Present education system doesn’t produce skilled graduates, who could be of immediate use for corporates. Most people are aware of this drawback in the education system, but apparently, no one is ready to take the initiative. But Aatash Shah thinks differently. With a small team, he is set to make a difference through his startup Edvancer Eduventures.
Edvancer Eduventures is an online platform that provides university graduates skill & career oriented training in Data Science vertical. Despite initial hurdles, Edvancer has gained a good traction & success in past couple of years. Aatash is a post graduate from IIM, Lucknow and has worked at corporates like ICICI bank, Lehman Brothers & Nomura. Together with his small team and corporate experience, he is set to take his startup to new heights.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Edvancer provides online training courses to up-skill and re-skill people who are looking to start their career or make a career shift. Currently, it is focused on the fast growing vertical of Data Science where it provides a number of online courses which cover the length and breadth of this vertical. It offers short-term courses in Data Science, Business Analytics, Hadoop, SAS, Python, and SQL programming to equip the graduates and working professionals for the demands of the Data Science industry. Its courses are offered through live instructor led online classes or through a self-paced, video based method of learning.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Large parts of the global education system are not able to keep pace with the changing demands of industry led by rapid changes in technology. It produces graduates but without the skills necessary to contribute in the workplace. Thus, these graduates require further training.
I have seen many fresh graduates enter the workplace with almost no clue of what they need to do. Consequently, companies have to put them in training for 6 months while also paying them.
At Edvancer, we want to solve this problem by making an intervention in the education system and evolving a new paradigm of learning which is focused on the needs of the industry and uses technology to help the aspirants learn with ease.
Edvancer was started with the aim of providing career and skill oriented online courses to graduates and post-graduates, many of whom pass out of universities with a degree but no real skills. We provide these courses to those who want to re-skill or up-skill themselves and change their career paths. We are the ones who bridge the gap between the outdated theoretical curricula taught by the universities and the cutting-edge, practical skills that employers need. We provide these courses and training online so that anyone from anywhere can learn anytime. Our vision is to be the online skills University for the World.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Learning online is still fairly new around the world and initially we faced resistance regarding the same. We had to undertake counseling and offer free classes initially so that people could see that learning online was as good and as comfortable as it is offline and in many cases even better. Teaching online was also something new for our industry experts and hence we had to provide them good amount of training in how to teach online.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
The business has been bootstrapped right from the start as we first wanted to prove the viability of the model and scale to a certain level before looking for external funding. We also wanted to maintain the focus on the business rather than on looking for funds. The business has been generating substantial revenue and cash-flows over the last 2 years for us to grow. We are open to external investors now as we are looking to expand our course offerings into various other verticals and are targeting a 10x growth in next 2 years.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We do not believe in hiring quickly just to fill up open positions. Even though it may take time we want to ensure that we are hiring the right individual for the specific role. We ensure that the individuals, who are interviewing with us, know and understand what the role demands and what working in a start-up environment requires. Also we put them through rigorous interviewing and tasks to ensure that they are fully capable for the rigors of working in a start-up. At the same time, people want to feel happy and proud about the work they do and enjoy it. Hence, giving them responsibilities, the freedom to take decisions and acknowledging their achievements is important to retain them.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Perseverance, dedication & passion are the most important ingredients to succeed.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Slack for remaining connected with your team from anywhere, Wunderlist for keeping a track on tasks and things to do, Google analytics for almost everything related to our digital marketing activities.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
As an entrepreneur I find myself juggling numerous things at the same time. To make sure that all those reach their logical conclusion, it is important to prioritize and chart out the day so that at the end of the day you have achieved what you targeted in a certain set amount of time.
Answer in less than 50 words
Perseverance, if you believe you are on the right track.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Trying to be perfect in everything slows you down.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
It is good to dream and have ideas but to achieve something you have to put your dreams and ideas into action and work hard on them.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We will expand the number of online courses within the data science vertical and also expand into various other domains like cyber security, information security, web & app development, digital marketing, financial and accounting courses, supply chain management etc. We are targeting a 10x growth in the next 2 years.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Connect with more people and be of help to them. They will then be of help to you.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison