In the first quarter of 2016, the fintech industry boasted an unprecedented global investment of $5,3-billion – and this trend is showing no signs of slowing down as investors and venture capitalists grapple to find out what’s next.
Now edtech is moving into the spotlight as the next digitalised sector poised to disrupt one of the world’s most established industries.
With a market predicted to grow 17% in the next three years, it would appear certain that edtech will be the next Ffintech, following the same path to fast-paced success.
Sam Paddock, founder and CEO of GetSmarter, isn’t so sure. “The flow of money is very different to the flow of knowledge and I think the way our education system is set up is far more complicated. I think fundamentally education is a different problem to solve and the jobs that need to be done, need to be seen through a very specific lens.
“I don’t think edtech is the new fintech,” he says. “I think edtech is in a category of its own.”
Paddock was speaking on a panel of edtech industry experts, hosted by the Silicon Cape Initiative. where entrepreneurs and authorities imparted their learnings about the industry and addressed questions around this disruptive new trend.
He went on to explain that he understands that those that wish to stand at the helm of the edtech wave have a lot to learn from the growth, establishment and expansion of the fintech boom – but this shouldn’t mislead them in understanding that the different problems each industry faces need to be addressed in very different ways.
“As entrepreneurs, we need to hone in on very specific problems that we are trying to solve in education and then take a specific look at the jobs that we need to do to solve those problems. I think there’s more work to be done and that is the crux of the difference between the two industries.”
Jamie Martin, who heads up edtech cluster at CiTi, believes there is a significant similarity between the two trends. “This is an area in which the developing world will lead the developed world. In the same way that with mobile money Africa led the world, I think it’s very possible that the people who will really rethink the challenges education faces will come from this part of the world.
“When things are as bad as they are, there is far more appetite for private sector involvement.”