“So, what next?” It’s a question that students of classes X and XII preparing for their boards, prospective college-goers, and young professionals looking for a career change are faced with often. The answer, though, is not easy to arrive at.
While there is always advice at hand from older siblings, distant relatives, and family friends, it is usually based on their own professional choices and seldom aligns with the interest and aptitude of the individual in question.
There are also umpteen psychometric tests designed to help students and professionals decide on the right career path and cloud-based Learning Management Systems (LMS) and online content creators adding to their knowledge and skills. But they usually don’t take into account the motivations and end goals of the individual.
This is where Bengaluru-based Navigus, which calls itself a career navigation system, steps in. With automation built on labyrinths of data and self-learning models that train, monitor engagement and course correct the user, Navigus helps its users continuously through the forever changing landscape of academics and professions. It aims to maximize the probability of success and return on investments of its users. It focuses on integrating learning with a mentoring platform for students and young professionals alike by bringing data science and human mentoring under the same roof.
The four-year-old startup — founded by Shivansh Tyagi — although bootstrapped, has already booked sales of $1.8 Mn to date. The number sheds light on how effective the startup has been in helping students and professionals in terms of learning, training and helping them make career choices with uses ranging from choosing fields without any prior knowledge to upskilling into seasoned executive roles.
Connecting Data, Aptitude, And Interests To Enable The Right Career Choice
Unlike most other mentoring apps and platforms, Navigus helps students and young professionals navigate through the tumultuous waters of admissions, interviews, career decisions, upskilling/reskilling, etc, through continuous mentoring by experts from various industries.
Navigus’ data science enabled platform provides detailed tasks and milestones to the users on an ongoing basis, while they receive personal one-on-one mentoring from industry experts from related fields of work and study.
Mentors are professionals who voluntarily register with Navigus and its solutions. Navigus does not pay them for being a mentor onboard with them. These experts apprise users about the ground realities of different fields of study and professions, thereby helping students and their families make informed decisions suited to their aptitude, attitude, and career goals.
Auriga, the Navigus mentoring platform, offer sessions with mentors who are handpicked and domain experts in their respective fields.
Here’s how it works:
- Auriga refines the user’s questions to remove any leading biases.
- The mentors are instructed to only state facts and figures, rather than personal opinions.
- These sessions are used to derive insights through pattern recognition.
Navigus’ other product Orion (private beta) — provides a personalised, tailor-fitted career roadmap. Here’s how:
- Orion adapts the mentoring and training paths according to the personal choices of the user instead of trying to fit every user into a pre-defined bucket.
- Orion crafts a perfect match between the user’s will, skills, and motivations and millions of career fields data points built by field experts and perennial data gathering systems.
Tyagi explains that providing a solution is not where it ends. In India, parents are the primary sponsors for education and bringing them on the same page as their users (students and young people) when an unconventional career is recommended is mission critical.
Navigus, through its data analysis and return-on-investment projections, lays down a very logical and rational picture to convince all the stakeholders. “More often than not, we have seen parents themselves advocating something that will give their child an enormous early starters advantage,’’ says Tyagi.
Personalised Learning And Mentoring: The Need Of The Hour
Tyagi reminisces about the time he was a student. During an orientation lecture at the college he attended, a simple question by the faculty advisor had the students stumped: “Why did you choose engineering and why this particular branch?”
Out of 120 students thronging the lecture hall, only two had thought through their choices before appearing for the entrance exams. This confusion among fresh graduates about career direction and the mismatch of will, skill and motivation has only increased over the years, he says. “This did not make any sense to me, given the presence of psychometric testing, advanced data analysis technology, and the ubiquitousness of the internet. This led to the inception of the idea of Navigus,’’ says Tyagi.
The Indian edtech industry is currently valued at an impressive $100 Bn and India is the third-largest country leading the edtech revolution, just after US and China. Entrepreneurs and investors have realised the potential of the market and have unleashed their tech prowess in the forms of LMS, online mentoring, on-demand videos and classes, and a variety of psychometric tests.
However, the Indian education sector is still struggling with problems such as skill gap, lack of quality education, expensive yet ineffective counselling, distance barriers, resistance to change, and more. And edtech startups seem unable to fill these gaps and provide focused career alignment, much needed in our growing economy.
Navigus identified this gaping hole in the edtech industry and wanted to create a platform that would treat each user as a unique individual and provide them with necessary guidance through interactive sessions based on an exhaustive profile of the user, constituting of attributes and weights.
When students and professionals came to Navigus and shared their problems in detail, the founders understood that the problem was much deeper than they had thought and required not only information but personalised guidance, monitoring, and course correction over time, based on the information at hand. A career navigation system of sorts.
“The Navigus platform empowers users with end-to-end personalised discovery and evaluation through interactive sessions, tracks the engagement and milestone progress of the user and helps the user course correct themselves over and over again,’’ says Tyagi.
Considering that the user data collected by the platform is personal in nature, the startup takes data security and privacy very seriously. “All the user data is anonymised and encrypted and is used only for internal computational model training,’’ says Tyagi, adding that most of the sensitive communication goes through multi-factor authentication.
Navigating Students Towards A Promising Future
One of the biggest challenges for Navigus has been to define and contain the problem statement and scope of its products. The problems experienced by users are so varied and dynamic that selecting what to solve first is difficult. The problem of will, skill, and motivation mismatch that Navigus is trying to solve also affects the startup itself.
Despite these challenges, it is not only revolutionising mentoring and career paths in India, but globally, as well, registering a MoM growth of 10% and a YoY growth of 24% at present. And it has a huge market to explore, with the Indian online education industry set to grow to $2 Bn and the number of paid users expected to increase to 9.6 Mn by 2021.
So, while the stage is set, how long will it take for edtech players to realise the opportunity the market presents?
In a country like India, with its vastly different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, a one-stop-shop solution isn’t the best way to improve education and career paths. Personalised career pathing for students and professionals, where they can move away from traditional learning processes and pursue a career that matches their aspirations and objectives is the answer.
While changes in perception can’t match the speed of technological change, Indian parents, students, and young professionals are slowly opening up to using edtech to enhance their career paths. This augurs well for the edtech industry, and also holds out the hope that edtech will script a new chapter to improve Indian education.