SaaS-based learning platform WizIQ claims 8K paid users, to expand to Bangalore next month

7 Oct, 2013

Mohali-based authorGEN Technologies Pvt Ltd, which owns and operates online education platform WizIQ, claims it has served more than 3 million students and 250,000 teachers in over 100 countries since starting operations. The company already has offices in Hyderabad and Mohali (in India) and North Carolina (in the US), and is planning to open a new branch in Bangalore in November this year.

WizIQ was launched in 2007 by Harman Singh (CEO), who holds a master's degree in Computer Science from North Carolina State University (the US) and has also founded another startup called authorSTREAM, an online PowerPoint-sharing platform. The startup connects educators and learners through its virtual classroom technology. The platform offers a course delivery system for teachers, trainers, colleges and universities, high schools, and training and tutoring centres, around the world.

Using this platform, anyone can deliver live sessions, create courses, share tutorials in any format (PowerPoint presentations, PDFs or Word document) over the internet in real time, with only a web browser. It also features hands-off audio-video, whiteboard and desktop-sharing controls for users to increase engagement or respond to questions posed via integrated chat.

According to the company, WizIQ has a multi-lingual interface that supports 19 languages, including Arabic and European languages. It also offers a marketplace where teachers can sell their courses to students. The platform works on PCs, iPad and Android tablets. Currently, WizIQ has 225 employees on board. Early this year, the company raised $4.1 million from education-focused PE firm Kaizen and German media major Bertelsmann. Education technology firm Educomp is also an investor in WizIQ.

A SaaS platform, WizIQ is hosted on cloud. It follows a freemium business model—while it's a paid platform, some features are free; teachers can conduct two classes per month free of cost. It also offers a 30-day free trial to teachers who want to test advance features of WizIQ. "Our solutions are used by IIT Delhi in India, Atlantic University in Virginia Beach and Des Moines Area Community Colleges in Iowa, among others," claimed Singh.

"We have a huge collection of paid courses created by educators on the internet and host more than 2,500 live classes daily in the WizIQ Virtual Classroom. Around 8,000 of the total 250,000 teachers/tutors are paid members," he said. The fee starts at $19 per month (or $190 per year), and it can go up to $69 per month (or $690 per year), depending on the type of plan and the number of attendees. However, the platform is completely free for students. If we go by these numbers, it is safe to assume that WizIQ could be clocking between $1.5 to $5.5 million in annual revenues.

While the company's primary market is the US, where individual educators, teaching academies and community colleges are using WizIQ, it is also not ignoring the domestic market. "India is an emerging market in the online education space and we are in the middle of an online education wave in India. Premier institutes like IITs, VIT Vellore, ISB, ISM Dhanbad, University of Mumbai and NIOS are launching their certificate courses and distance learning programmes on WizIQ, " Singh said.

About competition, he said: "There are some products such as Adobe Connect and Webex, but they only provide tools for live communication. Other Learning Management Systems like Moodle and Canvas are providing course management features, and marketplace like Udemy is helping teachers launch their courses in market. However, WizIQ does all of this for educators under one platform, hence we don't have a competitor as such."

The online learning space in India has been witnessing a boom for the past few years. Many e-learning startups have emerged in the recent past, which are offering various courses to help students attend competitive examinations. Besides, the number of internet users in India—most of whom are in the age group of 20—40—has been on the rise. Other players in the space include Educomp and Mytestbuddy.com.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)