Building a Relevant Skilling Platform for Jobseekers: Why We Invested in Entri
"By leveraging local languages and engaging formats to provide exam-related learning content to the non-English speaker segment, Entri is improving the employability chances of young job seekers for government jobs, private jobs and self-employment and increasing their earning capabilities. Entri is an exemplar in orienting the design of its offering to be specifically relevant to the Next Half Billion (NHB)"
In 2018, India entered its much-touted demographic dividend window which is expected to usher in a period of growth and innovation over the next few decades, driven by a young workforce. Yet, less than half of our graduates can be considered as employable, as per an industry report. Considering India’s regional and statewide diversities apart from social, economic and linguistic differences, there cannot be a straightforward one-size-fits-all solution. To equip India’s workforce to seize upon this moment requires focused and customised innovation.
There is clearly no lack of effort or demand as is evidenced from the millions of hopeful students attempt entrance examinations to get into government sector jobs (central and state) every year. But these exams are highly competitive with a very limited number of seats and selection ratios as low as 5 successful candidates out of every 1000. In urban centers, students have quality options when it comes to training and prep courses, but in smaller, tier II and III cities, no such options exist.
The World Economic Forum predicts that, regardless of the sector, at least 54% of all employees across the world are currently in need of re- or up-skilling to respond to changing work requirements. Globally, platforms like Udemy are helping people upskill and stay relevant in the job market or explore self-employment opportunities. Unfortunately, in India, similar platforms remain expensive and thus inaccessible to those from low and middle-income households. And most of these courses are delivered, almost entirely in English, a language inaccessible to a large part of India.
Clearly, there is a need for low-cost yet effective, contextualised solutions that are easily accessible, provide structured learning, and are multi-lingual.
Entri, a Kochi-based company, has built exactly such a platform that gives aspiring students access to high-quality test prep and upskilling programs at affordable rates in local languages. Founded in 2017 by seasoned entrepreneurs Mohammed Hisamuddin and Rahul Ramesh, it has over eight million registered users with more than 250,000 paid subscribers. It offers 500+ courses in eight languages – Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, and Odiya – to help aspirants prepare for different government job exams as well as improve their private job prospects.
Entri targets a very clear demographic which is focused on the Next Half Billion and is predominantly between 18 to 35 years of age. About 80% of them have only basic English skills and are not fluent in the language. And more than half (60%) are in low-paying jobs or are unemployed at the moment. Entri offers courses to this audience in a wide range of state examinations like administrative, teaching, nursing, clerical branches, and central examinations like railways, banking, and insurance. Encouraged by the phenomenal response received they have also expanded to catering to self-employment and providing upskilling programmes including english communication, share trading, YouTube content creation, personality development, and coding.
While much of the pre-recorded content can be accessed for free, Entri has paid options that provide access to services like live classes, study plans, and a mentor to guide students through their learning journey. The product has been shaped using successful study offline methodologies, and by adapting them to the online world. For example, regular ‘doubt clearing’ sessions, allow the student community to engage and learn from each other.
At Omidyar Network India, we believe that Entri can improve access to high-quality, engaging learning through an offering that is affordable for all income segments and geographies across India. We believe it has the potential to become the preferred learning platform for the NHB to hone their competitive edge, learn new skills, and thereby improve their employability and earning capabilities.