The online training and certification industry in India has not seen much investment from private equity and venture capital investors, but this hasn’t stopped entrepreneurs from exploring its growth potential. The industry is pegged at half a billion dollars and is growing at 12% compounded annual growth rate, says Anil Joshi, partner with Unicorn Ventures. Mint profiles four start-ups in this space

TUTORING MNC STAFF, STUDENTS OVER WEEKENDS

Enterprise: Brain4ce Education
Solutions Pvt. Ltd

Entrepreneurs: Lovleen Bhatia (36) and Kapil Tyagi (34)

Founded: 2011

Location: Bengaluru

Brand Name: Edureka


The company was started with 1.5 crore which the founders earned from the sale of their previous venture. The online-only platform trains professionals in the use of Big Data, analytics and cloud technologies in four-six week courses on weekends. There is a panel of 150 instructors, who are experienced freelancers. Edureka adds three courses a month and currently offers a total of 20 courses costing 10,000-25,000 per course. It has so far trained over 100,000 students in India and abroad. According to the founders, mid-level management employees from multinational corporations like Microsoft Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. register for the courses. Edureka was recently named the 10th fastest growing company in Asia-Pacific in Deloitte’s 2014 ranking of Asia’s 500 fastest growing technology firms. It has an annualized revenue of 30 crore. Edureka aims to achieve a turnover of 100 crore in the next two years.

TAPPING THE MARKETPLACE MODEL

Enterprise: Unbound Learning Networx
Pvt. Ltd

Entrepreneurs: Ashish Bharati (42)

Founded: 2013

Location: Hyderabad

Brand name: Learnunbound.com

Ashish Bharati.

USING REAL-TIME INTERACTION FOR LEARNING

Enterprise: Way2Digital Pvt. Ltd

Entrepreneur: Raju Vanapala (35)

Founded: 2014 

Location: Hyderabad

Brand name: LearnSocial

Raju Vanapala.

ONLINE AND OFFLINE TRAINING FOR THE MANAGEMENT TYPES

Enterprise: Jigsaw Academy Education Pvt. Ltd

Entrepreneurs: Gaurav Vohra (35) and Sarita Digumarti (39)

Founded: 2011

Location: Bengaluru

Brand name: Jigsaw Academy

Gaurav Vohra (left) and Sarita Digumarti.

Jigsaw’s mix of online and offline training is conducted by 10 full-time and 55 part-time faculty members. There are 10 courses on offer for industry verticals like financial services, retail, human resources, and social media at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, costing 25,000-35,000.

The courses are popular among management institutes like Great Lakes, IIM-Bangalore and Asian Institute of Management, Manila, as well as various IT and consulting companies, said Digumarti. Jigsaw is adding 10 new courses per quarter. It aims to reach a turnover of 12-15 crore by the end of fiscal year 2015, said Vohra.

INDUSTRYSPEAK

India is a young country and largely dependent on a brick-and-mortar education system. With its growing population and diverse needs, it would be imperative to adopt newer learning ways, and online training offers good scope to meet the growing demand. However, it would need good support in all areas like quality content, authenticity, acceptance by industry, infrastructure to stream content, etc.

Currently, the industry is facing several challenges. Multiple languages, technological gaps and the lack of skilled trainers may hamper the growth of this market.

Investors are closely monitoring the space and would invest at the right time as the sector offers good scope in future owing to the large addressable learning population, which could be in the range of 100 million professionals and students. Once the industry shows traction and better infrastructure, it certainly offers good potential to grow.Anil Joshi, venture partner with Unicorn Ventures

Other similar start-ups that provide online training in new technologies and are backed by private equity and venture capital investors:

Simplilearn Solutions Pvt. Ltd, founded in 2009, offers over 200 certification courses in project management, Big Data and analytics, and virtualization across 11 verticals through classroom training, self-learning, online training and instructor-led online classroom training. The company raised $10 million in second round of funding from Helion Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital in 2013.

Edupristine.com, founded in 2008, is a training provider for international certifications in finance, accounting and analytics. The company raised $1.5 million in its first (Series A) round of funding from Accel Partners in April this year.

Wiziq.com, founded in 2007, connects educators and learners for live courses. As many as 300,000 active educators and 3.7 million registered learners from more than 100 countries use Wiziq. Training in Big Data, analytics and finance can be accessed through its platform. The company raised $4 million in second (Series B) round of funding from Kaizen Capital and Germany-based global media company, Bertelsmann SE and Co. KGaA.

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