in countries where there is a need for content in other languages as Practically’s immersive animated video content can be easily localized.
In the next couple of years, Practically expects to hire thousands of employees across its teams. By 2023, the company would have comfortably surpassed a unicorn status and will be well on its path to becoming a decacorn.
Practically's product lineup will also see a number of additions to keep up with its growth plans. Starting with the K-5 segment this year, it plans to enter segments such as engineering and medical labs, patient education in healthcare, etc. which is in line with the company's growth strategy.
Practically - Indian Edtech Market Details
The global education market is worth $6 Trillion out of which $10 Bn is the size of what the Indian education market will be by 2025 (Source: Inc42). There are 100 Million learners in Practically's target segment India, which is largely the private school student population.
Growth of Indian Edtech Ecosystem in 5 years
The Indian EdTech ecosystem has raised nearly $2.2 billion in 2020 alone, whereas it attracted only $4 billion over the last five years. Over the last three years, this segment has received total funding of $31 million.
"Clearly there is interest from investors in the promise of EdTech companies and for good reason a joint report by Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA), and PGA Labs, the market intelligence business of Praxis Global Alliance (PGA), revealed," says Charu Noheria (Co-founder & COO, Practically)
The education sector in India is expected to be a $117 billion market with currently around 360 million learners, out of which around $49 billion is spent on school education. Traditionally, this sector has seen low investor interest however thanks to COVID, several startups have mushroomed and may have been funded as well. This is a watershed moment for EdTech as the next decade is the decade for e-learning companies.
The lockdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic has produced a paradigm shift in learners’ behavior leading to an exponential increase in the demand for EdTech products in India. As consumers are more aware of the offerings and accessibility, the urge to learn beyond the syllabus will help in bringing in innovations in learning. With the implementation of the New Education Policy, online learning in higher education will experience accelerated adoption as people focus more on upskilling and reskilling.
The EdTech sector is witnessing unprecedented growth owing to the increasing adoption of technology during the pandemic. The team at Practically believe that technology adoption in the education sector is yet to see its peak and the growth trajectory is likely to continue beyond the pandemic years. The lockdown induced by the pandemic has brought an ever-increasing demand for EdTech products in India. Consumers are becoming more aware of the offerings and accessibility thus leading to new innovations in learning. With steep competition, players need to modify their offerings to engage consumers constantly.
The sector poses some challenges in terms of infrastructure such as access to devices like laptops, smartphones, availability of internet access for the learners in rural areas. Also, the lack of exposure to high-end technologies is creating disparity amongst the students. Usage of shared devices between children and parents is also making the engagement process challenging.
"We along with Government need to devise a strategy addressing these concerns as mentioned above, on an immediate basis ensuring seamless access to education across geographies" Charu Noheria (Co-founder and COO, Practically) added.
Practically - Founders and Team
Subbarao Siddabattula (Founder & CEO), Ilangovel Thulasimani (Co-Founder & CTO), and Charu Noheria (Co-founder & COO) started Practically in 2018.
Founders of Practically
Subbarao Siddabattula, Ilangovel Thulasimani, Charu Noheria - Practically Founders
The three of them worked together and met at Lumeris Inc., a leading healthcare IT company based in the US.
Subba has more than 20+ years of industry experience in technology, operations, and management. He was the CTO of Lumeris prior to starting Practically. A product guy at heart, he is a visionary with tremendous zeal and passion for problem-solving using technology.
Charu Noheria is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Practically. In 2018, she co-founded Practically, an experiential learning app for STEM, and has been working to revolutionize the education landscape for the last seven years. Charu has a bachelor’s degree in engineering (Computer Science) from R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore, and an MBA from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. She has over 12 years of corporate experience in operations, technology, strategy, and managing global teams. Noheria began her career as a software engineer at Samsung where she developed mobile applications. Later, she joined Lumeris Inc. - one of the largest value-based healthcare IT firms in the United States, as a Strategic Leadership Development Associate and quickly moved up the ranks to become Director-Technology Partnerships.
Ilango is a hardcore techie and was VP, Enterprise Architecture at Lumeris prior to starting Practically. He loves to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty with code. He has worked with some big names in the industry such as eBay, Quikr, etc. Ilango leads product development and technology at Practically.
