How Scaler Academy’s student coders are streamlining NGO operations with tech
Bengaluru-based Scaler Academy helps NGOs with their technology-based projects like developing websites, databases, and apps, improving their reach to the volunteers and donors.
One of the key reasons why one sets up an NGO is to serve their society. These passionate individuals are so involved in running the initiatives that they often miss out on upgrading themselves to the latest technology available at their disposal.
Many also struggle to adopt the technology due to the lack of necessary resources and skills. Thanks to a team of young coders at, these issues are now resolved seamlessly.
Scaler Academy is a programme created by InterviewBit for tech professionals to accelerate their careers. At present, it is also helping non-government organisations (NGOs) to streamline their operations with tech.
Founded in 2015 by IIIT Hyderabad alum Abhimanyu Saxena and Anshuman Singh, InterviewBit is an online platform that upskills students and young professionals for IT jobs, mentors them to crack the recruitment processes, and provides referrals for the best opportunities in the software industry across the globe.
“While we understood that people can achieve great things with the right guidance, the only thing that was missing was access to instructors and mentors, thus leading us to the launch of Scaler Academy,” says Abhimanyu.
The Bengaluru-headquartered edtech startup has around 300,000 monthly active users. It is associated with over 600 global aspirational companies for their hiring requirements, including Google,, Amazon, Facebook, , Myntra, and , among others.
Streamlining NGO operations
The students enrolled in the Scaler programme are presently working with six NGOs to help them create websites to connect with donors and volunteers while also helping them maintain their databases.
“It’s like an internship, where we help our students upskill while also helping NGOs to complete their projects,” co-founder Abhimanyu Saxena tells SocialStory.
PANI, an NGO focussed on rural development, maintains a database on thousands of farmers and their activities which is manually registered in books. With their number started to grow, the NGO found itself in a tough spot to maintain records and make sense of the available data.
Scaler worked with PANI to build a custom application to track the NGO’s beneficiary, ongoing projects, and status in a centralised dashboard. It also built a user-friendly online portal where it encouraged the villagers to send their data through the platform.
“We primarily want to help with the digital transformation, especially in this pandemic situation, where everything is going digital. We want our students to get involved in meaningful work while helping these NGOs,” says Simran Thakur, Head Of Public Relations, InterviewBit and Scaler Academy.
So far, about 100 students are already part of six live projects, and another 400 have shown interest to work on upcoming projects.
Prayas Corps — an NGO working with the elderly — was looking to build an app or website to sell artefacts like diyas, agarbatis, etc., made by the members. It approached Scaler Academy as it did not have enough capacity to execute it.
“We are happy to have found a team that is committed to helping us with our tech requirements. The experience with Scaler until now has been very satisfying; they update us regularly on the progress of the project. We are hoping to have both the app and website ready and deployed before the festive season kicks in. It would be a game-changer for us,” says Jaspal Godara, CEO of Prayas Corps.
Similarly, Patwa Bunkar Aarogya Trust, an NGO that focusses on the healthcare sector, wanted to expand its reach and make its digital presence gain more support. However, a paucity of time and resources hindered its plans, and it took help from the academy.
While the projects with PANI, Prayas Corps, and Patwa Bunkar Aarogya Trust are already live, three more projects for NGOs, including Love Without Boundaries, Sri Sai Lions Netralaya (SSLN), and Good2Give, are in the pipeline.
A virtual university
Launched in 2019, Scaler Academy is a six-month-long online accelerator programme created by InterviewBit. It aims at enhancing the coding skills of students and professionals by creating a modern curriculum consisting of the latest technologies.
“With Scaler, we aim to build a virtual university with a quality education from the best universities in the world. Every month, we take about 200-300 students, and have been conducting live streams to all the 2,000 students enrolled with us,” says Abhimanyu.
Scaler Academy has three sets of courses for three different segments of the working population.
The first course — which is for two years — is for first and second-year engineering students. It introduces them to the basics of programming and a final capstone project within the industry.
For working professionals, it has a six-month and 11-month-long programmes, based on the level of their experience and understanding. It aims to build a strong foundation of computer science, post which they can opt for electives such as full-stack development, mobile development, or data sciences like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The third course caters to tech leaders with over six years of experience to help them switch to better jobs.
Renowned entrepreneurs like Bhavin Turakhia (Co-founder and CEO of Directi Group and), Rajan Anandan (ex-APAC Head of Google), and Jason Goldberg (CEO of Fab.com) are some of the people that guide Scaler students.
In fact, in April 2020, the first batch of students graduated from the programme. Abhimanyu says, “The batch has an average salary of Rs 17 lakh per annum. Another batch of working professionals with previous working experience saw an average salary of 20 lakh per annum.”
Providing pro-bono service
Scaler Academy (along with InterviewBit) is backed by marquee investors, such as Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global, Rocket Internet, GFC, as well as angel investors like Jitendra Gupta (Founder of), Jason Goldberg (CEO of Fab.com), and Prasanna Shankaran (CTO and co-founder of Rippling).
It has raised $22 million in investment to date and is operationally profitable.
Apart from teaching, it also monetises from the coding and development services it offers to other businesses and corporates. The payment received from such projects is paid to student coders who work on the project. However, the NGO projects are carried out pro-bono, with the startup spending its resources on the project, and students volunteering for the job.
“Before the students can get involved in the paid projects, they have to give a fair contribution to the NGO projects. This also helps us assess their commitment level, and analyse their dedication to the project,” says Abhimanyu.
A pandemic acceleration
With online learning platforms gaining more prominence during the pandemic, Abhimanyu says he is happy that people can learn better while staying at home.
“The number of users visiting our platform almost doubled in the first month of the lockdown itself. The first cohort of college students saw 100 students within a week,” says Abhimanyu.
Talking about the road ahead, Abhimanyu says, “We are doubling down on promoting online education and virtual classroom. Our target is to have 50,000 students enrolled with us in the current financial year. With the new normal, we are seeing great potential for edtech, and believe that we can scale much ahead of our initially estimated growth plans.”
Edited by Suman Singh