The week that was: from solving unemployability to helping blue-collar workers

This week, we cover the rise of OTT in India and talk about how an app called ‘Apna’ is helping blue-collar workers find jobs.

We begin our weekly wrap with a startup that is solving the problem of employability.

Unemployment of engineers is on the rise in India due to lack of necessary skills. A 2019 report titled “National Employability Report for Engineers 2019” by Aspiring Minds revealed that over 80 percent of engineering graduates in India do not have the necessary skills to be employed. Having faced the problem personally after completing their engineering, Soumya Ranjan Sahoo, Ambika Prasanna Dhal, and Telip Kumar Pradhan launched NinthSem in July this year to solve this problem.

Headquartered in Bhubaneswar, the edtech startup is aimed at providing skill-based learning to core engineering students. The students are taught in real-time by industry experts coming from every core engineering sector.

Every founder looks at funding as the measure of their success and works relentlessly to raise money. YourStory’s trends on funding in 2020 throws some interesting insights.

Indian startups raised a total disclosed funding of $8.4 billion between January 2020 and mid-November 2020. This was a 30 percent decline as compared to the funding raised by startups in 2019, and is almost equivalent to the funding amount raised in 2015.

In terms of the number of deals, Indian startups registered a total of 765 deals in the period between January 2020 and November 15, 2020. This is a 14.5 percent decline as compared to the previous year.

Several blue-collar workers lost jobs this year owing to the coronavirus-led lockdown, but their contribution to the Indian economy remains essential. Apna, a jobs search app for blue-collar workers, has stepped in to fill this gap. It wants to be the LinkedIn for bottom-of-the-pyramid workers in India. The app has been built by ApnaTime Tech, a Bengaluru-based startup inspired by Bollywood blockbuster Gully Boy’s #ApnaTimeAayega motto. Apna is backed by Lightspeed India, Sequoia Capital, Greenoaks Capital, and Rocketship VC.

It raised $8 million in a Series A funding round in September 2020. Apna connects entry-level professionals like carpenters, electricians, welders, plumbers, packers, sales agents, delivery executives, data entry operators, security guards, ward boys, peons, clerks, cooks, nurses, and so on to future employers.

Photo: Apna Blog

The year 2020 has also proven to be consequential for OTT platforms, and their rise is unmistakable.

OTT was the only segment of the media and entertainment sector in India that continued to grow. Revenues climbed 26 percent and subscriptions rose 47 percent, according to KPMG.

"Consumers are rebalancing rather than reducing expenditure away from outdoor entertainment, cinema, and concerts to OTT and gaming,” it stated in a report.

The upsurge continued through the year as COVID-19 remained unvanquished and outdoor entertainment venues were put under an extended lockdown.

It is estimated that about 325 million Indians today stream online videos — either ad-supported or paid.

Edited by Kanishk Singh


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