StartUp Circle: How is Skill Monks enhancing skills of IT employees and students?

By : |September 11, 2020 0

Skill Monks: At the cusp of online learning, e-courses are becoming all too popular. The current generation of students is upskilling themselves. But this new delivery system of education has been difficult for many students. So, multiple platforms are emerging to aid them in their skilling search. Even with this emergence, there is a considerable gap in Connecting skill seekers with strong training institutions in India providing quality training in the IT realm – Data Science, DevOps, Python, Web Dev, etc.

They need career discovery options and proper guidance in choosing the right career path and outlining courses to support it. Read how Skill Monks seeks to democratize access to information and connect customers with training partners under one platform. Excerpts of the interview with Rameswar Mandali, CEO and Founder of SKILL MONKS

What is Skill Monks?

SKILL MONKS is a unique integrated market place platform in the EdTech space connecting Skill Seekers (IT-Working Professionals, Graduates, and Students who are pursuing graduation) and Training companies – catering to the classroom, online, and device-based learning formats. Our model is asset-light and scalable. We enable diverse skill development with a focus on quality, affordability, and accessibility. To date, we have on-boarded 125 training companies, successfully trained 800 Skill Seekers, registered 7000 plus users, and have partnered with 5 Skill financing companies.

Majorly, SKILL MONKS enables diverse skill training by partnering with training companies that offer courses under the following domains:

  • IT Domain: Data Science, DevOps, AWS, Cybersecurity, Digital marketing, Multimedia Full-stack Java, Testing, Deep Learning
  • Government Job: Civil Services Exams, Bank Exams, SSC-CGL
  • Higher Studies: CAT, GATE, MAT
  • Study Abroad: GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS, and SAT

We assist Skill Seekers in their skilling and exam prep and job prep needs by providing career discovery options to help choose the right course and connect to the right training company on our platform through quality assurance. We are one of the unique players to offer a shield to their skilling investment by offering a 100% course fee refund if quality standards are not met. To ensure that all students get the chance to start their skilling journey, SKILL MONKS has also partnered with leading NBFCs such as ZestMoney, Propelld, and Credit Fair, to provide collateral-free loans to Skill Seekers and reduce the financial burdens they may face.

Our Edviser programs and tech talks connect skill seekers with industry experts and highlight the larger industry and career trends, facilitating career discovery. To help students understand the course curriculum, we conduct online demos to guide them in making the right course choice.

Tell us about the team.

SKILL MONKS currently has a strong team of 30 employees, 20 Consultants, and 100 Edvisers.

How did you come up with the idea?

I have had the good fortune to work and run companies in the EdTech space for more than 12 years. And throughout my experience, I identified various gaps in the skilling industry. In India, there are 8 million students graduating every year. Also, 5 million IT workforce requires upskilling and reskilling to sustain in the job market. This is where SKILL MONKS plays a pivotal role, to solve the issues faced by these Skill Seekers in their career discovery, by helping them choose the right courses in the IT prep, Exam prep, Job prep, and study abroad, and connect to the right training companies.

What is your business/market growth?

We have clocked revenue of 6 million INR since our commercial launch in February 2020. We have successfully trained 800 plus Skill Seekers to date. And we also have 7000 plus registered users on the platform along with 70,000 plus followers on social media platforms.

Who are your consumers?

A majority of the current user base is in IT Domain- Fresh Skilling, Upskilling & Reskilling but with the launch of Exam Prep and Govt. Job Prep domains, SKILL MONKS is looking at skill seekers from diverse segments as indicated below:

  • 35% from IT Fresh Skilling, Upskilling & Reskilling
  • 45% from Government Job Prep
  • 20% from Entrance Exam Prep

As we expand our presence in India, we want to set a target and reach out to:

  • 5 million skill seekers for IT Domain Upskilling, Reskilling, and Fresh Skilling
  • 2 million skill seekers for Exam Prep platform (Domestic and Study Abroad)
  • 2 million skill seekers for Government Job Exam Prep platform

The work-from-office culture sector took a deep hit, how are you managing your business in such tough times?

We had to quickly rejig our strategy and got our digital act in place. Being a market place platform we moved our B2B2C activities completely online which have a business impact.

We looked at innovative ways of managing our daily business operations. We start from recruitment, induction, partner and stakeholder engagements, business reviews, exploring new sales models, skill seeker engagement through tech talks, online demos to grow our business. Soon, we realized this adversity is a great opportunity to innovate and take the business to the next level.

What are your Post-Covid plans?

Currently, we have built a strong foundation for SKILL MONKS with the Hyderabad launch. Post this, we intend to launch in Vijayawada, Vizag, Guntur, Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur, Kota, and Mumbai.

We will also be launching executive programs by parenting with the leading tech and business schools within the country and overseas to help mid-level professionals to advance in their career paths.

For our second launch phase, we’d like to expand to the Middle East and a few other overseas markets to target IT professionals working abroad. By FY21, SKILL MONKS Study Abroad will be launched and added to other already existing products.

Apart from geographical expansion in our next phase of roll-out, we will be leveraging our technology capabilities to establish forward linkage with corporate to leverage new business opportunities.

What are the best-selling courses on the platform?

The courses that are witnessing a huge interest currently lie in IT Domain for courses like Cybersecurity, AWS, DevOps, Data Science, and Digital Marketing. These courses contribute to 80% of the offtake thus far. Exam prep and Government Job Prep, are seasonal, going forward we would witness good uptake in these courses as well. We constantly watch out for new industry trends and accordingly look at onboarding training companies to meet industry demands.

What trend do you see in the IT Industry?

With Industry 4.0 focused on cutting technologies like Machine learning, Artificial intelligence, IoT, and Blockchain, skill seekers across segments would need to acquire these skills through programs/certifications from basics to advanced learning to get industry ready and stay relevant through constant upskilling. It’s vital for these individuals to understand which are the right courses. We have seen a demand amongst employers with an emphasis on reskilling and upskilling.  In these uncertain times, IT working professionals should focus on the following – Cybersecurity, AWS, Data Science, Agile scrum, Industry 4.0, Digital Marketing. There is a choice of internship/ certification, job placement, and job guarantee programs to suit diverse needs.

About the Funding

We have raised initial funding of INR 2 crores from an angel investor. We have engaged with VC’s and larger investment firms for the next round of anchor investment to propel our next phase of growth.

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