EduTech market in Bulgaria
The EduTech market in Bulgaria is still in its infancy and still the majority of it is the formal education which includes schools and universities. The majority of them are state owned. Another big player on the market which has been active the last 20 years are the so called private tutors or private tutoring schools. Nobody can say what exactly is their share but it is significant and almost every kid in Bulgaria is using this form of additional education.
The last 7-8 years some big international players and startups are also entering the market. They will change significantly the whole landscape. We can group them in several fields based on their services and most of them serve students in school.
- Content provider. Here is the perhaps the most successful and famous company Ucha.se which started in 2012 and for 7 years managed to establish itself as the leader of providing content in the form of videos to the students in the school system, Another player is the international leader Khan Academy which has an awesome product but because of lack of financing for localization of the platform to the Bulgarian language and syllabus is lagging behind the local competitor Ucha.se
- Electronic diary – Here the government saw it as a very important tool and provides financing to all schools to implement such product and it has very good penetration. The leader is the Bulgarian startup Shkolo but there are also several It companies which provides electronic diary as a service on the market but they are losing market share to Shkolo
- LMS – Here the main players are the international giants Google, Microsoft, Moodle, and Blackboard who through local companies or some NGOs as partners (except for Microsoft who acts directly) are penetrating the market. This segment depends to a large extend to the decisions and the financing provided from the MON. A good example is when about 5 years go the Ministry of Education decided to give around 1 mill BGN to each university in Bulgaria to implement an LMS system and most of them implemented the free Moodle. Here in this category we can also put and two Bulgarian startups which besides an LMS system also provide a virtual classroom where students can have live lesson with the
teacher and a whiteboard. The platforms of daskl.eu and Proznanie are combines both services and claim to be something like virtual schools.
Another player on the market for LMS is Samsung which with its smart Classroom project under their CSR program are also providing such tool
- STEAM – Here we have several organisation which use international products and try to establish them on the Bulgarian market. For example the NGO Digital Kids is trying to develop this approach in education in the schools. We can also put here the STEALM Academy and the startup Tiranosauver. The later is trying to teach the kids to technical skills by assembling some kits.
- Others – here we can put the platform uchitelu.bg which has over 100 000 registered users and it is something like a marketplace for private lessons
Another big segment which is falling behind is the education of the adults or the concept of lifelong learning. Of course there are some professional educational centers which provides some training, there are also universities which provided further qualification of adults but this s from the past and the effectiveness of this method is questionable. Who are the other players in Bulgaria?
- Of course the bigger group is of the international players such as Udemy, Udacity, Coursera, SkillShare. The problem with them is low engagement rate and low completion rate they have but this is the same all over the world
- Aula.bg – it is a Bulgarian company which provides content (video lessons) mainly in the field of IT
- Coursedot is a Bulgarian startup which is something like a marketplace where provide access to all IT courses and instructors in the world so mainly corporate clients can choose
- MyEducationClub –MEC – This is a new Bulgarian startup which is building a platform for peer to peer learning with the idea that people learn best from their peers. It aims to create a community of people with different skills and knowledge and they exchange them between themselves. The platform also provides curate content but the users also can share their experience and knowledge because they believe that nobody knows everything but everybody knows something.
Since the Bulgarian market is a little bit behind the trends in the EduTech in the world in the last years more and more attention and money was given to technology and various tools which were supposed to solve the problems. The schools and universities invested in electronic whiteboards, tools, LMS, etc but as we can see from the experience worldwide the biggest problem is the engagement of the students and how to motivate them when nowadays there is some much information and knowledge around them so the old school system from the 19-20 century is not effective.
Kaloian Kirilov holds an MBA with full scholarship from GVSU and is an entrepreneur who has 15 years’ experience in Finance and M&A where he run his own M&A Boutique. Three years ago he started his first EduTech project www.yourtutor.us which was an online tutoring platform. At the beginning of 2019 he and his team started MEC as a peer-to-peer learning platform in line of the life-long learning concept