Simplilearn eyes ₹1,000-crore revenue in FY23

Yatti Soni | | Updated on: Jul 27, 2022
Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Simplilearn

Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Simplilearn

Simplilearn focusses on strengthening operations in India and the US

In the face of many edtech companies cutting costs and laying off employees, upskilling start-up Simplilearn continues to see a growth rate of about 80 per cent.  Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Simplilearn, said the company expects to exit the current financial year with around ₹1,000 crore revenue.

The company has built a vast organic footprint through its model of offering free self-learning courses. Learners are only charged if they want to join cohort-based courses, get a branded certificate etc. “We have partnerships with leading industry names like IBM, Microsoft and so on and we also have partnerships with global and Indian universities globally. If you want their certificate, it is paid. If you want to get taught by an expert, it is paid,” Kumar added.  

On the rising customer acquisition costs in edtech, Kumar said Simplilearn uses its organic footprint to drive the business. It gets around 120,000 free users every month. Overall, about 300 million people visit directly and about 10 million visitors come on its social media platforms. 

“We have a very strong global following of learners who come to us, take the programme that we have to offer, so a large part of our business is referral and repeat. We also have the highest traffic among all the players in our space,” Kumar said.

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He added that building this kind of organic footprint does not happen through paid advertisements. Such ads have a generic trajectory, when you are advertising, there is some uptake, and once you stop advertising it comes down drastically and then it stays at that. “Instead of paid ads, we have focused on offering free courses over a period of time, which attracts a lot of customers,” said Kumar. 

Simplilearn has always been a global company with a significant footprint in the US market. Kumar said Simplilearn’s global business made 90 per cent of its revenue 10 years ago and India was 10 per cent, this split was 70 per cent global and 30 per cent India before Covid and today stands at 55 per cent global and 45 per cent India. 

“Unlike many of our peers who started in India, we are a global company that happened to be in India. We have always built products for the global market, in particular the US market. We built a US-first product and had employees on the ground in the US for the past 10 years,” he added.

Currently the company is focused on strengthening its operations in India and the US. Simplilearn has also identified a couple of other markets, where it is parallely doing enterprise business. These include Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Thailand, and Singapore.

On the trend of edtech companies going offline, Kumar said Simplilearn used to do offline learning for the first five years of its inception. “Anything that you don’t know sounds very exciting. But once you get into it, you start understanding the nuances and realise that it is not as simple as it sounds.. There are players who are already doing offline learning. It’s not so easy to go and displace, just because you have more money. We realised that you can either be an offline player or you can be an online player.”

He added that Simplilearn does not want to go offline because it has done that in past and decided to focus on being the best online provider. The company’s technology platform, process, and systems are all optimised for the same. 

In the recent past, there have been growing concerns around edtech for mis-selling courses and rising number of consumer complaints. Kumar, who is also the management committee member of India Edtech Consortium, said that any sector that grows has pain points. Edtech has all these challenges. However, the good news is that edtech companies have come together and they have formed a committee with the intent to solve these problems.

Published on July 26, 2022
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