Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Learnbay, Providing Comprehensive Data Science, AI, and ML Education With Career Advancement Support

Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Learnbay, Providing Comprehensive Data Science, AI, and ML Education With Career Advancement Support
StartupTalky presents Recap'22. This is a series of interviews in which we conduct in-depth discussions with founders & industry leaders to understand their growth in 2022 and their predictions for the future.

Career coaching and upskilling are professional support services that help individuals identify their strengths, skills, and interests and guide them in finding and pursuing meaningful career paths. The goal of career coaching is to help individuals achieve career satisfaction and success.

The career coaching industry is a rapidly growing field that provides support to individuals seeking help with their career development and job search. The career coaching industry has evolved with the use of technology and has increased the accessibility of career coaching services while also making them more affordable for individuals seeking career support.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global EdTech market was valued at $252.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.8% from 2021 to 2028.

For this Interview, we invited Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO of Learnbay, and we talked about the growth, challenges, insights, and future opportunities in the Ed-Tech industry.

StartupTalky: What does your company do? What was the motivation/vision with which you started?

Krishna: Learnbay was founded to offer young aspirants and working professionals high-quality education. There is a common fallacy that someone without a technical background cannot work in the IT business, or, more accurately, cannot have a profitable career. Learnbay aids students in expanding a pleasant job, profitable pay, and constant professional advancement in the Information and Technology industry to overcome this unsatisfied mindset.

Our team started the business in November 2015 with Mrs. Nisha Kumari, Mr. Abhishek Gupta, and me. The goal is to offer complete career coaching and assistance to professionals looking to make smart and successful career changes. LearnBay was founded to provide those who are already employed access to the in-demand skills they need to pursue expanding professions. Though conceptual knowledge is essential, practical skill and insight should supersede, we created Project Innovation Labs to meet this demand.

At LearnBay, we assist candidates looking to enhance their skills through challenging industry-based live projects and capstones. Live interactive classes, facilitated by experienced MAANG experts, and peer-to-peer discussions provide students with a university-level learning experience in the comfort of their own homes. We are committed to providing an effective learning environment for professionals.

StartupTalky: What is/are the USP/s of your product?

Krishna: Learnbay has upgraded its workforce with experienced trainers and successful working professionals with the aid of Data Science, AI, and ML courses offering Data Science, a Full Stack Development Program, and a DSA & System Design Program, thereby putting a star on the company's name.

Learnbay provides industry-recognized certificates not only for course completion but also for project work and micro-skills through IBM to help individuals get the job. The live faculty with one-on-one discussion sessions and hybrid learning mode, where learners can learn via live online classes as well as can do the capstone project in offline mode is the major USP.

We have such centers in multiple cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Delhi. At Learnbay, we have dedicated Career Counseling Coaches that help to reveal the best of data science career paths as per your educational and professional qualifications. Based on the current and targeted career stage, personal abilities, and interests, every aspirant gets a customized learning plan, modules, and assistance.

StartupTalky: How has the ed-tech industry changed in recent years, and how has your company adapted to these changes?

Krishna: The past 24 months have been crucial in the ed-tech field. Indian ed-tech companies prospered abroad, gaining significant momentum in both North America and South East Asia. This enabled them to generate more income and supply services that would have had limited demand at home. China banned for-profit tutoring services in 2021, which proved disastrous for Chinese EdTech enterprises.

India gained as an alternative emerging market to invest in substantial quantities of global capital that had previously flowed into Chinese Edtech. While investment in China's EdTech sector fell by 75% from 2020 to 2021, and funding in India's EdTech market surged by 60% during the same period. Learnbay is passionate about delivering enough skills to fuel India's growth and is committed to collaborating with the ecosystem to provide a strong training system for forthcoming skills required for successful enterprises. Learnbay seeks to contribute to India's "Skills India" mission by providing students with opportunities to create meaningful jobs through interactions.

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Krishna: The past 2 years have caused us to reconsider our strategy. Based on our findings, we divided the strategy into three axes: age group serviced, core work to be done, and paying customer persona. Businesses that are not directly involved in teaching but serve the education industry as a whole have been identified as catalysts.

Instead of focusing on the revenue model (B2B versus B2C), we examine the underlying consumer motivations that influence how often and when they will pay, how they will identify the platform, and how they will engage with the product. We began with Python training seven years ago and subsequently discovered the huge need for data science and AI. Rather than asking the individuals to upskill in completely different professional courses, we provide professional training that typically supports you in growing the skills in your prior working domain to provide career progress and job security. Based on the changing nature of the employment market, we have now broadened our training to include full-stack software, web, and system design.

StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check the company's growth and performance? What were the most significant challenges your company faced in the past year and how did you overcome them?

Krishna: The main challenge was to help several individuals convert their careers from service-based technical job profiles to product-based tech job profiles with significant pay raises. Learnbay accomplished a solid job in system design training from 2015 to 2017.

However, there were a plethora of courses thriving in a related subject in the interim. Few of them offered certificates for the workplace or even for foreign countries. It was difficult for us to compete with them. Even though we offered live learning-supported end-to-end training, applicants were still more drawn to the industrial certification. Instead of focusing on the certification label, we started highlighting the project-based learning and hands-on learning components of our courses. IBM offered to engage with us for certification as a result of the hard effort. Later, at the start of 2020, we faced the most difficult task. We were quite concerned about the shifting nature of the data science employment market.

