Interaction with learners

How edtech startup Talentedge seeks to breach higher education with its direct-to-device SaaS model

There are around 250 million students attending school in India – whether private or government – according to a 2018 report by Statista. However, when it comes to higher education, the ratio is low, with only 27.4 percent of the population in the 18-23 age group enrolling in degree courses.

Based on Gurugram seTalent advantagese seeks to make a dent here with its edtech solutions, with the B2B and B2C model in play. The startup was founded in 2012 by Aditya Malik.

As part of its B2B offer, the startup offers a SaaS solution and partnerships with universities to enable them to offer online study programs. This means that the degree and the shared content are entirely on behalf of the university while Talentedge operates as an OPM (Online Program Manager), which is a fairly popular concept in the United States.

Along with this, it also operates an online certification program based on live interaction for individual students in partnership with institutes such as IIM, MICA, XLRI and UCLA among others. These certifications cover business segments such as HR, finance, technology, leadership, management, as well as its own Talentedge certification.

“We were pioneers in live, interactive and anywhere learning, so we coined the term D2D – Direct-to-Device. Live learning did not exist six years ago (2014) when we launched, ”says Aditya.

Since its launch, Talentedge has claimed more than 500,000 learners with 80% customer satisfaction and the orientation of references. It has so far launched more than 15 courses, with 15 more in the pipeline for the next few years.

The journey so far

Talentedge started out by offering skills-based certifications and corporate training with a two-person team. The idea was to focus more on the B2B side and to work with companies, thus giving an “advantage” to “talent”.

However, 2012 was a time when education was mostly offline.

Aditya says that when he then connected with industry leaders, the debate was mostly about how to use technology to create an “anytime, anywhere” learning model for them. companies. This led to the creation of the “direct to device” concept.

“It took us two years to build it from scratch. We have built our own learning management system. In addition, the videos had to be streamed on a lower bandwidth, as the internet penetration was much lower. Live online learning or video learning is common today, but back then Skype was the only video service available. So it was a huge task for us because we had to build the entire tech stack, ”he adds.

Once their technology stack was built, around 2014-15, they focused on offering online degree courses as part of the distance learning courses of partner institutes as well as individual certification courses with interactive courses in direct.

“The latest boost to our vision has come with the government’s NEP2020 policy, which has stated that online degrees will now be equivalent to offline degrees and will be applicable to jobs. We have now signed six exclusive contracts with some of the best universities as OPMs, and a few more are in the works, ”said Aditya.

Business growth

Major course categories, which have seen a 50% increase in inquiries over the years, include human resources, marketing, analytics, strategy, leadership, and finance. It also claims to have completed over 17.5 million man-hours of learning on the platform.

Also during the pandemic, the company was able to maintain its growth chart. As his team grew by 50% to over 250 people, the average revenue per enrollment and per course increased by 40%.

“About 60% of our learners belong to level II / III / IV cities, while 40% belong to level I / metro cities. We have seen completion rates above 90 percent. In addition, 92% of people reported a positive impact on their career, ”he adds.

Aditya also claims to have achieved 2X revenue in the past two years and is hoping for a great year ahead.

Challenges

As Direct-to-Device was a new concept at the time, it was difficult to convince universities when Talentedge tried to enter the degree training segment.

Aditya shares that it took them 12 months to integrate their first premium institution. The first turning point came when they joined forces with the IIRT.

“The IITI was the first institute that partnered with us, understood and realized our vision and decided to join hands. We haven’t stopped since then and our long-standing relationships with IIM, MICA, XLRI and now eCornell, UCLA and other premium institutions are a testament to the team and its efforts, ”he adds.

Today, the startup claims to have partnered with more than 30 institutes, with more than 500,000 learners using its service. It is backed by an undisclosed family office and claims to have received support of Rs 200 crore so far. It operates on a typical revenue sharing model, which ranges from 45% to 60% depending on the type of service provided.

“After spending approximately 22 years of my career with companies like Lumis Partners, Bank of America and GE, among others, Talentedge has been more of a personal vision and mission than just a company. I aspire to change the way India learns, enabling learning with purpose and instilling a ‘now you can’ attitude in people, ”he says.

Plan ahead

Aditya believes the opportunity is huge as the government now allows dual degrees and one can penetrate the PIN code level when it comes to internet based services.

Over the next 24 months, the team aims to provide the same quality of teaching in vernacular languages.

“AICTE has already announced some diplomas in the vernacular. The team is now strengthening its technology stack using artificial intelligence, cloud campus, collaborative social learning, content curation, gamified content, assessment, analysis, and more. “, did he declare.

At the same time, the focus is also on strengthening the leadership team, expanding the team in all areas, as well as investing in the brand and technology.

Going forward, he believes the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated things at a rapid rate in edtech, increasing online adoption among teachers, parents and students. While major institutes were already adopting online channels to offer degree courses, state universities and central universities are now also online, which is an accelerator.

While initially the emphasis was on trusting the ecosystem in the concept of direct device access, the challenge now is to run things flawlessly. and maintain control of the unity economy.

“We believe that moving forward with online courses will be a game-changer. As OPM, we aim to position ourselves in the right place at the right time to bring education to the masses, ”says Aditya.