Currently, 300+ employees are associated with Practically. While its focus so far has been on Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states in India, Practically is working aggressively on expanding pan-India in 2021 and adding over 2000 employees by December 2021.
Practically History - How it Started?
Reminiscing the inspiration to start Practically, Charu Noheria says - "Being part of the competitive rat race for IITs in India back in the day, all I remembered from that experience was stress in learning. I dropped a year, switched five engineering streams, and changed 3 colleges during the 18 months I struggled to get my footing right. Unconsciously this left a lasting mark on me and I was always attracted towards unconventional ways of learning which are away from rote learning. This inspired me to develop a model which will make education easy as well as a fun activity"
Practically's Journey of Ideation, Designing & Prototyping
Practically is an outcome of deep-rooted insights based on several man-years of study around children’s learning & retention modes leading to the innovative use of new-age tech tools such as AR to provide an immersive learning experience for children.
With the first beta version of the Practically app that was launched in January 2020, it did a pilot study with two groups. Group I was given only reading material and group II was given access to immersive videos and simulations on the app. After two weeks, the team gave both groups a series of questions for testing the retention of concepts studied as part of this study. The results demonstrated that Group II was able to recollect 50% more concepts than Group I, and Group II students on average spent three times less time learning than Group I students. This further encouraged the team's efforts at Practically in making learning more experiential and sticky. Since then, Practically has added many more features to the app considering the impact it can make on the journey of a learner.
The beta app was rolled out in Jan 2020 and it received an overwhelming response with more than 13k downloads of the app across two major educational institutions in AP/TS which encouraged the team and validated its initial product.
Charu Noheria (Co-founder & COO, Practically) added - "The three of us- Subba, Ilango and myself were colleagues at Lumeris Inc., in the USA and in the hallways of our workplace is where those very first conversations of Practically began. When my co-founders and I were bouncing off ideas to pursue, it became apparent that we all shared the excitement for tech-based, non-traditional methods of teaching and learning. We all wanted to make some of those very dry subjects more interesting, engaging and fun for learners around the world"
Practically - Product and USP
STEM learning for school students has become rote and educators have no means to increase students’ engagement and interaction with concepts to boost the rate of retention. Students have access to mostly passive and rote learning sources and methods when learning foundational concepts leading to a less than a 30% rate of retention. This disengagement leads to a lack of interest in key subjects.
It also aims to make everything that a learner needs available on a single app helping the parent pay for a single product containing content, simulations/AR, test prep, analytics/feedback, gamification, doubt resolution, live classes, coding, summer programs.
Practically is an Immersive & Experiential ONE STOP SOLUTION for students, parents, teachers, and schools. Practically is the only such product in the world that combines gamification techniques, immersive learning assets, test-prep, and AI-assisted study buddy in one compact cross-platform app. Through its patent-pending technology, thousands of exhilarating, life-like simulations, and Augmented Reality (AR) experiences are combined with learning pathways to bring learning alive and increase the rate of retention of concepts. Practically also offers live classes, Coding++, and a 24x7 Seek Help feature for doubt resolution, where students can reach out to subject experts on the platform.
Bringing back joy into learning and using tech to create life-like experiences, Practically uses AI to empower teachers. Practically helps teachers with intelligent insights into their student population, helps them auto-generate question papers, correct answers, giving them 2 hours of operational time back and impacting their experience in teaching overall, making classes engaging and effective.
Practically is built on Edgar Dale’s ‘Cone of Learning’; we retain 10% of what we read, 50% of what we see and hear, and increasingly more to 90% when we learn by doing. The more dramatic the experience, the more lasting the recall, and most concepts that are dry can be taught with experiential learning.
Practically's vision is to reshape the way the world learns. It aims to bring modern methods to the everyday teaching process and empower teachers to use the power of visualization and experiential content to transform dry subject areas into jaw-dropping experiences. Its objective is to enable classrooms with a ‘learning by doing' approach and increase the rate of retention of students to more than 90% for key subjects like math and science and to make learning more fun and engaging.
