Numbers game: Indian start-up aims to capture global maths market

by Jeremy

The lockdown has brought the digital divide to the forefront, especially in the K12 segment. (Representative Image)

India’s contribution to the development of mathematics has been substantial—especially to the modern decimal number system and many arithmetics and algebraic techniques. Now, an Indian edtech start-up aims to capture a significant share of the global mathematics education market (K12) on the back of unprecedented growth it has seen during the pandemic. “In the last financial year, we grew 3x, and the aim is to grow more than 3x in this year,” Manan Khurma, the founder & CEO of Cuemath, told FE. “Most of that growth will come from global markets.”

Numbers game: Indian start-up aims to capture global maths market

Cuemath is present in 20-odd countries, and it wants to reach over 50 countries by the end of this year. This plan includes strengthening its presence in North America, APAC, UK and Europe, and the Middle East, and entering countries in Africa and South America. “We would also explore inorganic growth,” he said.

While Khurma didn’t share Cuemath’s revenues, the start-up (founded in 2014) has raised $67 million so far. “We are not profitable yet, and would go in for a couple of rounds of funding in this calendar year,” he said.

Indian teachers

Within mathematics education, one of the most prominent players globally is the Japanese Kumon. Before the pandemic, Kumon—whose model is essentially bricks-and-mortar centers—generated over $1 billion annually. “I believe Kumon’s curriculum is not up-to-date with what the kids need today,” Khurma said. “STEM.org accredits our curriculum, our learning outcomes are great, and we’re a Google for Education partner … all this gives us huge credibility.”

Mathematics is a universal need, and the syllabus is also more or less similar in most countries, but it’s the teachers at Cuemath, which, Khurma believes, give it an edge. “We’ve about 10,000 teachers, some of the best; of all the applications we receive, we select only 3%. While we will hire foreign teachers as we expand, a large chunk will be Indian teachers,” he said. Indian accent is pretty neutral, and around the world, Indians are associated with strong mathematics skills. “Being taught by an Indian is seen as a positive.”

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