Education experts estimate that there are about 60 successful education startups in the market. Approximately 100–200 such startups are being launched every year. A large number of these startups are said to focus on curriculum content development and mid-career education options such as skills training, vocational courses, and online certification courses.
“The obvious spurt of education startups in the last couple of years is due to the sudden increase in the number of incubators in the country and the trigger of successes from Silicon Valley,” said Binny Mathews, Co-founder of DeZyre.com, when I spoke to him almost a year and half ago.
The same things triggered them as well. Binny and Omair Aasim founded DeZyre.com in November 2012, except that they wanted to focus on giving hands-on skills training to professionals.
The online platform offers about seven courses on big-data programming and MS Excel to professionals who wish to further their careers. Initially, most of their courses were pre-recorded, except for Hadoop, a big-data programming language, delivered through live streaming.
YourStory wrote about them when they launched, read story here. A lot has happened over the last five years.
They amassed over 9,000 curious learners across India and the US. They also raised a significant amount of funding from investors, including Flipkart Co-founder Binny Bansal, NewToy Co-founders David Bettner & Michael Chow, Quixey COO Guru Gowrappan, ImagineK12 and Hedge Fund Manager Shrikanth Ramamurthy.
Late last year, they also introduced five joint certification courses on big data analytics in collaboration with IBM.
“We realised that skills training had to be done by industry experts and large players in the field, rather than by teachers or faculty in classrooms,” said Binny.
It was smooth sailing until they realised that apart from teaching new technologies to interested learners, they needed to help people already in the field to keep abreast of the latest technology developments in their field of expertise.
To address this need, they have come up with a subscription-based training programme, HackerDay, where industry experts deliver project-based workshops on trending technologies on alternate weekends.
Binny describes HackerDay as the first ever "Career Updation” service in the world. The service will be available to subscribers at a fee of $9 per month. As this service is in its beta phase, it is currently available on invite-only basis. It will soon be open to everyone .
"The HackerDay service has been crafted with a lot of care to help professionals stay updated in their careers. Before this, there was no easy way for professionals to work on hands-on projects regularly in order to learn new technologies. I would have loved to have such a service while I used to be a data analyst," said Suman Kumar, Product Lead at HackerDay.
The first HackerDay, to be held on November 21, will be about "Predicting survival on the Titanic using data science". The workshop will focus on analysing who was likely to survive the Titanic disaster based on the data set available.
“We know that the first to be put on lifeboats were people from the upper classes, children, and women. So this workshop will help students apply the tools of machine learning to predict which passengers would have survived the tragedy and they would have survived had they been on the Titanic!” added Binny.
Although their main focus for the next few sessions will be on data science and big data analytics, they will introduce workshops on subjects like web development and digital marketing next month.
“Think of this as a monthly subscription to the Economist or Forbes. You can stay subscribed as long as you want. DeZyre will take ownership over finding the latest technologies, crafting hackathons based on these technologies, finding awesome industry experts, and keeping you updated,” added Binny.
The scope for such startups is huge if the necessary awareness is spread among professional communities.
Global Industry Analysts, a market research firm, projects that the online learning market will reach $107 billion in 2015. There are many startups that focus on skills training in various fields.
Some of the better known companies that focus on online skills trainings are: Udacity, which recently raised $105 million at a billion dollar valuation; Lynda, which was acquired by LinkedIn for about $1.5 billion early this year; and General Assembly, which is a hybrid platform with both online and offline skills training workshops. Skillably is another new addition to this list.
Over the last two years, the market for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) has rapidly increased with the large number of options available on websites like Coursera and edX.
To be able to analyse the response for mid-career professional skills training, one has to wait a little longer.
Ten YourStory readers can register for HackerDay without invitations here.