"The time for Edtech is now"

Edtech, B2C, India
Company Stage
Year of engagement

Setting up and Scaling

In late 2020, while the pandemic raged on, Stones2Milestones acquired Multistory Learning - Amrut's earlier startup. As a result of which Amrut joined the company and headed the growth function for S2M's online English classes and the reading app Freadom. The pandemic had provided an opportunity for EdTech companies to prove their worth. The challenge, however, was to grow as fast as possible and establish oneself before the pandemic got over.

Solving the Digital Ads RoI problem

S2M had recently raised money, and one would imagine money in the bank, then growth is an easy problem to solve. But this is not true, especially for advertising-led-growth.

By the time Amrut took charge, S2M was already spending 50L/mo on digital ads - with an intent to spend double that amount. The returns were less than 1, i.e. less than 1 rupee earned (top-line) for 1 rupee media spends. The first thing that Amrut did was to set a different set of metrics and create new dashboards for the entire company. Instead of measuring CPC, CTR or CPL, we measured RoAS with a 10-day sales window. We created a new data plumbing - from ads to lead collection to CRM to sales. This meant that teams across the company could see which campaigns were leading to sales, and for which SKUs. For the first time, teams started collaborating instead of competing.

On the brand messaging side, we already knew that showcasing emotional benefits will yield better RoaS than parroting functional benefits. So Amrit visited customers in real life and captured their stories. Prisha's and Aayushman's stories (view below) changed Freadom's brand perception in the market - it was no longer "just another English class." With relentless experimentation on the ad copy and video, we improved the RoAS from digital ads significantly.

Moving away from Ads - Community led growth

Digital ads are always expensive, especially when your competitors are spending irrationally. Plus, benefits from digital ads are ephemeral. Could we come up with a growth tactic whose impact would last longer?

Amrut and Amrit are Reforge alumni. Keeping growth loop concepts in mind, and keeping the core product same, we came up with a community-led campaign called Club1BR - Club 1 Billion Readers. In this program, schools signed up to get our reading app for their students (free). The total time their students read on the app became the school's RM number - Reading Minute. Every month we published a leaderboard of schools based on their RM number.

Within months, we had over a 1000 schools in our club. Our app users shot up. We started to monetise Club1BR by offering "English Olympiad" tests to schools and live classes to power users. The overall RoI on Club1BR was 3x that of ads.

Looking back

Amrut and Amrit contributed to Freadom from Nov 2019 to Sep 2020. In these 8 months, Freadom grew tremendously. But not enough to safeguard itself against the Edtech funding winter that followed. We have faith, though, that S2M will weather the storm, and come out strong.