In recent years, numerous online learning startups have emerged in India, which are intended to serve school-age students. More than 250 million students are enrolled across schools in urban and rural parts of the country.
Regardless of whether you are in kindergarten or preparing for college to take a bachelor’s course, there are several startups that offer a variety of courses at affordable prices to help these students get there.
Byjus, Unacademy, and Vedantu, among other local startups, help tens of millions of students annually to gain access to high-profile, established teachers and a repository of learning materials that many may not have found in an offline environment.
These startups – and legacy educational institutions – help students pursue some of the most desirable jobs: careers in engineering and medicine.
However, most of these students will either not get their dream job – or due to their skills and growing unemployment in India as a whole, a job.
In India, around 400 million people, or about a third of the country's population, face a fundamental challenge: they cannot speak English and do not have other skills that could prove crucial when applying.
Entri, a startup based in the southern city of Kochi, is trying to target this market. The three-year startup offers continuing education courses to help people perform exams that would give them jobs in federal and state governments. And it teaches them these courses in the language they feel most comfortable with.
Students who drop out of high school and have already graduated from college make up the vast majority of Entri users.
The startup started its courses in Malayalam, a language spoken by some 50 million people in India and particularly popular in southern India, said Mohammed Hisamuddin, co-founder and CEO of Entri. Since then, it has added courses in several other languages, including Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Tamil.
Over the years, Entri has also expanded its course catalog to help people pursue other types of jobs, including those in the Workers category, and modeled a model similar to that of Udemy, headquartered in San Francisco .
"We quickly found that only about 1.5 to 2% of the people who take these exams can be shortlisted," he said. "These exams are very competitive, so many start looking for jobs in the private sector, sometimes even when they already have an understated job."
The startup now offers more than 150 courses, including multiple languages, accounting, and courses that teach popular computer applications such as Microsoft Office. These recorded video courses and quizzes take 30 to 60 days.
"Starting with the 100 million people who apply for government agencies each year, Entri expands the universe of employable people by training people in their own language – as it should be," said Arjun Malhotra, partner at the venture company Good capital. It is ridiculous that economic opportunities have bottlenecks due to the learning medium. Skills that bring employability should not require people to speak English.
Hisamuddin said Entri had over 3 million users on its platform, up from 1.5 million earlier this year. About 90,000 of these users pay subscribers. "We are now adding nearly 10,000 paying subscribers every month," he said in an interview with theinformationsuperhighway earlier this week.
Entri offers some of its courses in certain languages free of charge, but a subscription is required for full access. The paid subscription starts at just 300 Indian rupees a year ($ 4) and goes up to 10,000 Indian rupees ($ 133), Hisamuddin said. The most popular subscription level costs 1,500 Indian rupees ($ 20).
The startup announced this week that it had completed a $ 3.1 million pre-Series A round of financing led by Good Capital. Hari TN, HR manager at online food startup BigBasket, and HyperTrack founder Kashyap Deorah also took part in the round.
It is planned to use the fresh capital to introduce 50 additional courses on its platform and to reach more users. Hisamuddin said Entri's revenue has increased 150% in the past three months and annual recurring income (ARR) has reached $ 2 million. He plans to scale Entri's ARR to $ 5 million by year.