Practically - Brand Name, Logo and Proposition
Brand Name - Practically
The team wanted to name the product in line with its vision. As the founders believe in a practical approach towards learning, they liked Practically for the name of the product. Simple yet powerful as the need of the hour is to revolutionize education with immersive and experiential content and encourage practical learning.
The team chose the colors yellow and red as it signifies passion, warmth, and learning all of which are deep-seated in Practically’s DNA. "We are a passionate group of people who are dedicated to the cause of reshaping the way the world learns!" says Charu Noheria.
Charu Noheria adds - "Learning Alive was a core message that we had arrived basis a brand workshop which also tied into our core feature of immersive and experiential learning that brings learning to life. We made it purposeful and more action-oriented and arrived at our brand proposition - Bring Learning Alive"
Practically - Business Model and Revenue Model
Practically primarily has two channels for customer acquisition
Business to Customer (B2C): Any learner can download the app and register on it. A learner may get to know about the product via a marketing campaign, TV or print ad, customer reference, actively searching for learning apps, etc.
B2B2C through school acquisition: Practically School Solution is FREE for all schools and teachers. Teacher app is used by thousands of teachers to make their classes engaging and interactive. Every teacher in turn onboards learners to the student app for free.
These free customers, both from B2C and B2B2C, then act as a top of the funnel for downstream monetization efforts through its on-ground and virtual sales agents who directly engage parents and students for paid subscriptions on the app. Practically's demo to paid conversion rate is more than 30% which is substantially higher than any other product out there. Paid subscriptions can be monthly, annually, or multi-year with an ARPU of > $400.
Practically's Launch and Initial User Acquisition
Practically launched its beta app in Jan 2020 across two large clients in AP/TS for testing the waters. It received a phenomenal response with over 13k students downloading the app over a 30 day period. This cohort became its first user base and learnings from this pilot were instrumental to get to a commercial launch in April 2020.
Practically's B2B2C strategy of going through schools by providing them FREE Practically School Solution worked great for the initial mass acquisition of users. It had schools from various nooks and corners of India using the platform and onboarding thousands of students for free onto the product
Practically's Key Strategies and Marketing Campaign
The product uniqueness is its biggest selling point with users. An experiential product with this quality and grade has never been seen by an Indian consumer. Practically makes sure to be a part of the learning journey of a child and have multiple touchpoints with the student and the parent. It offers doubt resolution services, mentorship programs, and summer workshops which further fuel retention. Practically recently started spending on marketing and growth hacking efforts. It will be more aggressive towards the marketing efforts in 2021.
Practically's Most Successful Marketing Campaign
Practically's first-ever brand campaign around the theme - ‘Bring Learning Alive’ in December 2020 helped garner 3x growth and the app has successfully crossed 330,000 downloads to date. The TVCs have garnered over 32 million+ views combined on YouTube and seen above average and consistent view rates, even after two months of launch, indicating relevance and popularity of the campaign amongst the target audience. This has been one of the highest by an EdTech company in India, without celebrity endorsement, so far.
The campaign was released across all mediums – print and television targeting Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and, social and digital media with a pan-India focus. The digital campaign ran in the top 40 cities across the country with a greater emphasis on Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai. Predominantly, the metros and Tier-1 cities attracted larger traction. The campaign saw healthy participation among parents in the age group of 35 to 55 years and students in the age group of 11 to 17. Interest was also evinced among people of the age group of 18 to 24 years who visited the website for programs related to Coding++, Test Preparation, etc. Practically also featured amongst the top brands in pure search volumes among the EdTech players in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana during the campaign, clearly emerging as a strong challenger brand for the incumbents and indicating resonance with the target audience.
Practically Brand Campaign - 'Bring Learning Alive'
Challenges are a big part of the start-up journey and almost always the team at Practically were able to keep their heads above water. They embrace challenges with open arms and if not for them, the journey would be far less fulfilling.
COVID: The lockdown was a blessing in disguise for EdTech giving it the right push for education to go online. Due to the current situation, the focus is on following a medium that allows for safe, continued, and effective teaching. This meant the team needed to be agile and quickly start offering what was the need of the hour: an experiential and immersive learning experience to K-12 schools like in a physical classroom environment using augmented reality (AR), 3D videos, and simulations. Practically launched in India amidst the lockdown in April 2020.
