Learnyst Startup Profile EDUKWEST

Startup Profile: Learnyst

Trainers, coaches and tutors across the globe are increasingly interested in expanding their local audience by creating and selling online courses. Marketplaces like Udemy offer the advantage of a global audience of potential customers, but can also be quite competitive and costly when it comes to commission.

Bangalore-based Learnyst offers educators all the tools they need to set up a storefront to sell their online courses, assess and manage their students, host their content and receive payments.

Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.

Learnyst helps educators build their branded online school and sell courses. In short we are building the Shopify for educators.

Our Goal is to make teaching online very simple, secured and cost effective. Ultimately, our vision is to see our educational resources in every student’s hand.

Learnyst provides the following features to educators to build & maintain their online school :

  1. Do-It-Yourself website builder for creating a beautiful school front
  2. Easy to use Course Builder, Assessment Builder, Student Manager and Analytics Tools
  3. Integrated Payment gateway and content hosting solution
  4. Content encryption service to prevent piracy

Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.

We are two founders Shankar Mahesh & Ranjan. Both of us are school & college mates. We have known each other for the past 20 years and loved developing new apps since our college days. Eventually our passion for developing new apps made us quit our corporate jobs and start our entrepreneurial journey in July, 2012. Shankar takes care of product development and Ranjan heads marketing and sales.

How was the idea for your startup born?

We started Learnyst in Jan 2014. We wanted to expand our previous start-up karaokegarage.com as a music learning app, and so we started exploring market opportunities.

We surveyed around 50 music schools in Bangalore, and found that a lot of music institutes were interested in a video based learning solution rather than algorithmic based pitch analysis for learning music. Since a video based learning solution was considered beneficial to most educational institutes we extended our market research with other diversified test preparation and training institutes.

From our survey with educators we found the following requirements and pain points:

  1. Content Security – To prevent piracy & loss of revenue
  2. Websites to showcase and sell course contents
  3. Mobile apps – Many students are mobile first
  4. Offline content accessibility – internet infrastructure is poor in India
  5. Marketing tool support

We analysed the above requirements with existing products in the market but could not find any compelling solution that addressed this problem. We prepared some simple mock up screens and presented to potential customers. We got appreciation and commitment from some of the reputed test preparation institutes in India. From this point Learnyst has evolved through market requirements and feedback from teachers/students.

What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.

There are millions of good teachers who teach exceptionally well and are willing to teach online. By teaching online, educators can reach more students which is otherwise difficult due to physical/geographical limitation. Similarly, there are tens of millions of students who want to learn from quality educators. Having an independent online school provides complete control to educators and helps establish their brand as digital edupreneurs. However, building a branded online school to teach is tough, expensive and time consuming. It requires knowledge such as hosting, video streaming, payment setup, analytics, etc. which deviates educators from focusing on teaching and content building.

Who are your main competitors? What sets you apart from them?

are our main competitors.

Here are some unique features that sets us apart:

  1. Content security – With encrypted streaming the educator’s content is safe from piracy. This is a most desirable feature for educators as it ensures security against their course content.
  2. Adaptive video streaming technology which ensures continuous video streaming even at low internet connectivity
  3. Offline secure mobile apps where educators can distribute their encrypted course content on pen drive or SD Cards and students can access course content using Learnyst powered mobile apps. Helpful to reach students in remote places where internet connectivity is bad or unavailable.
  4. Pricing – We do not take any percentage cut on course fee or restrict on student enrollments. This is a great motivating factor for educators to scale their school as they get to keep 100% of course revenue.
  5. Ready to use assessment templates for standardized exams like GRE, GMAT, SAT and other competitive international and Indian exams.

In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.

Currently, we have more than 200+ educators signed up on learnyst. About 50% of our customers are from India followed by the US, Europe and Africa. With our Do-It-Yourself (DIY) school builder we expect more global reach. However, our primary target, apart from India, will be the US & Europe as we can find more content ready educators.

Who is your target audience.

Primarily independent educators. They could be independent tutors, test prep institutes, vocational training institutes, or anyone who would like to teach online.

How do you engage with your target audience. How do you convert them into users of your product.

About 25% of our new customers come through referrals from existing clients. Apart from this we are reaching our target audience through social media, content marketing, SEO and PR.

For effective conversion we offer a 30 day free trial to users upon sign-up. We also help educators with content loading and provide customization support. We have a dedicated sales person who engages with prospective leads and help them launch their online school.

What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.

Learnyst is a SaaS product. Our pricing is purely based on bandwidth usage. We do not charge any transaction fee or take a percentage cut on course fees.

Our initial plan starts with $39/- per month which includes 30 GB storage and 15 GB bandwidth. The biggest benefit for educators is that they get to keep 100% of course revenue and have complete control over student data. Learnyst has proved its value proposition for educators by providing them an opportunity to generate at least 30X revenue over investment.

Our complete pricing plan can be found at – learnyst.com/pricing

If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.

We have raised INR 10 Lakhs from Times Internet Limited (Delhi, India) for our previous product Karaokegarage.com

However we have pivoted and currently focused on Learnyst. We are looking to raise $200K for taking Learnyst to the next level.

Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.

Learnyst has evolved through market requirements and feedback from teachers/students. Every feature developed on Learnyst has been derived through requirements from prospective customers. This has helped Learnyst find its niche and market fit in a very short time. Our features and product road map are inline with competing products which validates our findings. We have partnered with reputed test prep institutes like Career Launcher and 2IIM as technology partners. At present we have more than 200 signups with 10 paying customers.

What are the next steps in growing your startup.

We are targeting to achieve the following milestones within the next 12 months:

  1. Target to have 10,000 signups with 1000 paid customers
  2. Provide marketing tools for educators like emails, blogs, social integration, SMS, coupons, partnerships with marketplace vendors etc
  3. Focus on implementing a standardized marketing and sales process
  4. Develop features to automatically create mobile apps from web version
  5. Improve upon customization tools & plug-ins

There are millions of educators who are not able to expand their business online due to the unavailability of affordable solutions and high maintenance cost. Learnyst helps educators unleash the power of online education and reach a wider global audience. Our mission is to empower educators with an affordable, high quality secure learning solution so that they can take their courses online and become online Edupreneurs without much investment.

Ultimately our vision is to see our school solution in every student’s hand’. We achieve this by providing a robust technology platform that reduces setup cost to launch an online school by 90% and by providing powerful marketing tools to educators.

How can people get in touch with you.

You can reach me at

Name: Ranjan
Email: ranjan@learnyst.com
Mob: +91 994-556-3021
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ShivaranjanVK
Linkedin – in.linkedin.com/in/shivaranjankumar
skype – shivaranjan.kumar

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.