The COVID-19 pandemic has helped the edtech sector grow exponentially and also pushing the demand for upskilling in India.
According to a McKinsey Global Survey on future workforce needs, nearly nine in 10 executives and managers revealed that their organisations either face skill gaps already or expect gaps to develop within the next five years.
Ahmedabad-based upskilling startup Academix — founded by Suraj Singh, Kalpit Shah, and Shreya Nallapaneni in January 2020 — is trying to fix this problem by helping students develop technical, management, and communication skills.
[Image Credit: Academix]
According to Suraj, he identified a gap in skilling as soon as he joined his engineering college in 2018.
“I heard many seniors complaining about the placement opportunities. The main problem was not the lack of opportunity but the gap in the skill set. Students themselves were not realising that they needed to upskill themselves apart from their regular education to succeed in jobs,” he tells YourStory.
Help students develop required skills
Academix offers courses on management, communication, new-age technologies, designing, Microsoft skills, digital marketing, among others.
“We conduct live classes, workshops, etc. to provide analytical, commercial viability, and technical understanding courses to the students. We are working with companies and corporates to understand the required skills and are developing programmes accordingly,” says Suraj.
While the startup mainly targets engineering students to further help them enhance their technical skills, the founder adds that the startup is open to students from other fields as well.
“We conducted a pilot for around eight months to understand the customer behaviour and feedback. We clocked in a revenue of Rs 50,000 during our pilot,” he adds.
The main idea behind Academix is to help students understand the skills they need for an upcoming job. According to him, once they realise that, they will themselves work hard to learn it.
Due to this reason, the startup’s major focus is to make students aware of the need for upskilling.
Suraj also reveals that the startup is currently developing courses and workshops on skills to understand new-age technologies such as IoT, blockchain, etc.
“We will provide a basic overview about the needed skills via live courses and workshops. Post this, we connect them with vendors offering in-depth courses for further deep learning,” he explains.
[Illustration: YS Design]
Business and more
The GUSEC-incubated startup, which is also a part of Wadhwani Foundation’s NEN NextGen programme, charges students for participating in the workshops and live classes. The programmes, which can run up to six weeks, cost Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 per student.
Apart from this, it also charges the vendors a commission per-student basis for connecting them with the students.
Suraj reveals that the bootstrapped startup has conducted seven programmes to date that have been attended by over 1,000 students. At the moment, Academix has five teachers/instructors on board.
“We received an initial grant of Rs 2 lakh from Gujarat government. Now, we are looking to raise our first round of funding to scale up and develop more courses,” he adds.
There are several players working in the upskilling segment, such as Coursera, DALHAM Learning, BridgeLabz, and InterviewLabs.
Speaking about future plans, Suraj revealed that the startup is working on an internship portal to connect students with the companies. Going forward, it also plans to onboard more teachers and instructors.