This edtech venture by Hero Group aims to upskill learners with courses led by industry practitioners
The COVID-19 pandemic turbocharged India’s edtech sector. A late entrant in this space, Hero Vired – backed by the $5 billion conglomerate Hero Group – has global aspirations as it re-imagines higher learning.
New Delhi-based, founded by Akshay Munjal in April this year, wants to provide quality education at scale. The shortage of industry-ready skills is very much evident in the country today with a mismatch in supply and demand. A recent report by Nasscom noted demand for digital skills is 8x larger than what is available today and this gap is only expected to get wider.
This shortage in equipping people with adequate technology skills is unlikely to be fulfilled through the conventional college or university route.
Hero Vired has upskilling courses in deep technology areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data science among others, which according to the company, help learners to fast-track career growth.
Akshay is not new to the field of education, having been associated with the sector over the last 14 years. He was instrumental in founding Hero Mindmine, an HR training company in 2007 focussed on the business process management (BPM) segment and colleges.
He also founded the BML Munjal University in 2014, which offers educational courses in various streams.
Akshay believes the university mode of teaching has not really changed much for centuries and is unlikely to witness any major shift soon.
“Higher education is evolving but universities have not kept pace at how things have changed and this what Hero Vired is trying to solve,” says Akshay.
Hero Vired has partnered with leading universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Singularity University, and Codecademy to name a few to offer their content to students in India.
However, the platform has a different way of building learning modules.
“We bring in content from the world’s leading universities but deliver it through industry practitioners,” says Akshay.
Hero Vired, Akshay tells YourStory, works towards helping learners build relevant skillsets.
“A university like MIT bring in academic rigour but these people (technology practitioners) bring in the industry relevance. This combination is very powerful,” says Akshay.
A recorded lecture for a complex subject like AI or ML may not be easy to understand but these industry practitioners help students learn by giving practical examples.
Hero Vired has a combination of full time faculty as well part-time teachers. About 80 percent of the classes are conducted in the online mode.
Today, Hero Vired offers courses, which are of six to 11 months duration, in subjects such as AI, ML, data science, finance & fintech, gaming, full-stack, innovation & entrepreneurship, with more new courses in the pipeline.
“We not only look what skills are in demand today but also what would the requirement five years ahead,” says Akshay.
The target customer segment for Hero Vired fall under B2C (business-to-consumer), B2B (business-to-business), and B2I (business to-individual).
Learners who are keen to upskill themselves and, generally, are professionally employed, fall under B2C, while in the B2B category, companies approach Hero Vired for upskilling their employees. In the B2I segment, the platform partners with colleges or universities to help them teach these advance technology courses.
Hero Vired has also entered into a collaboration with National Skill Development Corporation to offer internships, industry projects, and financial support to professionals and higher education aspirants in areas such as drone deployment and game designing among others.
According to Akshay, ever since Hero Vired launched its operations, it has been clocking over Rs 5 crore revenue per month and aims to have around 1,300-1,500 learners on its platform by the end of the current financial year.
“That is kind of demand we are witnessing and ours is a very asset light model,” says Akshay.
Being part of the Hero Group, this edtech venture has already raised more than $10 million from the family and will look at external funding in the near future.
Room to grow
According to a study by Redseer Consulting, the edtech market size in India for higher education and lifelong learning is expected to touch $5 billion by FY25 from the level of around $1.6 billion in FY21.
In the higher learning segment, Hero Vired competes with platforms such as Emeritus, Great Learning, Coursera, upGrad to name a few.
Akshay believes India’s edtech sector is competitive and is moving towards consolidation.
“The next big thing is who is making the edtech company for the world and that is where we want to go,” says Akshay.
Hero Vired is also charting a global expansion route, and is eyeing South Asia and Middle East as a start. This would also mean more partnerships with universities across the world.
“We will definitely go global as well as deep in our offerings. There is so much demand sitting out there,” says Akshay.