But rapidly figured it out and introduced data science and AI courses with domain specialization. The present area of data science is suffering from a lack of domain-expertise experts. We now employ more than 30 trainers and subject matter experts from various MAANG companies and are much more equipped to provide our applicants with flexible, in-depth, and customized training. To track the company's overall growth and success, Learnbay aims to touch 4x growth in 2023 by crossing a significant 100 cr revenue.

StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack which you pulled off.

Krishna: An innovative digital marketing campaign is known as "Peanut campaign: Earning in Peanuts" has assisted us in achieving a robust online presence. Organic SEO is the most suggested, efficient, and cost-effective traffic-generating method for our official EdTech website. Keyword research to guarantee that related keywords linked to our course contents have consistently positioned us on the top. Our long-format content even draws viewers' attention to a certain topic and assists readers in finding solutions to all queries.

UX, or user experience, is another key component of our marketing approach. To assist people in easily locating what they are searching for rather than relying on guessing, we maintain intuitive and useful navigation across the website. Learnbay has placed a lot of emphasis on social media, which is essential for improving audience engagement and establishing a unified brand experience across all touchpoints. The main growth hack of Learnbay is to help working people enhance their existing careers. We've already assisted over 10,000 professionals and intend to increase it to at least 30K in the upcoming six months. Quality content that’s well-researched and offers value for the business made a huge difference.

StartupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run your business smoothly?

Krishna: We use digital technology to help students study more effectively, enhance engagement, and improve achievement. It assists to streamline and customize lesson planning as well as tracking students' development.

Learnbay currently uses digital solutions such as education CRM, chatbots and live chat, application form manager, and so on. We are continually expanding our product and service offerings to guarantee that our students have everything they need to develop and bloom their technical abilities.

StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in your industry in India and the world? What kind of difference in market behavior have you seen within states in India?

Krishna: After China and the USA, India has risen to become one of the top three nations in the world for receiving venture capital funding in the Edtech industry. The post-K-12 market is now experiencing considerable growth in the Edtechindustry, which was formerly dominated by the K-12 segment. The K–12, higher education, test preparation, and upskilling categories are anticipated to be the main drivers of the Edtech industry's growth in India.

However, for the industry to sustain steady development, stakeholders must improve the overall user experience. Stakeholders must address the demand for reasonably priced Edtech solutions to increase Edtech adoption. Rural India is slowly but steadily embracing Edtech platforms, creating new opportunities. Segments including online tuition and competitive test preparation might experience rapid development, especially in Tier 3/4 cities.

Due to the price element, students from all socioeconomic backgrounds and social classes could receive a high-quality education that includes engaging visuals and expert teachers. Collaboration with governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions has a significant positive impact on the adoption of EdTech within different states. Through programs like the SWAYAM program and DIKSHA, the Government of India is doing all in its power to advance online learning throughout the nation.

StartupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year and how will these inform your plans and strategies?

Krishna: When we entered the market, our primary concern was to give students well-designed course elements so they could have successful careers. We gradually discovered that whereas experienced professionals (mostly non-techies) struggle a lot to advance in their careers and even maintain them, freshers get employment quite quickly.

In 2017, when there was a tonne of websites offering a variety of online industry-based certificates, we were at the height of our popularity for python classes, but there were some substantial obstacles to overcome.

The learner's trust was our major point of concern. At first, we just paid attention to the caliber of the teachers, but subsequently, we learned that the highly efficient content management system and placement opportunities are also crucial. We implemented projects like project innovation labs, live learning, and domain specialization as a result of this insight (no need to change domain, just upgrade yourself.) For the next six months, we will strive to assist our students in pushing beyond the status quo of their current careers to drive tremendous advancement. At Learnbay, we are a firm believer in providing sufficient skills opportunities to fuel India's employment growth.

StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the Customers, product, and team base in the future?

Krishna: To retain the same effectiveness as offline classes for working professionals, we have greatly increased the number of online courses and introduced instructed-led live sessions. When we introduced our domain-specific
data science course, we made a big change to maintain consistency and quality standards.

We have introduced a few new courses on full-stack development, DSA, and data science as part of our ongoing development. These courses feature successful industrial-based projects and internationally famous IBM certifications. We will give more emphasis on assessing and upgrading the course modules in response to organizational sector needs by enhancing the industry-based interview calls and placements. To guarantee the availability of qualified personnel in the IT industry, Learnbay will offer cutting-edge tech upskilling and reskilling programs, such as
the Full Stack Software Development program. We plan to increase our team base to 300 people and grow 4x in terms of revenue.

StartupTalky: One tip that you would like to share with people reading this article who want to get into entrepreneurship?

Krishna: Today's technological market is expanding rapidly, and with the current situation, every enterprise should prioritize quality over quantity. Getting ahead in a business or leading an organization with high-quality products will undoubtedly help an entrepreneur achieve enormous success. Develop and advance your product from the customer’s viewpoint instead of the profit-related viewpoint. The revenue growth might pick up a bit, but it will become highly sustainable. Nowadays, companies are struggling to sustain themselves. So this becomes the most important factor for any entrepreneur.

We thank Krishna Kumar for spending his valuable time and sharing his learnings with all of us.

You can read other Recap'22 Interviews here.

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