“What helps people, helps business.”- Leo Burnett.
Nothing could be more true about online education space. It has opened the frontiers of education far and wide to make education more accessible and hassle free to consumers right from the privacy of their homes. High quality content, live interactions with academicians, student to student interactions via video, have now made best possible learning resources from across the world accessible to people at extremely affordable prices. The global online learning market is expected to reach $107 Bn this year, with the Indian education market being poised to grow $40 Bn by 2017.
The rising popularity of this medium can be gauged with the increasing number of startups entering this space to make it more personalised, interactive, and organized as it happens to be an extremely fragmented space in India. From test prep startups such as Toppr, Embibe, Plancess and to e-learning startups such as Edukart, Simplilearn, Englishleap.com, Purple Squirrel Eduventures, among many others, the ecosystem is brimming with startups who are trying to disrupt the online education space.
One of these contenders is media industry veteran and serial entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala. In January this year, Ronnie announced his plans to launch an online company focused on higher education, called U Education. Speaking about this new venture, Screwvala had stated, “We are looking to disrupt this whole space and that will happen only when there is scale and size. The biggest challenge right now is the lack of credibility attached to online learning and also employment generation post degrees. We will look to address these.”
Today, in its bid to make online learning more interactive and non-anonymous, UpGrad, has launched its first course on entrepreneurship. The 15 week program received 1,600 applications, out of which 500 have been shortlisted. The course is priced at $754 (INR 50k) and about 100 of these participants have prepaid the course amount. The first three weeks of the course are being offered for free, thus interested applicants from the remaining 400 will have an option of paying the amount after the end of three weeks.
Mayank Kumar, CEO of UpGrad, stated, “All of us are a product of offline education, so the challenge for us was how to design it in a way so that it looks like what education would have been if it was not delivered offline. Hence, we aimed at designing a personalised experience, full with peer-to-peer learning, interactive and engaging content, and teaching and non-teaching assistance ingrained in the program.