AcadGild Seeks to Empower Its Students to Advance Their Education and Careers
In just over a year, AcadGild has successfully trained over 5,000 students worldwide through its professional certification training courses. AcadGild is promoted by K Ganesh and Meena Ganesh's entrepreneurial platform Growth Story.
AcadGild's Founders - Vikalp Jain and Vinod Dham
AcadGild addresses the severe shortage of skilled and employable professionals. Its founders believe that higher education is a basic human right, and thus it is essential to create an ecosystem for skill development, where people can learn from mentors and each other. The company, as a leading provider of a suite of online technical and business courses, seeks to empower its students to advance their education and careers.
In an interaction with Sujata Sangwan of BWDisrupt, Vikalp Jain, President and Co-Founder, AcadGild, shares journey of his venture.
When and how was Acadgild initiated? Give details regarding the founding date, founders names and a detailed description of the company.
Acadgild is professional training online bootcamp, which aims to bring accessible, affordable, engaging, and highly effective quality education to the world. It was co-founded by IIT Mumbai alumni Vikalp Jain and serial entrepreneur Vinod Dham (also known as the Father of Pentium) in early 2015. AcadGild is promoted by K. Ganesh and Meena Ganesh's entrepreneurial platform Growth Story.
Acadgild emphasises on “learning by doing”, rather than by reading, listening or watching videos. The company's mission is to teach hands-on, job ready software programming and business skills, globally, in small batches of 8 to 10 to both students and working professionals.
All AcadGild courses are delivered live, online, by expert mentors who are carefully handpicked from leading companies like Oracle, Cognizant, Accenture, Infosys, BookMyShow, etc. All our mentors have more than five years of relevant industry experience.
Unique or key feature of Acadgild, details of courses and what are the challenges that it faces? How is Acadgild different from its competitors?
AcadGild started off with its flagship program - Android Development. Within three months of gaining popularity, it launched other courses like - Full Stack, Big Data, Front End Web Development, Business Analytics, Digital Marketing, Machine Learning with R, Cloud Computing, Spark, Core Java, etc. In June 2015, Acadgild introduced online programming courses for children in the age group of 8 to 17. In 2016, Acadgild added more coding courses for children - Android Development, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Python, Robotics and Unity 2D. It has also recently introduced job-guaranteed courses for Android and Front-End. After training thousands of candidates in India, in June 2016, Acadgild launched its coding classes in the USA.
Key USPs of AcadGild
· 24X7 Support- AcadGild offers support and mentorship as per the convenience of the students anytime and accessible from anywhere.
· Expert Mentorship- AcadGild’s faculty of mentors and teachers, are passionate and accomplished individuals who have dedicated their lives to sharing their in-depth knowledge with students and individuals. They belong to leading companies like Oracle, Cognizant, Accenture, Infosys, BookMyShow, etc. Each of them comes with more than five years of relevant industry experience.
· Helping students become job ready- Personalized training from industry experts boost the confidence of students, hones their skill sets and enables them to manage time efficiently, thus making them job ready.
· Competitive Price point: While there may be existing online courses which provide the same courses, AcadGild’s courses are content-rich, our benchmarks and facilities are of the highest standards. Coupled with this is the round-the-clock support we provide. All of this comes at a price point that provides unmatched value for money. Platforms charge 2x-3x more than what AcadGild does for courses but cannot rival us for the depth and rigour.
· Student Focus- The courses offered initially help students master the basics. As they progress further towards completion, the aim is to transform students into the creators of tomorrow. All lessons at AcadGild are personalized to suit the needs of students. Upon completion of the course, a sense of gratification and confidence is intended to be inculcated in the students. Currently there are three certificates given out – Platinum (85% and above), Gold (75% and above), and Silver (65% and above).
· Individual Attention and Customization - The course plan is customized as per an individual's needs, learning capacity, problems and planning potential. The student gets undivided attention during the class due to small batches of 8-10 and 1-on-1 teaching modules.
· Flexibility, quality and engagement- Virtual classrooms, instructor-led, one-on-one sessions, round the clock support and flexible timings are among the other USPs of AcadGild.
· Global presence: About 20% of AcadGild’s 700 active participants come from the US at the moment.
Our key challenges are broadly across three fronts: Ensuring we are able to convey to prospective students what makes us different in a very tangible way; and recruiting high-quality mentors as well as top talent for the company.
What is the funding status and monetization model along with the traction details?
In just over a year, AcadGild has successfully trained over 5,000 students worldwide through its professional certification training courses. AcadGild is promoted by K Ganesh and Meena Ganesh's entrepreneurial platform Growth Story. The EdTech start-up has raised more than $2 million funding so far from marquee investors including Jupiter Capital, Zodius, and Kris Gopalakrishnan, former CEO and co-founder of Infosys.
AcadGild works on a subscription-based model. The course fees range from INR 15,000 - INR 70,000 for the more intensive courses, e.g. the Job-Guarantee courses. All AcadGild customers are paid for, and the mentors get paid for the hours they put in on a per-hour basis. We are profitable at a unit economics level and are growing by about 30% on a month on month basis.
Details of the marketing plan, market size & opportunity
Despite the fact that over 15 lakh students graduate from engineering institutes in India and 3 lakh from management institutes every year, there still exists a severe shortage of skilled and employable professionals in the country.
According to Aspiring Minds National Employability Report, which is based on a study of more than 1,50,000 engineering students who graduated in 2015 from over 650 colleges in India, 80% of them are unemployable.
The fact that most recent graduates are considered less than industry-ready by corporates, is where AcadGild comes in.
Expert mentors from leading companies deliver all our courses, and we lay specific emphasis on “learning by doing”, rather than on reading, listening or watching videos. Our small batch sizes and round the clock available support help students advance their skills and make them job-ready.
With an aim to expand our reach and after seeing the massive potential that skill education has in India, we recently entered into an exclusive, multi-year partnership with IL&FS Skills Development Corporation (IL&FS Skills) to offer technology and business-oriented courses to more than two lakh Indian students by 2019. IL&FS Skills is promoted by IL&FS Education and Technology Services Limited (IL&FS Education), the social infrastructure arm of IL&FS Group, in partnership with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
The partnership enables IL&FS Skills to expand beyond its current vocational and skill-based training programs, to technologically advanced, professional courses like Android Developer, Big Data & Digital Marketing conducted by us at AcadGild. This move helps us expand the reach of our courses through more than 100 IL&FS centres across the country.
Future plans of the company
While keeping a core focus on IT and business related areas, we aim to be a market leader in the boot camp professional training course vertical in the coming five years. We have also started working with Tier 1 IT services companies on skill-based assessment of their employees as well as for recruitment-related solutions. As design is an integral part of technology, we will also be soon launching UI/UX-centric courses.
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