Simplilearn When we talk about ed-tech resources, professional certification and online training are bound to be an integral part of that discussion. In fact, during the early years of the previous decade, a realization had surrounded the business community that IT skills live quite a brief “shelf life.” The latest transformations kept surfacing. A burgeoning force of the latest computing technologies, programming languages, and digital paradigms needed to be kept up with to maintain the pace of growth.
This created a gap in the scenario. There was a booming demand for a skilled workforce but a huge question mark loomed over the availability of that workforce. The corporate companies realized that. They had already begun to prioritize technologies like social, automation, analytics, mobility, cloud, etc, but the dire scarcity for the niche and specialized technological skills became the most important need of the time.
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Out of this need emerged an edutech startup that changed the face of professional certification. An alumnus of IIT, Krishna Kumar came up with a startup edtech called Simplilearn. As the moniker implies, Simplilearn aimed to provide simplified learning and online training for courses like Digital Marketing, Project Management, Cloud Computing, Software Development, Data Science, IT, and a plethora of different emerging needs of the business community.
Founding members and Year of Establishment
Established in 2010, the edtech company offers a mixed model of an online training program by catering to the rising need for professional certification. Presently, Simplilearn’s focus is on training professionals who are looking to enhance their skills.
SimpliLearn.com is currently led by Krishna, and his Management team consists of Michael Stebbins as the Chief Innovation Officer, Kashyap Dalal as the Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Jitendra Kumar as the Chief Technology Officer, Gerald Jaideep as Chief Operating Officer, and Ganesh Subramanian as the Chief Financial Officer.
Simplilearn’s Founding Story
After accomplishing his Bachelors in Electronics and Communication from the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, in 1999, Krishna Kumar joined Infosys as a Software Engineer. He quit his job within a year so he could start his first entrepreneurial venture. He established TechUnified, which was a product and software services company, in the year 2000, alongside three of his friends who held a share of 25% each and didn’t have any investors. It had been a trial-&-error phase for them and initiated as a garage startup. The Global delivery of TechUnified’s Products and Services forayed into first-class products in the areas like Mobile Banking, Voice Banking, and Telecom Self Care among many others. The successful venture managed to develop a customer base that consisted of the fortune 500 Banks and Telecoms. The year that they were acquired by Org informatics Ltd, a publicly listed company, in 2007 for about Rs. 49 crores, was the year when they were clocking annual revenue of around Rs. 18 crores with 7 crores worth of profit.
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After this, Kumar began writing a blog in 2009 which was called ‘Simplilearn’. He had his ideas on project management and related areas on this WordPress blog on a part-time basis and had also created roughly 1012 hours of video and free training for about 3000 people organically, that is without any marketing.
Although he mostly blogged regarding his experiences, alongside advising on career and project management, eventually, he had figured that his blog carried the tremendous potential to transform into an online business that can train professionals. By the end of 2009, over 3,000 executives in 100+ countries had taken online Project Management Professional (PMP) training from Krishna on the Simplilearn platform. He also started an online recruitment marketplace called Zyoin in May 2009.
The efforts and hard work of Krishna, the founder turned Simplilearn completely. It was soon recognised as an online school for new-age skills and requirements for professional certifications. A place where learners can upskill themselves but also obtain industry certifications to prove it, in any industry or further college as experiences. The blended-learning spectrum and model gave the opportunity of learning online, thus giving access to live instructors and tutors of both real and virtual worlds of classrooms and hands-on experience for the learning labs.
SimpliLearn has now become one of the best professional certification training companies possessing a firm global presence that has trained over 500,000+ professionals across more than 150+ countries.
The journey of Simplilearn over the years and its Investments and fundings
At the time of its establishment in 2010, Simplilearn had an initial investment of Rs 2-3 crore. Two years later, it raised around $3 million in Series A funding round from Helion Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital in March 2012. Then the Indo-US Venture Partners popularly known as Kalaari Capital invested in the teaching approaches and business model for the ed-tech firm. In 2 years, over 20,000 professionals have been trained across 50 countries and thus the company has managed to have a growth rate of 400%.
