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Polygon And AlmaBetter Join Hands To Address Talent Crunch In The Indian Web3.0 Space

Polygon And AlmaBetter Join Hands To Address Talent Crunch In The Indian Web3.0 Space

The programme will be targeted at young professionals and will churn out close to 1 Lakh students by March next year.

The move will enable AlmaBetter to leverage Polygon’s manpower to develop training modules. On the other hand, Polygon will get a bigger talent pool to hire new employees

Founded in 2020 by Shivam Dutta and Vikash Srivastava, AlmaBetter is a tech
upskilling platform that runs cohort-based data science courses

Even as the world buckles up to take the plunge into the Web3.0 space, India too seems all set to compete with the big players. While India’s crypto startup ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds, the country faces a very peculiar problem – a lack of blockchain coders.

The problem is especially pronounced when we take into account India’s global peers. Despite a massive pool of software engineers, India seems to be lagging behind in terms of number of coders in the space. This was reflected in a study conducted by hiring solutions firm, Belong, which found that a meagre 0.25% of India’s software workforce was blockchain-ready.

To solve this acute shortage of workforce in the crypto domain, tech upskilling platform, AlmaBetter, has announced a partnership with blockchain startup, Polygon, to offer Web3.0 development courses. 

The programme will be targeted at young professionals and will train close to 1 Lakh students by March next year. The move will enable AlmaBetter to leverage Polygon’s manpower  to develop training modules for its students and to create a presence in the growing Web3.0 upskilling market. 

Speaking on the announcement, Almabetter CEO and cofounder, Shivam Dutta, said, “Polygon are the leaders in the space to provide an impetus to opportunities for Web3 enthusiasts in India. This association will enable quality offerings through this program catering to current industry needs. Polygon’s hiring will also make it exciting and encouraging for the students and contribute to the ecosystem.” 

Echoing the sentiment, Polygon’s Head of Developer Education, Siraj Raval said, “With over 7,000 companies building on top of Polygon, there is a tremendous demand for blockchain developers and this partnership will help us scale the ecosystem in a quick span of time.”

Targeting Budding Web3.0 Coders

The startup claims that the course will be spread over 28 weeks with a specific focus on Web3 development and will conclude with a placement drive. AlmaBetter claims the program will be open for all and is designed for learners without any prior domain experience. Interestingly, the startup, however, charges a refundable security deposit of INR 20,000 for enrollment. 

Speaking to Inc42, CEO Dutta said that the AlmaBetter operates on the Hybrid-Pay-After-Placement model. Under this, the startup essentially operates two programmes namely the training module and the placement module. While the training can be availed for a refundable deposit, the students, however, have to pay for placements. Those who score a package of INR 6 Lakhs per annum will, however, have to pay a fee of INR 10,000 per month for a duration of 20 months, once they are placed.

Via this initiative, AlmaBetter aims to tap into the burgeoning Web3.0 space which has seen a dramatic reversal in fortunes in the past few months. While the demand for coders has risen dramatically, the supply of the same continues to abysmal. This was reflected in a report published by the industry body, NASSCOM. The report found that jobs in the crypto space were growing by a whopping 2,000-6,000%. As a result, the report stated that the salaries of blockchain developers were said to be 50-100% higher than conventional developers.

The report also found that the country was poised to add more than 8 Lakh jobs in the Web3.0 space in the coming years. This is where AlmaBetter comes in to deal with this dearth of coders in the domain.

Speaking to inc42, Dutta said that during his previous stint as a data scientist at a startup, he was frustrated with not being able to find employable engineering graduates. He further added that for each position, he had to conduct at least 15 interviews and despite that, he still struggled to find candidates with the required skill set. The idea took shape in the form of AlmaBetter during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which Dutta cofounded alongside Vikash Srivastava.

The startup has, since then, grown to add more than 400 mentors on the platform and caters to as many as 150 companies. AlmaBetter CEO also told Inc42 that the startup has been growing at around 150% quarter-on-quarter basis in terms of revenue. 

What Is Polygon’s Interest 

Ever since Polygon raised a mammoth $450 Mn investment round, the blockchain startup has been working left, right and centre to scale its platform. One of the major issues facing Polygon appears to be a manpower crunch. The tie-up with AlmaBetter will enable Polygon to resolve this issue and create a workforce out of prospective students enrolled in the programme.

Of the total funding amount, Polygon has set aside close to $100 Mn for developing the Polygon ecosystem. Such was the demand for blockchain developers that Polygon had recently launched a job board where it would publicise listings for coders. 

Speaking about this, Dutta told Inc42 that it is a win-win situation for both. He said that Polygon had also come onboard as a hiring partner. This, he said, would enable Polygon to better assuage candidates and increase its pool of potential employees. While the upskilling startup will get better top-of-the-mill trainers from Polygon, the blockchain startup will get trained employees for building its platform.

AlmaBetter claims to have a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 87 and offers courses to students in two formats – the self-learning mode and cohort-based model.

When asked about how they managed to onboard Polygon onto the platform, Dutta said that a bunch of alumni from his alma mater, IIT-Kharagpur, were working to build a better Web3.0 landscape in India. It is through them that he met executives at Polygon which led to the partnership.

Eyes On The Horizon

Speaking to Inc42, CEO Shivam Dutta said that they were planning to launch more such offerings and were focusing specifically on product design to attract more customers. In addition, the startup also appears to be on the lookout for other players that it can acquire, although it did not specify when. It also aims to raise more funding in the coming time and plans to offer affordable courses to its user base.

This is in consonance with the ongoing boom in the edtech space. An Inc42 report found that homegrown edtech startups raised $4.7 Bn in 165 deals last year. Add to that, as many as three new edtech unicorns emerged in 2021– Eruditus, upGrad and Vedantu.Of these, the skill development segment saw 34 deals raising $1.04 Bn in capital last year. 

Add to that, another Inc42 report found that the US led the globe in terms of blockchain vacancies in 2018, with China coming in a distant second. However, this is poised to change as the Chinese blockchain ecosystem appears well geared to sprint ahead of the US by 2023.

Barely days ago, telecom operator, Vi, announced an initiative to offer employability and upskilling services for job aspirants. On April 12, edtech startup Newton School closed a $24.7 Mn fresh round of funding led by Steadview Capital. 

Other players in the upskilling segment include Scaler Academy, Pesto, Masai School, Upgrad. Last year, Hero Group also entered this space with Hero Vired.