Founded in September 2009, Simplilearn started out as a blog for Project Management Professional aspirants. It slowly spread its wings and in April 2010, launched its blended model of both online and classroom training programme.
This Bengaluru-based startup added another five categories in March 2011: IT Service Management, IT Security Management, Quality Management, and Certifications in Technology and Financial Management. By June 2012, it had trained over 20,000 professionals across 50 countries.
Since then, the company has grown exponentially, having fast-tracked the careers of more than 4, 50,000 professionals spread across 150 countries. Today, Simplilearn has over 300 short-term courses across business, technology, marketing and creative domains that enable professionals receive certificates from accredited bodies.
Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO of Simplilearn, says, “From registering profitable numbers within our first year of operation, we have unlocked several milestones in a short span of five years. All our courses are offered online only via self-learning and instructor-led classroom models. With learners hailing from more than 150 countries, we are a 24X7 online company, making learning convenient, boundless of the time zones and geographies.”
Once Simplilearn took the first step on the ladder to success, it raised USD three million in Series A funding from Helion Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital in March 2012 for geographical expansion. And after a gap of almost one year, another breakthrough knocked on the door in the form of USD 10 million Series B fund from Helion Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital.
Again in April 2015, it raised USD 15 million Series C round of funding from Mayfield Fund and existing investors Kalaari Capital and Helion Venture Partners.
Krishna says, “As an organisation, our core focus is to enable individuals transform their career through certifications. In order to help us do this better, we invest a lot on technology and content. This funding was also used to expand our course coverage and expand in the US and other primary markets.”
On an average, Simplilearn trains 20,000 professionals every month and that sums up to more than 1,80,000 customers approximately every year. Since its inception, it has trained almost 4,50,000 professionals and onboarded 2,000 experienced trainers. According to Krishna, 30 per cent of the customers are repeaters and are certified in multiple courses from Simplilearn.
He says, “We are always on a look out for subject matter experts and instructors with sound domain knowledge, industry credibility with experience. Simplilearn’s differentiators continue to be our course coverage, 24x7 support, exceptional mobile and online platform and strong customer focus.”
Currently, Simplilearn offers 300 short-term certification courses with new courses being launched every month in categories like big data, analytics, digital marketing, IT security and so on. Professionals from India and US are opting more for certification courses in TOGAF, Certified Scrum Master, CISSP, ITIL, Hadoop, Cassandra, Social Media, Web Analytics, Android App development etc. Krishna says people have realised the value of professional certifications as 91 per cent of hiring managers globally consider certification to be a criterion for hiring.
In June 2015, Simplilearn acquired Silicon-Valley-based Market Motive for USD 10 million. It builds curriculum that trains professionals on digital marketing and has delivered web-based certification programmes to Fortune 500 companies.
According to Krishna, Simplilearn has leveraged Market Motive’s leadership status to enter into the digital marketing domain and set up operations in North America. Till date, both Simplilearn and Market Motive have helped more than 4,00,000 professionals in over 150 countries see a USD four billion worth of pay raises.
Post-acquisition, the company has launched a comprehensive course - Digital Marketing Certified Associate - short-term courses on digital marketing topics such as Youtube and Video Marketing, Facebook Marketing and Advertising, Pinterest Marketing, Twitter Marketing and Advertising, Display Advertising, Holiday PPC Advertising, and Growth Hacking for Entrepreneurs. These courses have been authored by Silicon Valley industry experts like Avinash Kaushik, who is Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist.
In a bid to position the brand, Simplilearn does lot of content-based marketing and online marketing via Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn and via e-mails. Recently, it also launched a billboard and radio brand campaign in Bengaluru. The objective was to position Simplilearn as the certification destination and to communicate the benefits of getting trained and certified in various professional fields.
In September 2015, Simplilearn joined hands with Bengaluru-based advertising agency Propaganda to build its brand globally. “They are helping us with a lot of creative inputs on online and offline branding. We plan to work with them on external and internal branding on a national scale to make Simplilearn the leading brand in the field of professional certifications,” says Krishna.
Online education has become one of the booming sectors in India. With the increasing Internet penetration and the euphoria of Digital India, online education is expected to grow manifolds. Online education has witnessed a significant acceptability among working professionals in the last couple of years. At present, the market is estimated to be around USD three billion.
Simplilearn has achieved a turnover of Rs 100 crore in the financial year ended March 2015. It aims to build Simplilearn as the career partner for working professionals across industries and functions globally.
“In the next two years, we plan to impact at least a million careers annually and continue strengthening our mobile offerings to make on-the-go learning more accessible. Another focus for this year is acqui-hiring for organic growth. We are scouting to partner with innovative startups to join us for technology and talent,” adds Krishna.
Disclaimer: Kalaari Capital, which is an investor in Simplilearn, has also invested in YourStory.
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