After a year, Helion and Kalaari gave an additional $7 million in Series B funding to this edutech startup. In April 2015, it raised $15 million in Series C round from USA-based tech investor Mayfield Fund and existing investors Kalaari Capital and Helion Venture Partners. Then the ed-tech company took over Market Motive which is a Silicon Valley-based solution. It is a digital marketing training, company and regulator, which was founded in 2007 by Michael Stebbins, John Marshall, and Avinash Kaushik. They continued the work of Simplilearn, parallelly and soon Michael Stebbins was handed over the position of Chief Innovation Officer for SimpliLearn.
Thus Simplilearn expanded and was recognised in foreign markets especially in the US. Moreover, Simplilearn had become the first Indian startup to have acquired an established American company. Soon after a major event like this turned the fortune and Market Motive, Simplilearn shifted the USA based headquarters from Scotts Valley, California, to San Francisco. This attracted better talent, workforce and thus investors who can thereafter support the learning needs. These were made for the requirements of enterprises and universities.
Over time, Simplilearn has also managed to procure some of the top corporate clients such as HP Bulgaria, Vodacom in Africa, Avaya, Pepsi in North America, Wipro India & TCS Europe, the Emaar Group from Saudi Arabia, etc.
In 2018 and 2019, Simplilearn won Stevie awards for Customer Service excellence and innovation, News Corp VCCircle Award for Education Company of the Year, and AEGIS Graham Bell Award for Innovation in EdTech.
The total number of learners in 2018 for Simplilearn crossed the one million mark, which was double from the previous year. In 2019, a partnership was established between the ed-tech giant Simplilearn and IBM for data science and artificial intelligence/machine learning, training and knowledge sharing. The partnership was a blended learning model with each other’s expert and forte aspects. The major factor promoting this partnership was Simplilearns’s new venture with Purdue University to offer post-graduate programs in data science and AI in their trademark blended learning model. The provision for graduating students getting a certificate in the field of study and gaining alumni privilege from the world recognised Purdue University.
More recently, they tied up with analytics software maker Tableau and their partnership is aimed at creating 200,000 data scientists in the country, through instructor-led training, e-learning, and industry projects. Currently, 75,000+ professionals across the globe are associated and get regular up-gradation in skills. The company is close to Rs 100 crore in FY13-14, according to the stats.
Simplilearn positions in the 50 most influential education brands in the world with 8th position outpacing Wharton University, Harvard Business School, New York University, University of Phoenix, etc. Today, the ed-tech enterprise has 300 short-term courses of business, technology, marketing, and creative domains, which provides learning and training to approx 20,000 professionals every month. The rough data for revenues and earnings is around and roughly $2.5 million per month.
Improvements over the year
In March 2011, the Bengaluru-based edtech startup added another five categories, namely IT Service Management, IT Security Management, Quality Management, and Certifications in Technology and Financial Management in their curriculum. In 2015, this Indian edtech startup took its learning ecosystem online completely. This marked an online learning revolution, in a developing nation like India. The business community saw the differentiation between Simplilearn’s high engagement and high-touch approach in comparison to that of other MOOCs (Massively Online Open Courses). Thus a new chapter in the realm of edtech companies of India had begun.
In 2016, Simplilearn changed its strategy and began investing in strengthening its brand visibility across multiple platforms. This was a turning point in the entire business. Soon the promotions and advertisement started on TV and the first television commercial by any EdTech startup in Indian mark was achieved. Simultaneously, the endorsements on other mediums were also on point like in radio and other media output channels. Irfaan Khan was appointed as the brand ambassador and thus Simplilearn garnered attention and brand visibility.
The bold move to move its learning model completely online had accelerated Simplilearn’s growth rate and then that growth was complemented by the expansion into the US at the same time increasing the number of learners through enterprise customers.