Model: The challenges began when Practically wanted to grow the product to become a one-stop solution rather than a point application so that learners won’t have to pay for multiple apps and they get everything they need on Practically.
Capital: Practically required substantial capital upfront to build unique life-like immersive and experiential content. It put in all profits from the existing product sale into this and also went in for its Series-A fundraise which helped the team achieve that. The team faced numerous challenges when it started scaling the business to all parts of the twin states of AP/TS as this needed a larger team and growth capital. Practically was lucky that it was able to raise pre-Series B round just in time to help it scale and grow in this region and further set it up for a pan-India launch this year. In addition, it has been able to build a great team passionate about its singular vision of shaping the way the world learns.
New/Late entrant: Practically has been widely accepted with 330,000 downloads in a short span of time despite the brand being a relatively new entrant in this category launched in April 2020 amid the lockdown. While competition with deep pockets has been around for a decade, It kickstarted its first-ever brand campaign around the theme - ‘Bring Learning Alive’ which includes TV, Digital, Print, and Social Media Marketing with a regional focus on Andhra Pradesh and Telangana markets in December 2020 and the TVCs received a stupendous response with close to 32 million views combined on YouTube since its launch.
Tools used by Practically to run Company
Just like most technology companies, Practically uses tools to enhance productivity and products that give it operational excellence. It also recently launched its Sales CRM which is a fully customized solution for Practically's rapidly growing sales team.
Practically - Recognition and Achievements
Practically was recently been awarded the title of ‘Most Innovative Stem Solution’ at World Education Summit – School Education 2021 organized by Elets Digital Learning.
The efforts of the team also received accolades at Startup Awards 2021, where Practically was bestowed with ‘Best EdTech Startup of the Year’ by Franchise India and Entrepreneur India magazine.
Global School Leaders’ Consortium -INSPIRE Education Awards 2020- The Best Learning App of the Year
Practically's Co-founder & COO Charu Noheria has been chosen to be a part of Entrepreneur India’s 35 under 35 class of 2021. She was featured in the coveted ORF-GP report on Women in Technology, 2020
Practically - Growth and Future Plans
Currently, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are Practically's key markets. It just entered the South and West regions with a small team. It is working on expanding pan-India in 2021 and adding over 2000 employees by December 2021. 2021 will also see Practically entering the K-5 segment while currently, it does grades 6-12.
"We believe that technology adoption in the education sector is yet to see its peak and what started as a mad rush to adopt technology during the pandemic is likely to continue and sustain well beyond the pandemic years making products such as Practically a household name among students and teachers alike" says Charu Noheria, Co-founder & COO, Practically
With the latest round of funding, the team expects to take Practically to the rest of the country by the end of 2021. As mentioned earlier, outside India, the Middle East is its focus market as it received very positive responses to its product. Practically will be partnering with many more schools there in 2021. It is also looking to move to another international market by the end of the year.
The Practically School Solution is absolutely free of cost to schools. The experiential solution has been a mega-hit with teachers. In addition to the above, Practically’s immersive animated video content can be easily localized into any language. Although the near-term plan is to expand into other English-speaking countries globally, the team is also exploring with partners in countries where there is a need for content in another language.
Practically - FAQs
Who are the founders of Practically?
Subbarao Siddabattula (CEO), Ilangovel Thulasimani (CTO), and Charu Noheria (COO) are the founders of Practically
How much funding has Practically raised?
Practically has raised total funding of $14 Million to date in Series A and Pre-Series B and Series B rounds.
What is Practically's marketing campaign?
Practically's first-ever brand campaign was around the theme - ‘Bring Learning Alive’
How does Practically make money?
Via Paid Subscriptions. Practically's demo to paid conversion rate is more than 30%. Paid subscriptions can be monthly, annually, or multi-year with ARPU of > $400.
What is the USP of Practically?
Practically is an Immersive & Experiential ONE STOP SOLUTION for students, parents, teachers, and schools. Practically is the only such product in the world that combines gamification techniques, immersive learning assets, test-prep, and AI-assisted study buddy in one compact cross-platform app.