Bengaluru-based edtech startup InterviewBit on Tuesday (January 28) announced that it has raised $20 Mn in Series A funding round. The investment has been led by Sequoia India and Tiger Global with participation from Global Founders Capital among others.
The funds will be used to scale up enrollment i.e add more users and launch in new markets, while also investing in curriculum development and the live teaching product to enhance the end-to-end learning experience for students and teachers.
Founded in 2014 by Anshuman Singh and Abhimanyu Saxena, InterviewBit offers an advanced online computer science programmes for college graduates and young professional software engineers. The company recently renamed its InterviewBit Academy course to Scaler Academy.
Anshuman Singh, cofounder, InterviewBit said, “Scaler Academy was incubated earlier this year inside InterviewBit to help young professionals and students learn advanced programming skills. Within a short period of time, it has made a huge impact on the capabilities of our students, who spend, on average 4-5 hours/day on our online and live learning platform.”
The company said that the Scaler programme was over-subscribed after receiving over 200K applications in the nine months since launch in April 2019. InterviewBit was part of cohort 1 of Sequoia’s early-stage accelerator, Surge.
InterviewBit: 600 Companies, 500 Mentors And 400 Students
Speaking to Inc42, Abhimanyu Saxena of InterviewBit said that the company’s year-long programme is divided into a six-month online classroom and six months of connecting with companies to crack interviews. He explained that to select students from thousands of applications, the company conducts an entry-level online test and then a video interview.
Saxena said almost 90% of the applicants are unable to clear level 1 of online test. With the shortlisted candidates, InterviewBit enables mentorship and guidance online. It tries to manage 4:1 mentee to mentor ratio to ensure equal attention to the selected candidates.
“We are excited to invest in and partner with Interviewbit. We believe the company helps students learn skills that can enable them to achieve greater professional success,” Scott Shleifer, Partner at Tiger Global.
Having focused on fresh engineering graduates, InterviewBit’s January 2020 course was for experienced engineers and currently has 400 students. Saxena told us that over 2,000 students have enrolled in the Scaler programme. Among those who have already graduated, several hundred software engineers have been placed at top tech companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung, among others.
“There is a huge global scarcity of high-quality software talent, and we have experienced it firsthand across the portfolio. As a result, we were very excited about Anshuman and Abhimanyu’s vision to build an advanced online computer science program,” said Shailendra Singh, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore.
The company has multiple models for payments for learners and has also tied up with NBFCs as well to enable financing and loans, which will be cancelled if the applicant does not get a job. Further, the company charges 15% of the applicant’s salary for the next two years, from when he/she gets the job. However, this will be only if the applicant has got either the pre-decided package or over and above it.
Indian Edtech Space: Reskilling Engineers
Only a fraction of the 1.5 Mn engineering graduates who graduate in India every year come from top engineering colleges such as IITs. While the quality of engineering education in India is debatable, the curriculum is certainly not in keeping with the latest technologies. Upskilling students is a major challenge for Indian companies and training is often a difficult and cost-intensive task.
In the past few years, several startups have gravitated towards this gap and there’s been plenty of innovation too. HRtech startups such as HackerRank, HackerEarth, Codlity as well as edtech startups such as Pesto, Udemy, Unacademy, upGrad are some of the notable names moving to upskill India’s engineers and entry-level workers.
IT spending is projected to reach $3.76 Tn globally in 2019, an increase of 3.2% from last year, according to research firm Gartner. It is expected to grow at 2.8% by 2020 to touch $3.87 Tn, and those are projections based on current IT market size; as the market expands so does the spending. Hence, there’s a lot of opportunity for companies in IT upskilling.