Amazon takes on edtech cos Byju's, Unacademy with launch of Amazon Academy

Amazon Academy’s primary focus is on content quality, deep learning analytics and student experience
Amazon is launching Amazon Academy to cater to students preparing for the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) for entrance to engineering colleges. The move would enable it to take on top edtech companies such as Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu and traditional education institutes and tap country’s $180-billion education sector which has gone online to adapt to the new reality.

The online preparation offering will equip students with in-depth knowledge and practice routines required for the JEE, through curated learning material, live lectures and comprehensive assessments in Math, Physics and Chemistry. The beta version of Amazon Academy will be available free of cost on the web and the Google Play store

“Amazon Academy aims to bring high quality, affordable education to all, starting with those preparing for engineering entrance examinations,” said Amol Gurwara, Director, Education at Amazon India. “Our mission is to help students achieve their outcomes while also empowering educators and content partners to reach millions of students.”

He said Amazon Academy’s primary focus has been on content quality, deep learning analytics and student experience. He said the launch will help engineering aspirants prepare better and achieve the winning edge in JEE.

Amazon Academy enables active learning through live lessons, helping students to strengthen their JEE preparation efforts. They can engage with expert faculty, learn concepts, and clarify doubts in real-time. Bringing further discipline and rigour to their study methodology, it will offer scheduled lessons, daily practice problems and regular tests, starting with a crash course for the upcoming JEE Main.

Amazon Academy will help aspirants know where they stand with an All-India Rank for the respective mock test. It would assess their test performance through personalised reports highlighting chapter-wise time and strength analysis. Aspirants will be able to gauge their progress and compare their performance with other JEE aspirants who have attempted the test in the same time slot on Amazon Academy. Students can track their progress over time, identify their strong and weak areas, and get detailed insights on the overall test-taking strategy.

All learning material and exam content has been developed by expert faculty from across the country. In addition to the JEE, those preparing for BITSAT, VITEEE, SRMJEEE, and MET exams will also benefit from the quality content resources available. The content is currently available for free and will continue to be for the next few months.

The pandemic has been a watershed moment for India’s edtech sector. Bengaluru-based Byju’s which is valued at $12 billion has been on a fund-raising spree in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic helped Byju’s to become a decacorn (a company valued at over $10 billion). Byju’s raised most portion of its total funding of $2.1 billion from investors last year, which it is using for acquisitions and scale up its operations. It is now in talks to acquire exam preparation firm Aakash Educational Services Limited for about $700 million-$750 million, according to the sources. Last year, Byju’s acquired Mumbai based ed-tech start-up, WhiteHat Jr, which teaches coding to children for $300 million. In 2019, Byju’s also bought the US-based educational gaming company, Osmo, for a whopping $120 million in a stock-and-cash deal. Today, Byju's app has over 70 million registered students.

Not far behind is Facebook-backed Unacademy which last year became the most valued edtech start-up after Byju’s. It raised undisclosed funding in November from SoftBank and Tiger Global at $2 billion valuation. Unacademy is mainly dominant in the area of exam preparation space. But it is now gearing up to take on Byju’s by tapping the K-12 education space and teaching coding to children. Over 150,000 live classes are conducted on the platform each month. The collective watch time across platforms is over 2 billion minutes per month.

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