AttainU - Bridging the Skill Gap in Software Engineering Sector

The education sector is the most significant sector for any country, especially for a developing country like India. In India, however, there has been a growing gap between the industry needs and the skills of the students. A study by employability assessment company 'Aspiring Minds', carried out in 2017, shockingly revealed that 95% engineers in India are no fit for software development jobs. Addressing such gaps, AttainU has molded its courses to make students skilled enough to do justice to their jobs. AttainU provides a high-quality, scalable, professional skill training platform enabling India’s young population to step up and meet the global talent shortage. Currently, AttainU is offering online, live software engineering courses.

Startup Name AttainU
Headquarter Bangalore
Sector Ed-Tech
Co-founders Divyam Goel, Vaibhav Bajpai
Founded 2018
Parent Organization Leetu Education Pvt. Ltd.

About AttainU and How it Works
Education Scenerio in India
AttainU - Founders and Team
How was AttainU Started
AttainU- Product Development and Startup Launch
AttainU - Name and Logo
AttainU - Business Model and Revenue Model
AttainU - Startup Challenges
AttainU - Funding and Investors
AttainU - Future Plans

About AttainU and How it Works

AttainU uses a centralized online college simulation approach facilitating immersive interactions between aspirational learners and domain experts while delivering consistent learning outcomes at scale.

AttainU works with a vision to provide a high-quality college alternative to deserving students, who are either not employed satisfactorily with their existing qualifications or are looking to upskill for better employment opportunities in the field of technology. In the process, they aim to systematically solve education-related problems in an individual-aligned (interest and ability), market-aligned (outcome-focused), and scalable (accessible, affordable) way while ensuring high-quality outcomes at all steps.

AttainU has built a vertically integrated solution covering -

  1. Enrollment - here, AttainU helps the students to figure out their fit for the course, which is based on their aptitude, inclination, and, most importantly, the ability to put in the required effort.
  2. Skill Building - this is the main central piece which allows the startup to deliver high-quality learning outcomes at scale. The crux here is maintaining high student engagement during the course. This is achieved through facilitating highly immersive interactions with instructors, mentors, and peers focused around a centrally defined course path built-in line with industry partners and delivered by industry expert faculty. Delivery and measurement of granular learning outcomes are built in to make sure each student is on the expected learning trajectory.
  3. Placements - the core of the higher education system. Through placement mechanism, AttainU prepares the students for placements, does the matchmaking, and facilitates the interactions between its industry partners and students.
  4. Income Share Agreement - this is a deferred fee payment model conditional to employment. It ensures that aspirational students can afford this high- quality education irrespective of their financial background.

There are 24 million students enrolled in colleges across India. Even after spending a significant amount of time and money, more than 80% don't get a job or a satisfactory job. The team at AttainU believes that a significant number of these students, if provided the right platform can do much better in their careers. AttainU bridges the gap between unemployable college graduates and global talent shortage. This is one of the persistent problems India currently faces, and it's essential to address this issue to exploit the demographic dividend; to evolve into a high-quality human resources capital of the world.

AttainU's USPs are:

  1. High completion rate, 90%+ in an online medium - Removing the location obstacle from learning.
  2. Placement related payment model (Income Share Agreement) - Removing the money obstacle from learning.
  3. Zero to One course i.e., from no coding background to high-quality entry-level software engineering - Making it possible for anyone willing to put in the effort to learn.

Education Scenerio in India

The education sector in India is estimated to stand at US $91.7 billion in FY18 and is expected to reach US $ 101.1 billion in FY19. There are around 9 Million people coming out of colleges/ year (CAGR 11%+), but 75% of them don't make it to the White Collar Workforce.

College enrollments will increase 3x over the next seven years. 80% of students after graduation lack the basic subject matter expertise and life skills. Given the global talent shortage and working-age human resource surplus in India, India has the potential to become the HR Capital of the World.

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AttainU - Founders and Team

Divyam Goel is the CEO & Co-founder, AttainU. He looks after building a strong team aligned towards the company's goals for the next phase of growth. He is also responsible for meeting the right set of investors who are looking at investing in the ed-tech industry.

He comes from a deep tech background and believes education is one of the most important challenges that need to be solved in India. After graduating from IIT Bombay, he moved to Bay Area after a short stint with Microsoft in India. Divyam was part of the team which set up growth engineering at Uber. Eventually, he moved to India with the Next Billion Users (Google Pay) team at Google. Divyam wanted to work on an impact first problem and use his skill set to solve for scale, and that is how AttainU was founded in 2018.

Vaibhav is a Co-founder, COO at AttainU. He looks after student outreach and student enrollment.

Divyam Goel and Vaibhav have known each other since 2006. They both grew up in the same hometown, Lucknow. Soon after graduation, Vaibhav joined GeeksForGeeks as their third full-time member, in December 2015. GeeksforGeeks went on to become the largest computer science interview preparation platform globally. After GeeksforGeeks, Vaibhav wanted to work on the deeper education quality problem at the college level, which led him to co-found AttainU with Divyam.

AttainU Team
AttainU Team

Currently, AttainU has a dedicated team of 15 members with high efficiency, where every individual holds multiple responsibilities. Their hiring strategy is to scientifically and unambiguously assess for culture, role, and stage fit.

How was AttainU Started

Working in the Bay Area with startups and top tech companies like Uber and Google is always the highest aspiration for any software engineering graduate in India. After graduating from IIT Bombay Computer Science Engineering in 2012, Divyam Goel pursued the same path. Over the years, the internal quest for the purpose of life led him to believe that giving back to society is important. Six years, one startup and two big company experiences later, the impact of his work started taking precedence over financial returns. Having identified Education, Healthcare, and Public Infrastructure as the top three problems India Divyam moved back to India in late 2017 to create an impact in these sectors.

