Avagmah, partner varsities deliver ‘lessons’ for professionals

Jessu John Bengaluru | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 08, 2016

Karthik KS, co-founder and CEO, Avagmah

Edtech firm sees more enrolments from smaller towns

The global market for distance learning has grown over the years with India set to see a growth of about 11 per cent (CAGR) between this year and 2020.

Already, the country’s consumption of online content makes it one of the top markets in the world for distance education and edtech players. Avagmah, a start-up that enables users to pursue MBA qualifications over a mobile app, caters to learners in urban locations and is seeing a mounting number of takers in Tier II and III towns.

Karthik KS, co-founder and CEO, Avagmah, says: “Out of the more than 4,000 users on our platform, I’d say 51 per cent are in the age group of of 21-30 years. Thirty-one to 40-year-olds comprise about 34 per cent. The balance is taken up by those above 41.”

Catching up

What the figures point to is that many of the students are working professionals. Avagmah says it serves employees from companies such as Convergys, TCS, Wipro, redBus, Axis Bank and Dell.

MBA and BBA programmes are currently offered on the firm’s platform in partnership with universities including Pondicherry University, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies and Bharathidasan University..

Companies such as Convergys encourage employees to “earn and learn”. Sriram Raghunandhanan, Human Resources Director - India and China, Convergys, shares:

“It’s a corporate policy available to all employees, with the company sponsoring a part of the course fee as a benefit to the employees. It has a very good adoption rate. More than 200 of our employees are enrolled in various courses. These employees gain additional points when we consider them for supervisory or managerial roles.”

Karthik adds: “Leadership pipelines in corporations can dry up, so our platform benefits them. At least 21 per cent of working professionals on our platform use transit or commute time to learn. It’s also an advantage that working professionals don’t have to be on sabbaticals while pursuing higher educational qualifications.”

What’s to come

RedSeer Consulting released data earlier this year estimating the Indian “online supplemental education market” at $2.5 billion for 2016; it also said Tier II and III 3 cities would fuel growth for the edtech industry.

A spokesperson said: “The major drivers… will be engaging course material, inventive pedagogy and reaching out to distant locations of the country that have minimal supplemental education infrastructure.”

Notably, about 52 per cent of Avagmah’s users come from smaller towns; metros and Tier I cities form the remaining 48 per cent.

The company has raised about $5 million in funding since kicking off business in November 2013.

With India being the second largest consumer of MOOCs and among the top three countries for the consumption of content on media platforms such as YouTube, the time seems right to continue making online education attractive.

Avagmah believes it has set itself apart from other players by facilitating full-term degree courses (as opposed to short courses) from universities recognised by the UGC.

“We want to help academic institutions go online. The US market did something similar some years ago. But we’re dealing with a much larger market than the US, and it’s cheaper to operate in India.

“We became operationally profitable about six months ago,” Karthik reveals.

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Published on November 08, 2016
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