Learning and imparting skills by way of classes has been prevalent since a long time. However, these classes are mostly restricted to a single geography and hence the sector has largely remained unorganized. While ventures supporting formal education like Start-up school, Pictualize exist, the new entrepreneurial generation have now trained their guns to the informal education sector, to tap and improve the skill development market. Raghuveer Malik, co-founder of SkillHippo, thinks skill revolution will be the next big thing in India.
SkillHippo is an online platform where interested participants can connect with like-minded individuals to learn/teach an array of skills. Raghuveer, along with his co-founders Akshay Verma and Sambuddha Bhattacharya are strongly of the view that people learn a lot outside traditional classroom and we all have the appetite to pick up new skills to enhance ourselves.
SkillHippo has built a platform that allows teachers to create classes with all relevant information, such as class structure, cost, location etc. on one page. It makes it easier for skill seekers to indulge in their passion or discover an edge they have, which they could not find out in the past. They enable this by providing a straight forward search method, which can be filtered by time, cost, location and other parameters. It knits the community together by providing them with reviews and endorsements for teachers by past students, thus making it easier for skill seekers to take informed decision.
A team of highly motivated individuals
The co-founders and the team come from diverse fields with experience across consulting, banking, sales and marketing. Raghuveer is a London School of Economics alumnus, who was earlier with Yes Bank before he took over as the first CEO of SkillHippo. Akshay, who studied at Oxford and Columbia University followed by a stint with UBS Bank, handles the relationship and engagement part in the firm. Sambuddha has taken 18 startups from ideation to fruition as an Entrepreneurship Advisor at TechnoServe, and has previously worked with KPMG and Amarchand Mangaldas. All the co-founders have been friends since their days at St. Stephen’s College. SkillHippo is a mix of full time employees and interns coming from elite educational institutes. SkillHippo has also engaged the best strategic advisors for the legal, education and public policy.
The journey so far
Launched in November 2012 and fully operational since January 2013, the startup has generated good interest in students for classes, internships and jobs across various educational institutes through its outreach program. Having already built a database of over 3,500 teachers, SkillHippo will shortlist about 1,000 best teachers and only those will go live on the website. The SkillHippo team targets expats, children, corporate employees and college students.
The target age group for SkillHippo is from 18 to 32 years, and their classes range across seven categories: arts & design, music & dance, careers & training sports & wellness, education, culinary and other skills. “The website allows classes to be filtered by price range for people who have a specific budget. SkillHippo also employs a thorough feedback system, which if taken very seriously can help improve existing systems and functioning,” says Raghuveer on what differentiates their venture from other players in the market like SkillSpace and Trait.
SkillHippo also allows learners to make safe online payments to teachers. With a lean cost structure and access to funding to expand, SkillHippo charges a standard service fee to the teachers in exchange of services. However, SkillHippo makes sure that there is no price difference between a class posted on SkillHippo and those taught by teacher outside SkillHippo.
They have joined hands with as ITC Classic Golf Resorts, Youth Ki Awaaz and Youth Parliament, a marked presence in social media circles and has done sponsorship titles for workshops and college festivals to promote the brand. “We have a Mumbai launch due very soon. SkillHippo aims to have a pan India presence five years down the line and be a big player in the skill market,” says Raghuveer ambitiously.