How Edtech Companies Can Sell To the International Market
Edtech is a growing market, expected to increase by 17% yearly. However, a significant part of that growth is projected outside the U.S. As international schools begin to accept edtech, the market is becoming friendly for companies. Recent changes in the U.S. market have led to a decline in funding and support for edtech, so embracing international sales will be increasingly important for long term sustainability in the industry. Though the sales trajectory admittedly still needs some work for most edtech companies. Targeting and acquiring international clients comes with different challenges than landing U.S. deals.
What research and considerations does your startup need to address for the international market? How can you successfully sell edtech products to schools outside the U.S.? Here is a quick breakdown for any company wanting to make a move to international edtech sales.
Consider Market Demands
Before attempting to make an international sale, think about the market needs of each country. China, for example, is projected to reach $15billion in STEM spending by 2020. While U.S. spending on STEM learning falls, China continues to invest heavily in youth STEM education.
A 2010 German initiative to improve educational performance had a slow start. However, companies looking to target a global market may do well to focus on the developing European market. Germany, as the largest economy in Europe, is a sensible target for edtech entrepreneurs. The region, as a whole, has committed to improving education by 2020. The potential within the EU is even more evident when you take a look at the success of edtech startups in Europe.
For those startups looking to branch into the African or South American markets, funding help by the World Bank may play a significant role. Additionally, edtech companies who target the Persian Gulf can get in on the ground floor of a promising market. Understanding the market potential for the countries you want investment from is imperative to international success.
Understand Educational Goals
Looking at the performance of students on the international market, it’s obvious which countries are currently excelling in science, mathematics, and reading, and which need work. While the U.S. didn’t rank in top 10 for any of the categories, educational policy is making edtech a hard sell in American schools.
Meanwhile, international schools are competing to produce the best workers of tomorrow, and those goals can be exploited by thoughtful edtech companies. The United Nations set education goals for the 2000-2015 period. Unfortunately, only three countries met the expectations. For edtech entrepreneurs, this can mean a chance to make a real contribution for the 2015-2030 period. New goals have been set out, and an increase of $22billion in funding is expected to achieve those goals globally.
The key to success will understand what is lacking in the education system of each country, and how your products can bridge the gaps.
Be wary of International Faux Pas
Even if you’ve done your research and investigated the international need for education products, that doesn’t equate to sales. Selling products internationally, requires an understanding of local culture, customs and business values. Each country is different. So, hiring an experienced liaison with an educational background in your target country can give you a head start to negotiations.
Regardless of your particular product or niche in the edtech sector, the international market is a growing opportunity waiting to be exploited. Have you sold products internationally? What have been your greatest challenges and successes with the global edtech market? We want to hear your experiences!