chaabi uses AI-powered vernacular learning to upskill India's blue-collar workforce

The B2B SaaS firm, which offers a WhatsApp-based learning platform for blue-collar workers, aims to upskill 1 million individuals by 2026.

chaabi uses AI-powered vernacular learning to upskill India's blue-collar workforce

Monday December 11, 2023,

4 min Read

For Nikhil Subba, a 28-year-old BlueSmart cab driver in Delhi, talking to customers was always a pain point.

“I always struggled whenever I spoke to the customers. Half of the focus was on driving, and I didn’t know how to communicate better with them. I badly wanted to turn things around," says Subba.

To help Subba, BluSmart introduced him to Chaabi–a WhatsApp-based learning platform for blue-collar workers. For eight months, he dedicated half an hour on the platform to learn soft skills.

“After spending 30 mins every day for the past 8 months, not only have I improved my communication skills, I went from 3.5 to a 5-star rating. I now encourage all my relatives to learn through chaabi," Subba says.

Founded in Gurugram, chaabi is a B2B SaaS platform that aims to enhance the skillset of India's blue-collar industry. The platform integrates WhatsApp-based learning with AI-powered vernacular content, supporting 20 native languages.

chaabi was founded by Puneet Dhiman in 2022, a former senior strategic account manager at Googlein the United States. Dhiman says the pandemic and the migrant workers crisis that followed pushed him to find a solution to improve the skills of India’s blue-collar workforce.

"I aimed to tackle this challenge by using WhatsApp, a platform they use every day," says Dhiman, Founder & CEO of chaabi.

A peek into the offerings

The startup, with a 10-member team, offers AI-powered vernacular learning through more than 20 native languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, and Kannada.

“In our custom model, any worker in a company can record a few sentences in their voice. This allows us to use their voice for delivering the entire training content in many vernacular languages, offering a personalised experience,” the founder explains.

Besides training, it also aims to boost completion rates. Through a gamified approach, the platform offers a rewarding learning experience, encouraging quicker module completion and optimising the training cycle.

Speaking of a use case, Dhiman says, “We streamline the process by taking entire standard operating procedures (SOPs) or documentation, such as HR or training materials, from a company. For AI systems, our goal is to construct training in the language of the blue-collar worker, ensuring accuracy and relevance to their roles and specific tasks.”

The company operates on a monthly subscription model, where the pricing is determined by factors such as size of the company, workflow, and the number of monthly active users.

chaabi also provides real-time analysis where companies can track the number of users enrolled, training completion percentage, and user training progress. Some of its customers are Blinkit, Tata Croma, and Bluesmart.

One skill at a time

India is home to 450 million blue-collar workers, according to data from World Economic Forum.

Emerging platforms such as ApnaApna and Zippia aim to assist these workers in finding employment opportunities, enhancing their skills, and provide them with the right training.

chaabi aims to upskill one million individuals by 2026.

“When it comes to what we teach, we're focusing on two things. First, we're putting together all the government-mandated regulatory and compliance training for blue-collar workers,” Dhiman says.

The startup recently finished a project with instant delivery service Blinkit on compliance training, which includes code of conduct, POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment), employee health and safety, fire safety, and sustainability training.

SamānaCentre, Complykaro, and Rainmaker are the other players advising companies on POSH compliance, specifically for blue-collar workforce.

“Secondly, we're emphasising essential soft skills such as punctuality and understanding office protocols. Instead of getting into complicated training, we're starting with simple skills that make a big difference,” states Dhiman.

He says this approach narrows the skill gap and empowers employers, recruiters, and government institutions to deliver targeted training.

Dhiman believes anyone, irrespective of their educational background, can achieve success given the right skillset.

“I recognised the necessity of two key elements: the right technology and the right content. It became evident that solving this challenge requires the marriage of both, as relying on just one wouldn't suffice.”

chaabi is in talks with various government departments to determine the most suitable model and initial focus areas.

“Our primary focus is on the logistics and the delivery workforce, considering it's a substantial sector for us. They often seek a user-friendly and efficient platform for soft skills training. We are also looking to expand into the manufacturing industry,” says Dhiman.


Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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