Mohanjit Jolly, Partner, Iron Pillar
Mohanjit Jolly, Partner, Iron Pillar

Reverse Pitch | 'Confluence of education and employability is a massive opportunity'

There are two related trends that are impacting not only India, but also the world

One of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing India is its young and massive population and the so-called demographic dividend—the ratio of working age population and the non-working people—that is going to be with India for the next 30 years. With a million young people entering the working world every month, India has to generate jobs to keep the unemployment rate under control. The confluence of education and employability, thus, is a massive opportunity in India that Iron Pillar is excited about.

There are two related trends that are impacting not only India, but also the world. One is that life expectancy is increasing. In the US, a child born today is expected to live for 100+ years. India is clearly moving in that direction relatively speaking. Two, artificial intelligence (AI) is a boon in terms of efficiency, but it is impacting low -end, mundane, and repetitive jobs in much of the developed world. India may continue to favour labour over automation, but eventually the latter will have an impact.

The implication of longer lifespans in an environment where change is accelerating, is that the notion of career is changing. People will go through multiple careers and reinvent themselves by unlearning, relearning, upskilling and re-skilling. Iron Pillar has invested in two firms straddling both topics, and seemingly on opposite ends of the spectrum. Testbook is an employment-centric ed-tech platform in India focused on government jobs. Uniphore, our other investment, is an enterprise software as a service, conversation AI and voice analytics firm that is disrupting the call centre and customer support space. They do this either by making the customer support representative more effective through a real-time AI assistant, or by replacing humans completely for mundane queries. That is an economic reality and one that will hit the call centre industry sooner or later. Given the growing young population, India presents an awesome opportunity for companies preparing consumers for the “arc of employability" from their first job through multiple careers over their lifetime.

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