Netflix for learning: How PrepInsta is upskilling students for job placements
Former Google employee Atulya Kaushik, who was working at Instamojo in 2016, realised there was a huge gap between academia and the industry in India. He felt acquiring tech skills was a necessity for students to be able to find relevant jobs, and started writing a blog about job placement preparation.
In about a year, his blog had 100 lakh views a month. Atulya got a job offer from Flipkart, but he decided to decline it and try his stint at entrepreneurship. He joined hands with his VIT Vellore classmates Aashay Mishra and Manish Agarwal and startedin 2017 to make the entire placement process easy, accessible, and inclusive for all.
According to the founders, the fundamental aim of the startup is to resolve the existing imbalance of career opportunities in India. The Noida-based startup helps students with end-to-end placement preparation, skill-building, learning to code, and interview preparation.
At present, PrepInsta has two offices in Noida and Bengaluru.
How it started?
During their engineering days, the trio realised the college curriculum didn’t focus on skill development, and most companies wanted candidates to have multiple skills and know multiple technologies.
Post their graduation in 2016, they started working in Bengaluru in different companies while they continued living together in a shared apartment. Atulya was in Google and then switched to Instamojo, Aashay was in Sapient, and Manish was working at Accenture.
In 2017, after Atulya’s blog became a hit with students, the trio decided to quit their jobs and give entrepreneurship a chance.
In September 2018, Atulya bought the domain name PrepInsta.com, and the startup was incorporated on October 8, 2018.
The platform started providing blogs on C, C++, Python, Java, DSA, Competitive Coding, Placement Papers, Recruitments Process, etc. It also had quizzes and paid mock tests on various companies.
In April 2019, the startup formally began its operations after R&D and hired its first employee. By the end of 2020, the total team size had increased to 20, and it generated revenue of $50,000.
OTT platform for learning
During the pandemic, the startup saw its revenue fall by 50 percent in the first two months of the lockdown. But, it immediately bounced back like most edtech companies and saw its revenue grow by 3X.
By 2021, PrepInsta.com revamped itself and grew its team size to 50 people. It also partnered with TCS for skill development.
The startup’s team comprises the leadership team and those in the sales, production, marketing, design, and tech teams. It has hired former Flipkart, BYJU’s, Upgrad, etc., executives to upskill fresh hires from colleges.
In 2022, the startup launched a new platform called PrepInsta Prime based on the OTT format. It enables learning material and techniques for college students and working professionals and offers over 150 courses for skill development under one subscription.
Atulya says, “The OTT model enables students to tap resources and avail expertise from any corner of the world and gives them the luxury to learn at their will.”
The course catalogue includes programmes such as upskilling courses, coding courses, placement preparation courses, and so on, to broaden the scope of job opportunities for the aspirant.
The subscription includes upskilling courses, including AI/ Machine Learning, cybersecurity, coding courses in C/C++ and Python, DSA, and competitive coding.
The platform also offers 150+ company-specific micro-courses for brands, including Amazon, TCS, Mu Sigma, Capgemini, and others.
Atulya says, “Just like there is Netflix for entertainment, PrepInsta Prime offers continuous learning and upskilling for students.”
He says that students have the freedom to discontinue a selected course and can easily pursue a different skill offered on PrepInsta Prime. “We offer courses at affordable rates so that students from Tier II and III cities also benefit. Our policy is to make education inclusive and not a matter of privilege,” he adds.
The startup also has a YouTube channel with over four lakh subscribers.
Screenshot of PrepInsta Prime interface
Business model and revenue
PrepInsta works on both B2C and B2B models. In B2C, students can opt for a subscription plan in the range of Rs 3,000 and 8,000 for a duration of three months to two years.
Under the B2B model, the company has tied up with over 30 colleges and universities as a training partner, and provides PrepInsta Prime subscription to the whole college.
Some corporations have also collaborated as partners, and PrepInsta’s network assists them in hiring new talent.
“Currently, we are working to expand the course catalogue beyond engineering to include skills and courses such as marketing, business, entrepreneurship, and growth hacking,” Atulya says.
In FY22, the startup generated a revenue of $500,000 and plans to hit $2 million in revenue in the next fiscal year. The platform has 1.1 million registered users, all of whom are engineering students looking for job placements.
Atulya says, till May 2022, Amazon had hired more than 3,200 PrepInsta Prime students, and over 1,400 students were placed at Microsoft.
“We have seen our students’ average pay package increase to Rs 7.1 lakh per annum, with the highest package being Rs 47 lakh per annum. PrepInsta Prime had a placement rate of 95.6 percent. We also aim to work with over 100+ universities and colleges in the next one year in the B2B model,” he adds.
With a current team size of 100 people, the startup aims to grow to 250 people by the year-end.
The market and way ahead
The bootstrapped startup has grown organically to avail the domain from GoDaddy. The company said it is profitable as well.
According to a report by IBEF, the Indian edtech industry was worth $750 million in 2020, expected to grow to $4 billion by 2025, growing at CAGR of 39.77 percent.
“In India, our presence is approximately 95 percent. We are now building our efforts to widen our reach in the international market. This will be achieved by the company as we look forward to growing our employee base by 2X,” adds Atulya.
The startup competes with players, including Scaler, Coding Ninjas, Udemy, Udacity, and Upgrad Campus.
“While with most of our competitors, you only get access to one single course, we have a unique OTT format subscription model, which helps the customer make informed decisions. It gives them freedom to explore more skills since they get access to over 150 courses. Also, our users have rated PrepInsta very high in NPA, close to 70 percent,” Atulya says.