We are aiming for 3X growth this year: Arvind Iyer, Cuemath
Edtech platform Cuemath began their journey in 2013. Founder Manan Khurma, who helped students to crack the IIT JEE exams, found that students who were struggling to understand advanced math concepts like Trigonometry and Calculus had a weak foundational base. The belief was that learning math was akin to learning the piano. Students needed to start early in their lives and practice to really get good at it and develop mathematical thinking. That’s why Cuemath emerged as an early learning platform with the core proposition of building the foundational understanding of mathematics as a subject.
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Cuemath caters to a global user base as an after-school math and coding program for K-10 classes, powered by an adaptive learning platform, interactive visual simulations, and the guidance of a live teacher. The start-up raised $40 million in a Series C round in February. According to media reports, it is close to closing a Series D with $100 million in fresh funding, eyeing a valuation of $1 billion by the end of 2022.
The brand has partnered with creative agency Red Antler and launched their new logo and tagline – ‘Get Better at Math, Get Better at Everything’.
In conversation with Adgully, Arvind Iyer, Chief Marketing Officer, Cuemath, speaks about the brands’ journey, and their rebranding and marketing plans.
What are the tenets of the brand Cuemath?
Our belief is that any child can be great at math. Till now math has been treated as a subject and not a life skill. The future is going to be around machine learning and coding and so, math will allow children to have more options not just in academics but also in their career.
Children have always been taught math by rote learning, while we are trying to distil the core principles so that children understand the concept and apply it. We do that by deconstructing the entire concept visually.
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For example, a lot of children who haven’t studied multiplication tables are not able to give us the answer for 12 times 4. But if you understand that multiplication is repeated addition, then any child can answer that question whether they have learnt the tables or not.
The product is designed not just for content, but also for the classroom. Meaning, we have designed for outcomes as well as effort, because effort is really important at younger grades, where the child does not have agency but is expected to develop mathematical thinking. Our purpose is to help the child understand math more intuitively.
We’re called Cuemath because the platform cues the student to derive the answer themselves. Internally, we call it the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ because the learning is neither too fast nor too slow and you’re able to reach the next problem without it seeming too daunting. We have gamified the entire process to create a virtuous cycle where the student understands the concepts, enjoys the process and continues learning. A live tutor brings the whole learning process together and answers the student’s queries.
What is your potential market and customer acquisition strategy?
We talk to parents of children between 8-12 years and our acquisition strategy is quite simple. We believe in showcasing the demonstrable proof of how we work. We talk about why math should be taught differently and that it is not just remedial. We have pivoted ourselves to an afterschool math program that helps every child.
How this translates to marketing is quite simple. We have pieces of communication that translate this quite well, where we communicate that math is not a subject but a life skill or learning math by rote may not be the right way.
We reached out to parents and asked them to sample a free class on a topic that their child enjoyed. Then we tried to break it down in a one-hour session with the teacher, where the child actually tries to understand the why behind the concept.
Top of the funnel, our messaging is to help you get better at math and develop better logical and reasoning ability.
What is the thought that went behind the rebranding?
The rocket is symbolic of standing for excellence, yet having elements of playfulness, determination and achievement. We’ve tried to make it our own via the rebranding. The trajectory of the rocket is towards the North Star and for us that is mastery of mathematics. The last aspect is that every child can learn math and we act as a spring board to help them achieve that.
We’ve said ‘Get Better at Math, Get Better at Everything’, because we’ve noticed that children who got great at math especially with us have started asking a lot of why’s for other subjects. They started deciphering every problem thrown at them with a logical mindset and rely on facts rather than on assertions to find answers. The tagline is a pithy way to show what we really do, which is getting better at math and the payoff which is getting better at everything.
What has been your growth strategy?
I’ll talk about two key pillars. An EdTech brand has to be good at what they do and the product should be scalable. The first aspect is to develop a great product that works. The Cuemath product is a combination of our teaching methodology with an AI engine and live teachers.
We began with offline teaching seven years ago. While we were teaching the same concepts, back in the day, they were broken down using physical visual aids. We pivoted to a fully online mechanism where we replicated our methodology, but leveraged an AI system adapted to a child’s learning abilities. Our AI engine allows the child to get better through revision. With so many students learning on our platform every day, the AI engine has become smarter.
Our aim is to grow fast and we are aiming for 3X growth this year. We have a two-pronged approach to building the brand and the media mix is derivative of this approach. We are building branded search at the top of the funnel. This is achieved in different ways – from mass media advertising to performance marketing.
Mass advertising helps create the above the line buzz required for our branded search volumes and visibility. If you’re visible, then your search tends to go up. On the performance marketing side, we are constantly looking at how we are acquiring the parents’ and child’s interest at the bottom of the funnel and constantly optimise for that.
In newer markets, where we are not deeply entrenched, we rely on word of mouth and leverage thought leadership pieces in the way of authored article and blogs to talk about the Cuemath method and our proof of concept. We also pilot the platform in the market with a few students and it catches on from there.
We carry a lot of pedagogy and write thought leadership articles to break down math concepts for parents. We make sure to help parents understand how math needs to be taught irrespective of whether they come to us or not. It is a big part of our outreach.
While we look at all media – traditional and new age – we are cost conscious and mindful of where we expand and the degree we need to go as far as inputs are concerned.