Someone Living In A Remote Part Of The Country Where Education Infrastructure Is Not Fully Developed Can Learn Data Science While Sitting In His/Her Home: Diwakar Chittora, Intellipaat

In an exclusive interaction with BW Businessworld, Diwakar Chittora, Founder & CEO, IntelliPaat talks about the company and more.

IntelliPaat is an online professional training start-up with 6 lakh learners. In an interaction with BW Businessworld, Diwakar Chittora, Founder & CEO, IntelliPaat, talks about the firm and current scenarios in the edtech segment.

How did you start your journey with the edtech?

In 2011, I Diwakar Chittora and Shilpi Jain wanted to skill ourselves on big data and Hadoop. We found there were no institutes that were readily providing training on these technologies. Furthermore, at 1.5 lakhs, the amount they were charging for training was prohibitively high. The only way professionals could immediately do these courses was by travelling either to Singapore or the US for training. 

We had a budget of 30K to invest in learning these new technologies. We started to search the web for ways to learn these technologies. We found an expert who said he would teach us if we came with a batch. This seemed like an attractive idea. Hence we decided to have a batch that consisted entirely of our friends. We planned to contribute equally to the cost of the program. When we announced the batch on Linkedin and sent emails to friends alerting them about the course, we found ten people wanted to join. Afterwards, four more people wished to enrol in the class. Hence Shilpi and I learned free of cost because so many people wanted to do the course. 

We had identified a problem statement. Within just a week, so many people expressed interest in the course. After three months, Ericsson approached us on LinkedIn to train their employees. We trained nearly 200 of their workers on big data and Hadoop in six months.    

Hence we learned that companies also had the same problem statement professionals had. Like professionals, they also needed their employee to be trained. This understanding led us to form Intellipaat, a company that could provide high-quality training at an affordable price. 

Is there something you would like to change in the field of edtech or our current educational system in general?

When we started Intellipaat, we were driven by the vision to provide high-quality education at a nominal price using technology. We have not wavered from this vision. Today Intellipaat is widely recognised as an industry leader that offers high-quality education at a fraction of the price charged by other learning platforms. On Intellipaat’s platform, data scientists working in the US with leading companies like Microsoft or Google can train people living in tier 2 Indian cities on data science. Hence someone living in a remote part of the country where the education infrastructure is not fully developed can learn data science while sitting in his or her home. We are changing the edtech field because we help professionals to learn from top subject matter experts from Industry working with top companies like Google and Microsoft, etc. Our courses are charged at a very nominal price between Rs. 20,000- 30,000. We are surmounting geographical barriers by helping people learn regardless of where they live. 

Also, we are helping people from different domains who have experience in various industries, different exposures to technology, and have worked for a considerable number of years, learn from each other during our sessions. In Intellipaat sessions, students with diverse experiences ask unique questions giving everyone a broader understanding. In such mixed batches, students learn from each other and understand useful cases. 

What are your goals for 2020? How much do you expect to grow during this period of time?

Our goal for 2020 is to help our learners become even more employable. We want to ensure everyone who undergoes training with Intellipaat can get into their dream job. Our goal is to help students reach the objective they wanted when they enrolled with Intellipaat. Such purposes may include working in a new role in a new company or being assigned greater responsibility in an existing company. In this year, we want to make sure everyone who joins Intellipaat because he or she wants to change jobs, does so. 

What is remarkable about our growth journey is that we have been thriving despite being bootstrapped. We have been growing at an annual rate of 100% every year. This year will be no exception.

How do you wish to utilise your recent funding?

We remain a bootstrapped company. When we receive funding, we will use it to penetrate deeper into existing markets. We expect to reach tier 2 cities in India, the United States, and other regions. Also, we expect to use funds to launch courses in new categories. Also, we anticipate using funds to develop technologies that improve existing products. We hope to use data science and AI to create products that facilitate greater interactivity.

What drives you to continually advance your startup? What was your motive behind this huge amount of funding?

Our passion drives us to advance our startup continually. We believe we can help millions of learners who want to up-skill, grow professionally, and be at a higher pay scale than they are now. Today, when our students achieve these goals, it gives us a great deal of satisfaction which makes us even more passionate about what we do.

We seek funding because we understand the value of time. Time spent can never be earned back. We know that this is the right time to spread in the market. Our product is well known, and our organisation is scaling up. Using additional funding, we expect to reach more regions. We believe this is the right time to expand to more areas, including tier 2 and tier 3 towns. 

To all the startups struggling in edtech, what message would you like to give them?

I would like to tell others in the edtech space that they should never give up and always believe in themselves. Being determined and believing in myself has served me well. It won’t all be smooth sailing; there will be some rough patches. However, tough times will be followed by happy times because hard work during adversity always pays off. Every business person in the edtech space should keep working hard during the tough times because they’re invariably followed by sweet times.

How do you think edtech is better than the traditional way of education? What changes has the edtech industry seen in the past 5 years?

Firstly, I would like to say that the edtech industry has many advantages over the traditional education industry. One such benefit has been brought to the fore during the current pandemic; today, when schools, colleges, and universities are closed, millions are learning online. This transformation has been made possible by edtech. Furthermore, there is no end in sight to the current pandemic. Even the experts don't know how long it will take to bring the epidemic under control. Amidst such considerable uncertainty, edtech lends surety to millions of students.

Today schools and colleges are holding lectures online. Even convocations are happening online. The future of edtech is bright, not just because of the new normal, but also because the technology holds so much promise. People have understood that technology can be used to leverage education. The pandemic has helped tap the potential of technology to learning. Even those who fervently believed that real learning could only happen in classrooms led by teachers stand corrected. Everyone has come to realise that online, students interact as much with each other and teachers as they do in traditional classes. Hence the popularity of online education has never been higher.

Over the past five years, there has been a tremendous change in the edtech industry. Global players are disseminating courses from universities to students across the world. There has also been a surge in the number of K12 edtech players. New edtech players are imparting lessons to children who are studying in school. During the past few years, Intellipaat has taught more than 6 lakh students in 55 countries. Students who join Intellipaat are learning the latest technologies at a nominal price. There is a shift underway from a classroom-based learning model.

What is the unique appeal of Intellipaat? How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

What makes Intellipaat so unique is that we go an extra mile to fulfil the objective of our learners. Students’ may enrol in a course because they want to change their job or because they want to be promoted in their current company. Our courses are designed with this understanding in mind. 

Someone having no technical background can join our courses and master advanced concepts. Someone with a sophisticated understanding of advanced concepts will also learn a great deal in our classes. We also make sure that every student who enrols in our programs becomes employable. After completing their course, Intellipaat’slearnershave skills equivalent to that of a professional with six months of relevant industry experience. 

Our courses come with a lot of hands-on exercises, project work, and case studies as well as we conduct a mock interview to provide them with the exposure of real-world and they are well prepared before getting into interview calls with their dream companies.

On Intellipaat, every course is designed to make students employable and is delivered by subject matter experts. We also offer dedicated 24 hours of support to students. Our learners are professionals working in the industry and many of them have irregular hours. Professionals who log into Intellipaat’s classes in the middle of the night will still find a dedicated support infrastructure to help them if they need it. Finally, unlike other platforms, we ensure every learner who studies with Intellipaat get into their dream job.

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