The Significance of Simplilearn and what makes it different
It’s not a myth that Education has been, still is, and always will be one of the most trending sectors all the time, and with the rise of the new edtech companies and online education industry, it is bound to get even more prominent.
Acknowledging this growth in edtech companies, the corporate has also seen to be jumping onto the bandwagon. The Indian IT administrations area is going through a sharp shift joined with a huge change, in the manner in which business is done, essentially because of numerous customers requesting various types of ranges of abilities when contrasted with the past. It has been seen that online learning has figured out how to eliminate different limitations and bottlenecks like the actual presence of an educator or student in a study hall, or beside, their accessibility at a given time. Online is turning into the favoured method of learning over disconnected instruction. On account of the comfort and cost-adequacy, a virtual homeroom has additionally seen to be fostering an expanding pattern among the majority. This is chiefly as to advanced education and re-skilling.
At the same time, Globalization and the rising desire to remain competitive have driven corporate professionals to look up for certification courses to enhance their skills and upgrade their employment prospects. This is an obvious sign that classroom learning is very nearly turning into a matter of the past, while the online edtech sector is setting a base to turn into the eventual fate of the edtech business.
This need has prompted the dramatic ascent of different expert certificate training organizations, and gaining by a similar chance, SimpliLearn, with its own USP’s is focusing on this market too. Simplilearn’s online training courses in cybersecurity are available to corporate learners and career seekers worldwide. Other than its unique business model, SimpliLearn uses various strategies to strengthen its base.
“Simplilearn is not only proud to be a part of this winning circle, but also proud to contribute to the world of information security through our online training,” said Krishna Kumar, Founder, and CEO of Simplilearn. “For example, our online Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) course has already helped more than 1,800 learners get certified in this key program launched by the EC-Council.”
This edtech company has three main categories that its modules are divided into. Some of the offerings include Business Courses consisting of Project Management, Big Data and Analytics, Digital Marketing, Agile, and Scrum Certification, IT Service and Architecture, Quality Management, Finance Management, and Business Productivity Tools; Technology Courses which includes Project Management, Big Data and Analytics, Agile and Scrum Certification, IT Service and Architecture, Quality Management, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing, IT Hardware and Networking, IT Security Management, Design & Multimedia, Web App and Programming, OS and Databases, etc; Courses by Vendor including Amazon Web Services, CompTIA, AXELOS, PMI, The Open Group, ISACA, ISC2, CISCO, Exin, Adobe, Oracle, Microsoft, etc; along with a lot of Free Resources like Articles, Webinars, Videos, eBooks, SimpliLearn Community, etc. To ensure high quality, SimpliLearn also seeks reviews from students/learners about the instructors.
This act of prioritizing the focus on success ratio instead of numbers is what makes Simplilearn a significant startup edtech in education.
Simplilearn focuses on developing, upgrading and incorporating skills and courses that are required in today’s world, according to market trends and high demand. Like the digital world, Cyber Security, computer application and coding languages. The training module includes self-paced online learning, mentoring via instructor-led live virtual sessions and regular daily classes, practical knowledge with hands-on projects, and 24/7 accessibility.
The Goal of Simplilearn
The mission is to transform lives by making them better, in all senses known by empowering and educating the potential intellects with skills. Also indulging in the digitalizing manoeuvres and thus shaping this economy has been a diligent point for a ten years journey. The target of these is to properly situate themselves as a medium to assist people with changing their vocation through certificates or a confirmation objective, and to convey a message of the advantages of getting prepared and ensured in different expert fields also.
To accomplish and keep up that, SimpliLearn has banded together with a Bangalore-based publicizing office called – Propaganda to construct their image all around the world – on the web and disconnected. They would be working with them on outside and interior marking on a public scale to make SimpliLearn the main brand in the business.
“What started ten years ago as a venture to share ‘my learning’ has become a global educating force today. We inspired and introduced a new paradigm of reskilling and upskilling, helping individuals transform their careers into successful and current ones. – Krishna Kumar.
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