Divyam Goel has spent around eight months studying the education sector, collecting information, and identifying the first principle facts in the education domain in India. Divyam spoke to over 150 people at length, covering the entire vertical, kindergarten to professional skilling as well as the entire horizontal vertical from the work NGOs were doing in the extreme rural areas to the premium IB schools of the country.

Thorough research led the AttainU founders to come up with two observations -

  1. To be able to solve a problem at scale in a free-market approach, a for-profit model is the most efficient way,
  2. It makes the most business sense to start with the problem where customer motivations are most aligned to benefit from the solution.

With the above two realizations, the team has zeroed upon higher education space. AttainU selected recent college graduates as the company's target audience. Once the target audience has been selected, the team started working on the go-to-market solution. For the same, they have taken insights from the past and present education industry.

Also, they observed that there were some companies, trying out online live college simulation models in different domains, in different parts of the world and that there is a very high level of student engagement in the same.

AttainU team in their extensive research has engaged with a wide number of stakeholders, and got to understand their views-

  • Industry Leaders, including CTOs  are of the view that there is a definite, strong need for industry-aligned skilling. Finding the right talent for the right role, especially at the fresher level, has become extremely time and money intensive. College graduates lack the basic fundamental subject knowledge as well as the professionally required life skills.
  • College Educators -
    a) Are not interested in the undergraduate teaching outcomes and don't have any incentive to be.
    b) Having no industry experience, they don't understand the industry requirements.
    c) They need to follow AICTE norms, restricting them to follow a particular curriculum.
  • Students -
    a) During College, being the first generation from their families, students feel that the college degree will get them a job and hence don't have the motivation to learn from any other source.
    b) After College, however, the students' views are much different. AttainU team found that-

i) After college, the students get disillusioned by the system, and gets motivated to learn the right skills to get into the right careers is the highest.

ii) Also, the team found that many students regret taking the wrong branch at the wrong College, from a career perspective, due to either lack of exposure or lack of finances makes it unfeasible for them to pay for a coaching institute which would increase their chances of getting into a Tier 1 college by 5x.

  • Views of Existing and Previous Education Companies:
    a) Recorded, self-paced material based learning does not have the desired impact as a simulated course.
    b) Majority of the companies were measuring metrics which are not at all related to learning outcomes, including the number of views, number of packages sold, etc.

AttainU - Product Development and Startup Launch

AttainU has followed the below steps in the same sequence -

  • Curriculum and pedagogy preparation - the team, interacted with potential industry partners and professors from IIT Bombay and IIM Bangalore to include both the hard skills and professionally required life skills in the curriculum as well as the best practices and pedagogy to put in place to ensure high student engagement from the beginning.
  • Enrollment preparation - AttainU identified what qualities matter in the students who would be able to benefit from these courses and how can we best assess these qualities.
  • Getting the right team in place - identifying the skill gap that exists between Divyam and Vaibhav they have put in efforts to get the right team that fills in the gap.
  • The first batch - through digital marketing and network, the team was able to identify the first 19 students for the first batch, 17 of whom are still with them 6+ months later.

Having followed an extensive pre-launch preparation, the AttainU team used techniques like digital marketing, community network, and word of mouth to popularize their services among the target audience.

We are a mission-driven, impact the first startup, and our customers love our value proposition. Word of mouth has been immensely helpful as, at this point, we are getting 20,000+ student applications every month.

Furthermore, they have used a combination of referral programs, digital marketing, network community, and multiple business partnerships to reach out to potential students.

AttainU stands for 'Attain Your Dream.'

AttainU Logo
AttainU Logo

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AttainU - Business Model and Revenue Model

AttainU is one of the very few companies working on a deferred payment model for students to enroll in its courses. The business model is popular as an Income Share Agreement (ISA) where students pay the company money after course completion, only when they get a job within eight months, paying more than 5 Lakhs INR. The amount to be paid is 3L INR, spread over 36 months in easy EMIs.

AttainU - Startup Challenges

AttainU team has faced two major challenges along their startup journey. These are:

  • Building the right team - early on, the founding team of AttainU has spent a lot of time internalizing the right kind of workforce who would be a strength to their company. Moving ahead, they have scientifically formulated the company culture document.
  • Ensuring learning outcome quality as the team intended - data-driven iteration along with setting up simple to follow yet effective processes ensuring proper accountability, escalation, and visibility.

Besides, as the company started off, they continued experimentations to perfect their business plan:

  • They experimented with a few different course formats
  • tested and perfected their enrollment and counseling model ensuring higher value for customers and more accurate selection for the startup
  • evaluating many scalable processes to arrive at a solution that ensures timely high-quality, consistent learning outcomes
  • assessing various models to identifying the most efficient processes around company-student interactions leading to a win-win situation for all

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AttainU - Funding and Investors

AttainU raised angel funding in  April, 2019.

Date Stage Amount Investor
April 2019 Angel Undisclosed Shailesh Rao, Nikhil Rungta, Letsventure

AttainU - Future Plans

AttainU is approaching profitability in October 2019.

Currently, AttainU has 300+ students enrolled in its courses. In September 2019, AttainU has received 20,000+ student applications.

Some of our students from the first batch, which is graduating at the end of October, have already received pre-placement offers - Divyam says

Over the next one year, AttainU aims to cater to 8000+ students

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About Chayanika Goswami

Chayanika is an MBA in Finance and a trained Digital Marketer. SEO and content writing are her hobbies turned profession. She is a rover. In her free time, she loves traveling and cracking jokes.