On June 22nd, 2022, SuperLearn became the latest edtech startup to shut down its operations. Co-founder Kunal Bhatia took to Linkedin to announce the news. SuperLearn will also return investors’ money following its closure. After the pandemic, the reopening of schools has had a massive effect on the edtech players.
Why SuperLearn has to shut down
Owing to the lack of capital, SuperLearn cannot continue its operations. The reopening of schools and offline classes led to the decline in investors’ interest, further contributing to the list.
The edtech startup SuperLearn’s troubles began in 2021. The number of kids attending SuperLearn’s classes reduced over the period. However, in 2022, the situation worsened. Its customer acquisition cost increased with a simultaneous increase in the internet fatigue bubble.
The edtech company raised USD 300K in August 2021 from Japan-based Incubate Fund. Five angel investors such as Vishal Bharghav, Rohit Razdan, Padmanabhan Thangarajan, Anuraag Gupta, and Karan Talwar also participated in the funding. Following the raise, SuperLearn expanded its team size. It also built on its product offerings. However, the edtech company’s capital dried out with the additional expenses. SuperLearn looked for an opportunity for another fundraise. However, the funding didn’t happen.
Many VC firms warned the startups about the funding slowdown and consequences. Edtech startups were hit worst by the economic downturn. Earlier, edtech platform Udayy announced its closure of operations. Whereas Lido Learning was on the verge of shutdown. Meanwhile, Vedantu, Unacademy, and WhiteHat Jr. have witnessed layoffs and resignations.
Meanwhile, many edtech firms have switched to a hybrid model. Byju’s, Unacademy, and Vedantu are opening offline coaching centres. At the same time, Allen Career Institute launched an online mode to rival its tech competitors.
What the co-founder has to say
Kunal Bhatia, the co-founder at SuperLearn, announced the news on his LinkedIn handle. He wrote, “We set out to make high-quality after-school learning affordable to tier II/III India. However, market realities were very different, and we took the hard call to shut SuperLearn early this year. Fresh with funds, we expanded our team and started building products & spending on growth. All these increased our burn significantly. We needed another fundraise. We spoke to probably 60+ funds over a period of 6 months, and no one seemed to be buying the edtech story anymore. It was clear the party was ending.”
“With a few months runway left even to figure out a pivot, we took the tough call of shutting the company and returning whatever money we have left back to our investors. Not just VCs but even parents seemed to have seen too much edtech. With hyper funding in the space, Indian parents had been bombarded by different companies, all trying to sell them some product. With things returning to normalcy outside, the first casualty was online classes. We began seeing a dip in the number of kids attending our classes. We were moving towards a vision but weren’t prepared for the changing tide of the market,” he further stated in the post.
Kunal Bhatia and Ricky Gupta brought the company into existence in 2020. It operated in the webinar format of an after-school learning platform. The edtech firm offers a range of hobby, extracurricular, co-curricular and life-skills activities for kids aged 3-13 years. SuperLearn established itself as a ‘Netflix’ for after-school learning for kids. Its app conducted free live classes on new daily topics, including yoga, art, craft, dance, sudoku, abacus, Vedic math, GK, English, etc. It catered to 2000 kids sitting in the same live class.
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