Q1: Tell us something about Disprz. What inspired you to start this venture? Share your journey so far with us.
Response: Over the years, transformations and disruptions have taken over the way we work – from automation to pandemic-accelerated advancements to the rapidly changing workstyles. Businesses need to have the right people in the right roles with the right skills, to ensure they stay relevant and win amidst all the changes. That’s what Disprz helps do. Disprz offers an AI-based learning & skilling suite that lets learning & business heads identify the skills needed for every role, assess skill gaps, bridge them and align the skilling impact with business outcomes.
Kuljit Chadha & I co-founded Disprz with a passion for making workplace learning more engaging, scientific, and tech-led. The story of how we entered this space starts before the inception of Disprz, in fact, from our previous EdTech venture that was founded to bring learning outcomes to the classroom. That got us thinking, why not bring a similar level of disruption to the corporate environment? We identified a huge gap in workforce learning – a skill-based system – the missing link that can align learning with business impact.
We built a powerful platform introducing skill-based thinking that uses the language of skills to describe the proficiency of every worker, and have now unified the learning & skilling experience with the help of data & AI to create business impact for organizations, by keeping their frontline and the knowledge workforce job-ready always.
From just a 5 member team in 2015 to now an organization with 300+ employees, customers in every continent of the world, and 1.8 million users, the journey has been nothing short of stimulating.
Q2: How does L&D really help in attaining business objectives in terms of talent attrition and employee engagement? Especially when you recently launched a guidebook on ‘War For Talent’?
Response: With rapidly shifting roles, widening talent gaps, changing preferences, and declining employee engagement, the L&D heads are facing multiple challenges at once, that call for a need to brace themselves for a whole new talent war. It’s time we start leveraging learning & development as a lever to align the changing employee sentiments with business requirements. A business that invests in skilling its workforce, not merely gets ready to take on newer business opportunities, rather also retains its best talent by assuring the career investment they are ready to make. In the recent guidebook that Disprz created in collaboration with ETHR World, we have spoken with L&D experts from around the world to explore the way forward for L&D teams to win this war and emerge a step stronger and more skilled.
Q3: When L&D programs are digital i.e. without any manual intervention, how can employee learning/ performance outcome be measured by HRs/ team heads?
Response: The problem of skilling has been costing companies a fortune. Skilling is no longer a discretionary HR initiative but a mandatory business requirement. Moreover, with teams working from different locations, in different roles, and with different skill requirements, workplace training has grown beyond just learning administration and classroom delivery. There’s a need for learning interactions to happen on the go, on the job, in a personalized way, and at scale. For example, with Disprz, L&D and HR teams are able to identify skill gaps at an organizational, team & individual level by conducting skill assessments online. This provides them a skill score and role fitment score that indicates the proficiency of the employees in that particular skill/role. Based on the skill the business prioritizes, AI auto-recommends the most relevant & engaging content to bridge the skill gap. Over the course of time, the L&D and business heads can see the needle move and derive a correlation between learning and business outcomes.
Q4: Tell us something about how Disprz addresses L&D gaps for blue collared workforce/ frontline workers?
Response: Frontline employees play a significant role in determining a company’s reputation in front of the customers. They are usually not connected to the heart of the company, but still very close to the consumer. They don’t usually work from a common location and are distributed (infact, ‘Disprz’ stands for dispersing business impact to the geographically dispersed workforce), and this presents unique challenges. We wanted to ensure they deliver a great experience by being enabled with the right information & skills. With this vision, we launched the Frontline Enablement Solution exclusively to address the needs of the frontline workforce. With onboarding workflows that can get them job-ready from Day 1, to KPI-linked coaching to keep them productive on the job, to talent mobility solutions that help them gear up for the next role, Disprz takes frontline enablement to a new level.
To us, it’s not only about making a profit, but it’s about impacting lives. We are incredibly proud of the number of lives we touch every day to help them perform their best, grow in their careers, and lead better lives.
Q5: Recently, Disprz has received an award for Most Likely To Be Unicorn, any funding / expansion plans in the pipeline?
Response: We are humbled by the recognitions & acknowledgments we have been receiving for our growth potential. Right from the beginning, our vision is to become global. Right now, less than 40% of our revenue comes from India. We ventured internationally very early, entered the SEA and Middle East markets, and now exploring new market opportunities for our growth in the US, and UK.
Subramanian Viswanathan (Subbu) is one of the brains behind the launch of Disprz – an AI-powered learning & skilling suite empowering companies to right-skill their workforce to win in the digital-first world launched in 2015. Disprz is a SaaS start-up in the learning and skilling tech space nearing $10 million in revenue that boasts of clientele as the top corporates in India, Southeast Asia, Middle East.
Back in 2004, Subbu started his entrepreneurial journey with a startup called Fruition Morgensoft. This start-up developed an indigenous ERP software for SME manufacturers in India – this was a completely bootstrapped venture that was acquired by 3i Infotech in 2007 for $1 million back in the day. His second start-up was called Harness, post a successful stint at McKinsey London that was in the EdTech space, much before the current boom. Subbu created a never-seen-before tablet-based live collaboration platform for schools that aimed to replace notebooks with digital ink in a shared whiteboard setting.
During his four-year tenure at McKinsey, he won an internal award called Practice Olympics which celebrates entrepreneurship within McKinsey.
Subbu holds a great academic record with a flair for entrepreneurship, a combination that is rare. He is a national topper in Class XII, a rank holder at IIT-Madras and a gold medallist at Indian School of Business.