A4 Article in conference proceedings
Impact of COVID-19 on Business Model Innovation at EdTech Startups (2021)

Ulanova, Y., & Suoranta, M. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 on Business Model Innovation at EdTech Startups. In RENT 2021 : The 35th Annual Conference on Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business (pp. 1-19). EIASM - European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management. RENT.

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsUlanova, Yana; Suoranta, Mari

Parent publicationRENT 2021 : The 35th Annual Conference on Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Place and date of conferenceTurku, Finland17.-19.11.2021

Journal or seriesRENT


Publication year2021

Pages range1-19

PublisherEIASM - European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management

Place of PublicationBrussels

Publication countryBelgium

Publication languageEnglish

Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79115


Purpose: COVID-19 occurred at the end of 2019 and forced the world to change daily routines. Schools
and offices were closed and needed to move to online mode. Educational technology (EdTech) aims to
advance the learning results for students, foster individual approaches, and diminish teachers' burnout.
The study aims to understand the impact of COVID-19 on business model innovation (BMI) at EdTech
startups. Modern scholars show interest in researching firms that have various business models
simultaneously. It is still unclear how business model diversification corresponds to its
accomplishments. COVID-19 was a rapid and unexpected change. Hence, companies did not have
much time to change their strategies and act on the spot. The level of the company's agility depends
on many factors. For example, the area of operations and its size may affect the eagerness to shift
dramatically. The study sheds light on the research gap on how agility and dynamic capabilities help
companies to survive during crisis.

Approach: The data was collected by reviewing the existing literature and conducting 17 semistructured in-depth interviews with 14 EdTech startups and three industry’s experts. To analyze
qualitative data, the researchers utilized content analysis and MAXQDA 2020 software in which data
was coded into 14 categories to find answers to the research questions.

Results: There is no doubt that COVID-19 compelled the educational industry to utilize digital tools
more actively than ever before. As a result, COVID-19 forced the EdTech industry to grow faster than
expected. EdTech startups did not invent a new business model. They still use SaaS (Software as a
Service) as a basis and charge users per specific time. Business model innovation (BMI) occurred in
all segments of a business model. The main alteration happened in discovering parents as a new target
audience and offer pricing plans for them. Second, EdTech startups accentuated their marketing efforts
on the advantages of remote education and usability of the products at home. Lastly, EdTech startups
focus on adjustability to hybrid learning environments, integrations with the existing platforms, and
customer support for teachers and parents. As for the pricing plan, most EdTech startups provided their
solution for free for a longer time than usual to support the educational community, increase awareness
of the tool, and boost the user base.

Implications: The study is beneficial for EdTech startups in the following ways. First, it allows them
understanding how other startups from the same industry coped with the pandemic. Second, the study
makes it possible for EdTech startups to start internal discussions on revisiting the business model and
think about what should be changed. Concerning uncertain time as COVID-19 in the future, EdTech
startups must always believe in their product and understand the target audience.

KeywordsCOVID-19pandemicscommunicable diseasesepidemicsenterprisesbusinessbusiness modelseconomic effectsstartup companiesinnovations

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Ministry reportingWon't be reported

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Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 11:20