Corporate Training SaaS Platform HandyTrain Secures $1M in Pre-Series A Round

HandyTrain has crossed a lifetime number of 35,000 users—every one of them a paying user—in India itself. Unlike self-learning platforms, users on HandyTrain are paid-for by their companies.

HandyTrain, a mobile SaaS platform for corporate training, recently secured a $1 million investment as a Pre-Series A round. This is in addition to the seed round, also of roughly $1 million, raised about a year ago.

The current round was led by NB Ventures, a $50+ million Dubai-based fund, whose recent Indian investments include participation in the Series A of LetsTransport (co-invested with GMO of Japan) and the $7 million Series A for HealthifyMe.

Says Neelesh Bhatnagar, Owner of Dubai based NB Ventures and strategic investor in HandyTrain “We see a recurring need for HandyTrain in the Middle East, given the transient worker population and the diverse catchment area that the labour and employee workforce comes from. We’ve not just invested but are working together on a road-map for the expansion of HandyTrain through our three-decade old business network in the GCC region”

HandyTrain has crossed a lifetime number of 35,000 users—every one of them a paying user—in India itself. Unlike self-learning platforms, users on HandyTrain are paid-for by their companies.

Clients of HandyTrain providing monthly recurring revenue on a SaaS-basis include premier companies like Renault, TVS Electronics, Logicash, Spree Hotels and Mahindra Insurance Brokers.

“We are growing our user-base roughly 50% quarter-on-quarter since the beginning of this calendar year” says Devadas Krishnan, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of HandyTrain. Dev is a graduate IIM-Ahmedabad and was previously President and COO of PepperTap, besides having an almost decade-plus stint at Microland, Vodafone, G4S and ArcelorMittal.

The users are employees in industries as diverse as Infrastructure (Peak Infra, an arm of Brookfield Asset Management), Fintech (Mobikwik) and Biotechnology (Wings). HandyTrain training is directed at everyone from specialists in corporate offices to blue-collar workers. For instance, Kotak Bank used HandyTrain to roll-out a nationwide deployment for KYC and Anti-money Laundering (AML) training. And on-boarded employees at the rate of over a thousand a week.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the global micro-finance organization Grameen Foundation has used HandyTrain to train 1,200 people in rural India who work for MFI’s supported by Grameen. Similarly, Samunnati Agro-finance is using HandyTrain to train their field agents in Tamil Nadu.

HandyTrain has a distinct advantage in its high on-boarding and course completion rate. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like Coursera, Udemy, Edx sign-up millions of learners (incidentally, India is the second-largest market worldwide for Coursera) but have a staggeringly high course-abandonment-rate, measured at over 92%. This means that less than one out of ten people who sign-up ever complete the course.

“As compared to this, about 99% of every user who signs-up comes on-board and over 95% complete the entire course on HandyTrain” says Ralph da Silva, co-founder and Head of User Engagement. “This translates into a significantly higher propensity for the client to renew their SaaS contracts”

One such company is Dr Lal’s Path Labs, an NSE-listed company with over 1,800 centres, which has been with HandyTrain since its first year. Manoj Garg, Chief Human Resources Officer says “With a sales staff of 500+ across India and Nepal, it was not only expensive but logistically challenging to train them all at once. Thanks to HandyTrain we can now remotely train whoever, wherever on whatever. Be it an induction program or complex diagnostic procedures and practices. Even topics like detailed human anatomy and physiology are delivered in concise yet memorable chunks”

 “It is not only the content that is multi-lingual but also the entire interface of the HandyTrain user App” says co-founder and Head Product, Utkarsh Apoorva “We’ve recently finished a pilot for a Chinese company that provides at-home senior care and employs hundreds of care-givers”

That’s why HandyTrain is actively expanding its offering globally. One channel is through a partnership with Lumina Datamatics, one of the world’s leading digital content companies. Says Vidur V. Bhogilal, Vice Chairman of Lumina Datamatics “We work with 7 of the top 10 global publishers to manage their omni-channel content deployment. And digital content is downstream to training. Which is why, as a natural extension of our client engagement, we’re jointly offering HandyTrain through our 8 sales offices in 3 continents. We’re already in advanced discussions with multiple global clients for double-digit thousand user contracts with HandyTrain”.

HandyTrain’s employee engagement layer is particularly useful for industries that employ young people. Millennials—regardless of their socio-economic background, tend to have low focus and an attention span fragmented across apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook. Training scores of employees across geographies can be a drain on the L&D budget.

Ramkumar Venkateswaran, Head L&D at HomeTown, Future Retail Ltd whose retail sales employees are primarily millennials, says “HandyTrain’s philosophy of bite-sized learning helps reduce the learning curve as well as helps retain learning. The Gurukul program on HandyTrain saves cost in terms of reaching the last mile. Reaching everybody and ensuring their knowledge level is the same is quite important. And HandyTrain helps us achieve that”. HomeTown has also been with HandyTrain since its inception and has unfailingly renewed their SaaS contract.

HandyTrain was born at Prototyze, the Goa-based incubator that has launched multiple ventures that have collectively raised over $12 million in investment in the past year itself. These include digital lending company Seynse, mfitness company Mobiefit and IoT plus SaaS platform for transportation TempoGO.

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HandyTrain Pre-series A round

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