[Startup Bharat] Novice, no more! Bhubaneswar-based Protrainy is making engineers industry-ready
The construction industry is India’s second-largest employer, employing about 51 million people, and contributing nearly 9 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, according to industry estimates. This year, the industry is expected to supplant the agriculture sector and become the largest employer.
Despite the demand for construction workers and engineers perpetually increasing and only set to rise further, lakhs of students who graduate from engineering colleges each year still find it difficult to get a job — and it all comes down to lacking practical skills.
Biswajit Shaw, a civil engineer from Bhubaneswar, was one of them. In his pre-final year of college, he struggled to land an internship at a construction company, and he couldn’t figure out why. It was only when he finally started working with a corporate, and after spending some time in the industry that he realised that companies did not prefer to hire newbies because they lacked working and practical knowledge of the industry.
“College education equips you with the knowledge, but skills are still lacking. It’s like having all the spices, but you need someone to tell you how to convert those spices and raw materials into paneer-do-pyaaza,” Biswajit tells YourStory.
He decided to set up an upskilling platform for engineers and people who wanted to acquire practical skills for the construction industry, and founded.
Protrainy helps create industry-ready construction engineers and workers via its online education platform, where it currently has over 60 courses. The platform is aimed at helping corporates, educational institutions, and individuals (students or working professionals looking to upskill).
Biswajit, who co-founded the company in 2019 as a side hustle and switched to doing it full time in 2021, was joined by his brother Bishal Shaw; Ayush Sharma, ex-Hinduja Group; and Aayush Kumar, who spent 1.5 years with the Bhubaneshwar-based startup as an intern.
The courses, taught by industry experts, are offered in English and most major vernacular languages, and are either 15 to 30 days, or three to six months long.
The 15-30 day courses cost Rs 1,500-Rs 3,000 per unit, and account for 95 percent of Protrainy’s business, while the 3-6 month programme costs Rs 25,000-Rs 40,000, per unit, which makes up for 5 percent of its revenue.
The latter also comes with placement services where Protrainy actively helps students and course-takers get jobs with the likes of AECOM, L&T, SACPL, and AU Finance Bank, among others.
"One of our use cases also includes professionals who want to move horizontally within the construction industry — say from buildings to metros, for example. We train them so they can explore more career avenues within the industry," Biswajit quips.
In the last 1.5 years of operations, Protrainy claims it has generated Rs 25 lakh in gross revenue and is operationally profitable. The startup has 2,500+ total paid users.
It has over 9,000 registered students who’ve signed up on the platform for the startup’s hour-long demo sessions. Many of them join the courses right after the demo, while others attend other demos in case they’re looking for options.
The self-funded startup has been looking to raise financing and is already in talks with investors. It received a grant from IIM Ahmedabad’s startup incubator, CIEE.CO.
Biswajit says the startup wants to offer courses related to mechanical, electrical, and electronics topics next, as well as expand its existing educational product on construction.
The startup is set to launch a new website soon, which will offer a smoother flow in terms of access to the courses.
Its target currently is to hit one lakh paid users in the next three years. The platform has also seen beta users from 10 foreign countries, but it plans to expand internationally only in 2023.
With the new funding, the startup hopes to expand its marketing efforts, as well as make its courses more impactful.
Protrainy’s competitors include, Skill Lync, and CADD training centers, but it claims that it offers significantly more courses than the others, at three times less the cost.