Xcelerator Aims to Revamp Education System by Training Graduates to be Truly Worthy of a Job
The education system is hampered by lack of good professors, redundant curriculum teaching outdated content, giving rise to graduates insufficiently skilled for jobs in this fast paced digital age.
The name, Xcelerator, is inspired by Reid Hoffman’s ‘startup of you’. The days of working for a company for all your life are gone - every student entering the workforce now will be an entrepreneur in their own right. “The way a startup goes through an accelerator program to instate discipline and speed up their time to market, we have created a career accelerator platform for students” says Founder, Aniruddha Kannal.
Xcelerator is a collaborative learning community bringing together academia and industry to help students get real world industry exposure. For the former VP of engineering for Deloitte’s life sciences and healthcare product portfolio, this becomes his second entrepreneurial venture. The first one was a healthcare analytics start-up called Ayatana.
“The education industry has been focused on creating physical infrastructure over the last two decades, we now have a large number of colleges but not enough education. There’s an inability to recruit good professors, lack of access to industry experts, stagnant curriculum and content, the list goes on. By the time students studying a hot skill graduate, the skill won’t be hot anymore! A rapidly changing world is putting the focus on how we learn rather than what we learn. How rapidly can we learn, unlearn, adapt, and re-skill? Xcelerator wants to address various aspects of any learning intervention to address the problem of relevance - whether it be content, method, outcomes, or industry partnerships,” explains Aniruddha about what problem he aims to solve.
The venture started in 2015 as industry partnered MTech programs. Since then the company has pivoted to create the platform that you see today. The Xcelerator platform went live in February 2017. “The platform is helping students direct their learning in a more concerted way towards their career goals and helping professors and institutions get more industry aligned. We have delivered more than 200,000 hours of project based learning till date,” says Aniruddha.
For this startup based in Bengaluru, building and sustaining a high performing team has been the biggest challenge, according to Aniruddha. “Finding smart people is not difficult but finding smart people that are driven by a common set of values and committed to solving the same problem is extremely difficult. We have witnessed our fair share of attrition before we settled into the current team about a year ago. There’s no alternative to tapping ones networks and meeting hundreds of people to evangelize your ideas over coffee”.
The advantages of being in Bengaluru are also the disadvantages as the strong startup culture and access to competent resources, would also mean an overdose of startup culture and poaching of employees.
About how they earn their bread and butter Aniruddha said, “We have three revenue streams - colleges and universities pay us a subscription for the platform; students pay us a fee for learning paths, projects, and quests they take on the platform; and companies pay us for conducting events, and trainings for new hires”.
Xcelerator primarily serves in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. They claim more than 300 companies on the platform while adding 30-50 more a monthly. Some noteworthy companies are Amazon, ACT broadband, and HP.
“These companies host anywhere from 2500 to 5000 jobs on the platform at any given time and are directly tagged to interventions on the platform,” says Aniruddha.
About 30 institutions are actively using the platform on a variety of use cases ranging from recruitment, skill augmentation, to core delivery. Notable institutions include VTU, DY Patil and REVA.
Barely has the potential of the education market been scratched according to Aniruddha. “We are enabling a $15 billion market expected to be grow exponentially over the next decade. The GER is in the high 20s; the government and private sectors are working hard to take it beyond 30 percent. The industry on the other hand is struggling to find hirable talent.
Xcelerator offers a solution to the institutions that want to modernize their delivery methods, want to move to outcomes based delivery, and project based learning”.
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