Education is touted as one of those sectors that will garner a large number of profitable startups in India. Just out of the sheer number of the target audience out there, acquiring even a small percentage of this market equals big business. Take Rainmaker for example; an online learning platform for law students and law professionals.
Having already seeing 5000 paying students use the platform and another 3000 registered for the next batch, there is good reason to believe that Rainmaker is at the forefront of India’s online education boom.
We caught up Antony Alex, CEO, Rainmaker, to understand Rainmaker’s offerings and what it takes to build a successful education startup in India.
Rainmaker is a learning platform for various law subjects, aimed at law school students and law professionals. The entrepreneurs behind Rainmaker worked on the legal talent acquisition firm, Vahura.com (which is also an affiliate of Rainmaker). Antony, who was brought in to serve as CEO from Pangea 3, believes that the current education system is deficient in some places, creating room for solutions like Rainmaker. He says, “The end game is to democratize learning and reach to the widest number of people. With the current deficiencies in the system, our solution is a good supplement.”
The content for these courses is partly done by an inhouse team of law professionals and academics and the rest is outsourced to its subject matter experts.
It offers short and long duration courses - the short ones are aimed at professionals who are looking learn a new topic while the longer ones are a full fledged course which is done over the course of a year. “ The short courses are costed at 5000 Rs per topic, which would include 10 to 18 units of multimedia, reading material and assessments and longer ones are costed at 25000 Rs, which is PGDM course with certifications from IGNOU and NUJS.”
Rainmaker has also conducted 3 BAR exams on its online platform.
Early day challenges
Antony believes that online education in India is still in its very early days in India. He says, “We really don’t have any competitors in India. The market is still developing and the closest solution to ours is Coursera and Udacity. The only difference being, they work on the MOOC model, while we have packaged it into courses.”
Even marketing for such as product is very foot on soil - “Most of our marketing involves going to colleges and speaking about our offers. We evangelize online learning and its benefits. There aren’t many other channels to market such a solution,” said Antony.
A possible game changer?
With the law wing of Rainmaker’s online learning solution attaining stability, Antony shared that they’re working on an interesting partnership, which could be a game changer for online education in India. He said, “We’re speaking with the top 25 universities from UK and US to bring their content onto our site. This will be spread across different kinds of subjects and will be certified by these universities as well.”
By doing so, the cost of foreign education can be drastically brought down and access to world class content will be much better. Could this change how we look at online education in India? I think so. International courses and certification at a subsidised cost might be enough of a driver for students to adopt online education. Antony further shared that these courses would include trips to the respective universities for the candidate’s dissertation. However, this is still in the works, but Antony says that they are in advanced level of talks with many of these universities.
As of now, Rainmaker has definitely validated the e-learning market in India with its traction. Will we see more startups such as these emerge in the coming future? We certainly hope so.
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