With a focus on employability, how Gurugram startup edWisor helps job seekers upskill
Three years ago, Ramandeep Arora was trying to solve the problem of unemployability among students with his startup edWisor. However, the idea for an e-learning training model for Indian universities did not pan out the way he had hoped since most of them did not wish to add edWisor training as part of the core pedagogy.
After trying out another model — where he recorded and provided training sessions on data science and tech stacks for its users — which subsequently failed, Ramandeep realised he had to move to a B2C model and start an outcome-based model of teaching skills linked to employability goals.
According to RoC data, edWisor’s revenue jumped from less than $100,000 in 2017 to $1 million (about Rs 7 crore) in FY20. For Ramandeep, his dream of removing the problem of unemployability for a graduate was well underway of being solved.
Started in 2015 in Gurugram, edWisor connects job seekers with experienced professionals from the industry, including technical skills experts and HR grooming experts, who take one-on-one live classes to help candidates acquire job-specific skills, as well as prepare them for interviews.
"We are trying to change the way people get hired. Job portals sometimes are not efficient when it comes to connecting candidates with companies. On the other hand, employers often see themselves stuck when they aren’t receiving resumes from candidates with strong backgrounds or skill sets needed for the position," says Ramandeep.
Growing through the years
The platform went through plenty of modifications, where it kept changing its content to match the current requirements and onboarded hiring partners and mentors. Bootstrapped with Rs 50,000 since inception, Ramandeep started the venture with two employees. At present, it has a team of 40-plus employees.
After four years of hardship, it has helped over 2,000 candidates find jobs. The startup has onboarded over 1,000 mentors from top corporates, including Fractal Analytics, E&Y, TCS, Wipro, and PwC. It is also witnessing a surge of sign-ups for mentors in recent months.
Additionally, edWisor has partnered with top tech companies and startups across India as its hiring partners that include ZS, Karvy, Musigma, Appstreet, and Accenture.
On average, a mentor takes 15-20 practice interviews before he/she refers a job seeker to a company. However, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the user engagement on the platform increased. edWisor also started providing live classroom sessions on data science and tech stack development for students who wanted to be employed soon.
The startup clocked an annual revenue of Rs 7 crore in FY20, and is aiming to double its revenue this year as job seekers are looking for new opportunities amidst the pandemic. The startup is yet to be profitable and is investing most of its cash back into operations and expansion.
"In India, lakhs of graduates pass out each year, but what surprised me was that only 10-15 percent are actually qualified for a job in the industry. After leaving my cushy paychecks at BCG as a consultant, I decided to leap into the world of startups," says the founder.
Ramandeep studied at Sri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi, and is an All India Rank holder in all levels of Chartered Accountancy – CPT, intermediate, and final.
Being a CA rank holder by qualification and having worked in companies like KPMG, ITC, and BCG, he wanted to go after the problem of employability in India.
Once a candidate joins the platform, edWisor helps in learning through recorded or live sessions with mentors. These mentors ask them to work on industry projects, and finally, edWisor provides placement assistance with four guaranteed interviews. In case a candidate does not get a job, he/she pays the startup only 50 percent of the course fees.
For a job seeker, everything on the platform is personalised —from designing the skills curriculum to taking one-on-one live classes, to assessments and referrals to companies.
"But, the foremost challenge for us was to maintain the quality of teaching and mentoring, which formed a base for our platform, and to find skilled professionals who can help job seekers. Hence, we have a programme that trains teachers in understanding the requirements for the live classes and various metrics. Our live class feature allows students to constantly share feedback with them, which helps us understand which teacher works better for the platform," Ramandeep explains.
In fact, edWisor is looking to blend its online training sessions with the physical teaching experience. It has set up operations in cities, including Jaipur, Indore, Pune, Chandigarh, and Kurukshetra.
The making of a global academy
Earlier this year, Ramandeep started the edWisor Academy — a job tech platform designed to solve unemployability globally.
"With its launch, our vision will slightly shift to a goal of personalising employability outcomes by leveraging the power of skilled industry professionals, who can help out global aspirants seeking to upskill themselves, or change their domain from tech job roles to the fields of data science and web development," says Ramandeep.
He adds that the academy provides one-on-one live mentoring, similar to what a lot of K12 players are offering in the market.
According to the Omidyar Network and RedSeer Consulting, the Indian edtech market stands at $1.7 billion as of 2020 and will touch $3.5 billion by 2022.
The startup competes with the likes of Simplilearn, Great Learning, Jigsaw Academy, and Upgrad.
At present, with the edWisor Academy, the startup is targeting 1,000 admissions a day for the next 18 months.
Edited by Suman Singh