In late 2013, Vijay Pasupaleti observed that on one hand there were job advertisements posted on a daily basis and on the other hand there were candidates lined up outside companies waiting to be interviewed. The essence of the problem was that while there were plenty of jobs and professionals, there were not enough competent professionals for the job. He saw this as a huge opportunity where optimal training solutions could address this discrepancy in the ecosystem.
In May 2014, with an aim to bridge the gap between the skills required by industry and those currently possessed by working professionals, he launched GreyCampus. Hyderabad-based online platform provides certification and training for professionals to transform careers through skills. These professional development certifications include project management, quality management, service management, big data, workplace tools, and are planning to expand to other areas as well. These courses are provided across the globe in three modes: instructor-led online training, instructor-led classroom training, and online self-learning.
“We believe working professionals have a constant need to reskill and certify themselves to remain competent in an ever-demanding and changing workplace. GreyCampus addresses this need through its variety of convenient anytime-anywhere instructor-led training solutions,” says Vijay, CEO and Co-founder of GreyCampus. Vijay has 18 years of managerial experience in the banking and financial services industry.
He adds that as an initiative to encourage and help professionals located across the globe, the platform also has OpenCampus, an open resource library that offers free study resources and information on various professional development certification programmes.
The startup was initially bootstrapped and later raised angel investment (from friends and family). The funds have been used in building the technology backbone for digital marketing, training delivery, course development, and hiring the core team. The startup is in the process of raising Series A funding to support its global expansion and enhancing the technology platform.
The platform is in a primarily B2C market where the customers are individual working professionals. It charges a training fee for the short-term courses that it offers. These courses are in the instructor-led format with an expert trainer delivering the course online (live-online courses) or in a classroom. The courses are currently offered in US and Asia.
Market and competition
Training services is a $300 billion global opportunity.
Global Knowledge, Learning Tree, and Simplilearn are some of the companies offering instructor-led training solutions. Companies like Lynda and Udemy offer self-paced e-learning courses.
“We aim to attain revenues of $30 million, train 1,00,000 students, and offer a portfolio of 100 courses within five years. We did under $1 million in FY15 and we will achieve 100 per cent growth year-on-year. Our primary channel to reach target segment is digital marketing. Over 99 per cent of our customers are acquired through digital channels. We spend around 25 per cent of our revenues in digital marketing,” says Vijay.
On competition, he says that training service industry is very fragmented with companies offering a variety of solutions. And this fragmentation allows the co-existence of many online training platforms.
Building a global marketing reach and sustaining training delivery quality are some of the upfront challenges. Vijay says that both these need to be achieved quickly, efficiently, and at a low cost. “We intend to achieve this leveraging technology for excellence in digital marketing, building superior content, and deploying scalable delivery solutions.”
Growth prospect and roadmap
The platform emerged as a winner in the Deloitte Fast 50 Technology growing companies in Asia and India in 2015. It claims to have seen a phenomenal growth over the last two years and hopes to keep up the momentum.
“We intend to increase our geographic focus, especially for our live online courses, where we can club students in similar time zones. We believe we are still in the early stages of developing our business and we have an exciting journey ahead,” concludes Vijay.
The online learning/training industry is booming across the world. The international giants like Pluralsight and Lynda have proved their mettle in this space. In 2014, Pluralsight an online training service for technology professionals, raised a whopping $135 million in Series B funding. In 2013, US-based Lynda.com took in $103 million in growth equity from Accel Partners and Spectrum Equity.
Vedantu, BYJU, Toppr, Meritnation, and Simplilearn, among others, are some of the online platforms that have emerged in the Indian online learning space. In a country, where resources are unevenly divided, Edtech segment is changing the face of education. The Tier 2 and 3 cities have offered a larger space to exploit the technology. The online education space is surely going to be the next big thing in coming future in the country.