Manish Upadhyay: Identifying and Growing Next-Level EdTech Companies
Hello! My name is Spiffy, I’m an interplanetary journalist speaking with innovators from around the world who are working in education. One of those people is Manish Upadhyay, an EdTech advisor and consultant from New Delhi. Manish is the co-founder of Liqvid, an e-learning solutions platform for publishers and EdTech. Are you ready to be inspired?
Spiffy: Welcome to the blog, Manish, and thanks for talking with me today! I’d love to hear about the challenges that you’re addressing in your work, whether at Liqvid or otherwise.
Manish: It’s great to be here, Spiffy, thanks for having me! I identify next-level EdTech organizations—areas such as auto-generation of content through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, 21st-century skills, neuro-based learning, 5G-driven EdTech models, personalized learning, and extended-reality-based interventions.
Spiffy: That sounds very impressive. What motivated you to do it?
Manish: After being in the space of EdTech for the last 26 years—having founded an EdTech organization, and with the pandemic push—we entered a space where EdTech has now become mainstream in India. There are so many white spaces and opportunities to work on!
Spiffy: How are you and the organizations you advise or consult with working towards a more equitable world?
Manish: Well, I am segmenting the Indian market in terms of access—multiple devices and good internet, smartphone and good internet, smartphone, and intermittent internet, and non-smartphone segments. One such organization that I am engaging with is a Whatsapp-first learning organization with a mission to take learning to the bottom of the pyramid. Another organization is an AI-based auto-content generation company that provides unlimited practice in a completely personalized way—their mission is mastery for all!
Spiffy: That’s awesome! Next, can you tell me about a recent milestone or initiative and the impact it makes?
Manish: I measure impact in three ways—number of lives impacted, revenue growth, and funding raised. I have helped launch an India EdTech challenge in collaboration with UINCEPT, AWS Edstart, and AIM (the Government of India's advisory body). We’re hopeful that this one-of-its-kind challenge will unearth relevant EdTech startups at the idea stage and beyond.
Spiffy: Is there a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to make?
Manish: Central Square Foundation's TicTac Learn initiative—an initiative of Google and Central Square Foundation— provides free math content in six to seven Indian languages on Youtube. The channel has millions of views with very good engagement rates.
Spiffy: Before I let you go, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Manish: India is now the third-biggest startup ecosystem in the world and EdTech has emerged as a very important domain. There are huge growth opportunities for international EdTech organizations looking to enter the Indian market. I am supporting two Korean government startup initiatives—Korean SME and Korean Service Corps, and I am also engaging with MindCET, a technology incubator in Israel.
Spiffy: Wow, I wish you all the best! Thanks for speaking with me today, Manish, it’s been an honor!
Manish Upadhyay is a co-founder of LIQVID, funded by Soft Bank and Gray Matters Capital, and has been educated at IIT Delhi. He has over 26 years of experience in the EdTech industry and is currently consulting in EdTech and entrepreneurship areas for UINCEPT, CSF, Jamboree, and MITSDE (Higher Ed). He is also a partner-investor in two upcoming organizations. He has written for the Economic Times, Routledge, Bloomsbury and currently judges CLO Elite and SIIA's CODiE Awards. (Nominated by EdTechReview. First published on the Ladderworks website on December 10, 2021)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.