San Francisco-based Springboard has served more than 10,000 people across the world, around 80 percent of which have been in the US.
On Monday, US-based online course platform Springboard launched its India operations. While the company might have joined the India online learning party late, its India Managing Director Vivek Kumar is confident of making a mark in the already-crowded market.
Speaking to YourStory, Vivek said, “If you look at the market, a big change is happening. Twenty years ago, people changed perhaps two to three jobs (over their career). That’s not the case anymore. Now, people have to continuously upgrade their skills. From a one-time education, we have moved to continuous education.”
This, he says, presents a huge market opportunity for Springboard.
“Yes, we have entered the market late, but we are confident there is strong demand when it comes to upgrading skills and thus, we see a market for our courses. Most current players are in the certification game. There is little accountability when it comes to students,” says Vivek.
Springboard, he claims, will take the responsibility of getting students jobs post completion of the course.
In fact, Vivek says the company will refund the course fees in case a student is unable to get a job within six months of completing a course. “If a skill you are acquiring is required in the market, jobs should not be difficult to come by,” he points out.
According to KPMG, India's online education market is predicted to be valued at $1.96 billion by 2021. There are several other players in this sector including SimplyLearn, Udacity, UpGrad, Unacademy and Findia.
The San Francisco-based company claims that over the last five years, it has served more than 10,000 people across the world, around 80 percent of which have been in the US. Springboard has two courses in India at present – one in data science and another in machine learning. Each is for a duration of six months, and comes at a fee of Rs 1.65 lakh plus taxes.
As part of the courses, Springboard also has mentors – professionals from the industry – conducting personalised sessions with students. Says Vivek,
“The interaction with a mentor is not only to master the course material, but also to gain industry-relevant skills.”
The mentors associate themselves with upskilling programmes because of their strong intent to give back to the industry.
“Each mentor indicates to us how much time they have, based on which an algorithm matches them with students. In our interactions with the mentors, they often tell us that they also get to learn from the students, who can bring different perspectives and ideas to the table,” Vivek explains.
Along with mentors, there is also a career coach who guides students on how to seek a job, from writing a resume to meeting people for interviews. Springboard is also in talks with some partners for job opportunities for its students.
“There are about six to seven million (60-70 lakh) people in the IT industry and each year, three to four lakh join the industry and a similar number move out. Hence, at a net level, the number holds good. Of these, those in the two- to eight-year experience bracket are the ones that are most actively seeking reskilling to be able to transition their career,” says Vivek.
This is where Springboard comes in. He says the company has already got over 800 enquiries and is in the process of vetting candidates. “We are very selective when it comes to people who will take up the course. We have a minimum requirement on the profile and we also conduct a test,” says Vivek.
The first course will start on March 4 this year.