An online learning powerhouse

Einsteins Square co-founder sees big advantages in Estonian e-Residency

At the snowy beach in Tallinn in Winter. Photo: Kopal Maheshwari.

If you ask Einsteins Square co-founder Kopal Maheshwari why she became an Estonian e-resident, she will tell you:

  • access to the global market,
  • ease in forming and operating a company,
  • plus the reputation of Estonia’s stellar education system, including top placements in the OECD’s 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report.
Kopal Maheshwari

This last point was really the most important factor for Maheshwari and her husband and fellow co-founder, Vinit Srivastava, when looking for a solution to expand their online preschool education business Little Einsteins into the EU from their home in Chennai, India, several years ago.

In Chennai, a bustling, hot coastal city of 7 million people, Maheshwari and Srivastava grew Little Einsteins to immense success, finding clients around the globe, particularly in big English-language markets like the US and Australia. Europe though promised a step forward in their quest to expand business further.

So three years ago they applied for e-Residency and opened an Estonian company remotely from India.

Estonia then served as a launching point for her next venture, Einsteins Square, an online education platform for students aged 5 to 15. According to Maheshwari, a catalyst for the company’s formation was the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced most students around the world into remote learning:

“We saw the need for online education and it wasn’t just limited to Estonia or to Europe. We saw a huge market in the US, Australia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand.”

Einsteins Square serves as a supplementary learning platform for these students, and is focused not only on core subjects like mathematics, English, and science, but also on life skills, such as chess, coding, or yoga. The platform hosts real-time online classes held by trained professionals for small groups of students, supporting a personalised approach to learning.

While in the past, the market mostly consisted of homeschoolers in places like the US, the mass move to remote learning has opened up new opportunities.

“Because of the pandemic we have seen a huge number of school children taking classes,” Maheshwari says. “More from the US, Australia, and New Zealand, where we have most of our customers, but a good amount from Europe, especially Ukraine, Romania, and Portugal,” she says.

“These are kids looking for extracurricular activities, for supplementary classes like chess and coding.”

While Maheshwari benefited from her ability as an e-resident to operate and run Einsteins Square remotely thanks to Estonia’s easy-to-use digital infrastructure, she and her husband realised a few years ago that it would greatly benefit their business to be physically present here and get to know the education community. So, they obtained an Estonian startup visa and made the move to Tallinn.

While quiet and cool Estonia is a big change from Chennai — which is about 30 degrees Celsius year round — Maheshwari says she has enjoyed the change of pace. “It’s very calm and peaceful,” she says Maheshwari.” This has been very healing for us. For people who come from India, it’s therapeutic.”

Learn more about the benefits of Estonia’s startup scene on our website.

She also credits the nation’s strong educational footing with giving her startup a leg up and praises the versatility of Estonia’s education technology, or EdTech, community, noting EdTech firms in Estonia develop solutions, work with the government to implement them, and then work directly with schools to support them after they are introduced.

During the pandemic, EdTech companies in Estonia — including Einsteins Square — also formed their own organisation, called EdTech Estonia, to better develop and promote their offerings, she adds,

“This is a very unique situation compared to other countries. The kind of community and government support you get here is not easily available elsewhere.”

Seeing new solutions adopted in schools also allows companies like Einsteins Square to better understand the needs of pupils, and to get feedback from parents as well as teachers.

“It gives us a very realistic approach and basically all the testing we need to do,” says Maheshwari. “This has helped us figure out how to expand to other markets in Europe and globally as well.”

That expansion is currently well underway. The pandemic has led to “exponential growth” for Einsteins Square where in 10 months it grew from $9,000 dollars to an annual revenue run rate of $1 million dollars. “Our future plans are around serving the rest of the globe,” says Maheshwari. “We have been concentrated on the US and Australia up until now, but we also see potential in Latin and South America and Africa,” she says.

Kopal adds that Einsteins Square is looking for partners on both continents to expand into those markets. If you’re interested, reach out by submitting an inquiry through the Einsteins Square website.

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