Interview with Satish Rajagopalan, CEO, Apna Course

Interview with Satish Rajagopalan, CEO, Apna Course

6. What is the biggest need for your company at this point of time? (e.g. funding, development, market access, channels, publicity)

It has taken time for the market to accept our value proposition. Given the nascent concept of MOOC, people have been sceptical about the courses being offered free on our platform. This has changed over the last 2-3 months where we have seen most of the registrations. The pain point continues to be market visibility and communication of the value proposal. We believe to overcome this hurdle over the next few weeks through forums, blogs and reviews like EdTechReview and others.

7. What are your views about the growth of the Education Technology industry in India?

India is catching up to the use of technology in Education. While some key advancements have been made in ICT, it still is meagre when compared to the more developed nations. Hence, while the market is still immature, there is great potential with nearly 50-60% of this population in the category of 18-34 age group. Thus, over a period of 1-2 years, we believe this market will begin to accept the technological advancements in Education and the market will boom.  

8. Tell us about your team, who do you have supporting you? How did this start?

I started on my own in August, 2013 but was very fortunate to have been joined by 2 colleagues I knew from my earlier days. The Head of Operations, Mr. PandurangaVittal is someone I have worked with very closely in my prior company. The Business Analyst, Mr. Sushant Malangave is my MBA college-mate. The other team members have joined us over time. We have spent days over days with multitude of interviews to find the right candidate. We are happy we spent our efforts fruitfully given our team today.

We were also fortunate to have been acquired by the Spearhead Group, in the initial days of our launch. Now, as a subsidiary of the Spearhead Group, we get the expertise of the board members to help us along with their contact base. It also helps us to outsource activities like HR, Payroll etc and helps us focus on our core business. We are also funded by Spearhead.

9. What/Who motivates you? Any thought leader or companies with innovation which you follow for success? (whether in the EdTech space or in general)

Udemy, as an organization, motivates me. I have been fascinated by the way they rope in industry stalwarts like Jack Welch and others for their Online Courses. I too strive to bring in a similar value proposition on Quality by bringing in the best faculties for any Course.

10. What are the biggest challenges of your edtech company?

Our biggest challenges were acquiring our First Faculty and Getting my core team. Faculties were heavily sceptical about our online product. It took a lot of efforts to convince them and after many weeks we got our first faculty to sign up. Today, we have faculties writing to us directly and asking for partnerships. As ApnaCourse stands today, I personally believe there are no new challenges, just opportunities to grow bigger.     

11. Who would you call your competitors? And how are you different?

Frankly, we are not pitted against any existing player. This is because we are both an MOOC and an e-training provider. MOOC’s like Coursera or Udemy are not in the space we are in and training providers like Simplilearn are not affordable like we are. Hence, being low on price points, providing quality with renowned faculties and being Online as an MOOC, we are unique in today’s marketplace.


About the Author
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EdTechReview (ETR) is a premier media platform and community for educational stakeholders to connect and find useful news, information and resources on educational technology having a niche subscriber base of 120K+ and an annual readership of 3M+ from over 220 countries and territories across the globe.
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