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Extra Localization Spells Udemy’s Plans for India


Those surviving through the tech industry meltdown would be well aware of the fact that upskilling and reskilling are the only ways for them to thrive in their jobs. Given that the education system hasn’t kept pace with the fast-changing knowledge and skill requirements for landing and retaining jobs, the need for a skill-development platform has been a long-felt need which Udemy has been providing.

The problem is a global one and players such as Udemy and Coursera have been giving a cutting edge to knowledge creation and dissemination across a wide spectrum of industries, right from technology to healthcare and everything in between. Udemy India Managing Director Irwin Anand spoke with CXOToday about how the company is adapting to India’s requirements and the traction it has generated.

CXOToday: Can you walk us through Udemy’s operations?

Irwin Anand: Udemy works on the premise of improving people’s lives through learning. We do that by aligning the right teacher with the learner. The objective is to help the learners gain skills that can be applied on their jobs right then. We are an online market place which allows any passionate and skilled person to teach by creating a course on our platform. These courses are accessible across the globe. At the moment, we have fifty thousand instructors, one lakh thirty thousand courses and twenty thousand plus topics. India is the 2nd largest market, outside US.

CXOToday: What is Udemy doing for enterprises and government?

Irwin Anand: India is our second largest market, outside U.S. Hence, this comes with a lot of responsibility to give out more. In this transforming period, we realized that enterprises as well as government entities, both are in the need of learning new skills. In order to stay relevant in the hyper-competitive environment, enterprises and government both need to invest in learning and upskilling. To help this further, we have rolled out “Udemy for businesses” and “Udemy for government”.

As part of “Udemy for Businesses”, our instructors provide practical skills that can be used on jobs instantly. Our customers for this particular segment include eighty percent of 100 fortune companies such as Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Tetra soft, Pinterest, Adidas, etc. We have a similar course structure for government employees so that they can be made an integral part of the Digital India movement. We can not name the department at the moment.

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CXOToday: How do you categorise your courses and what is the success rate?

Irwin Anand: We have categorised our courses into three buckets. The hard, technical skills bucket allow learners to participate in the on-going digital transformation journey. The second is the business skills: This bucket includes both, the hard and the soft skills. While the former deals with technical skills, the later deals with enhancing communications.  Then there is the life skills bucket where we believe life is not all about business and work. Hence, we have courses which can help you nurture life skills such as music, yoga, cooking etc. If seen from the revenue perspective, we accrue the most from the first bucket which deals with technical and programming skills. Some of our top courses are: Python, data science, and machine learning.

For measuring the success rate, we have not really done any quantified study. However, our reports have found that ninety percent of our participants have had positive impact on their professional lives. The aim of our courses is not to teach theory but practical skills which can be used right within a week of taking the course. We believe in instant enhancement.

CXOToday: What are your plans for the coming year?

Irwin Anand: We set up our India office in FY 2019, to grow the market and deliver a personalized and localised experience to our students and instructors in India. It’s been a truly foundational year. Basis insights coming from our consumers, we’ve optimized our mobile experiences, our pricing, our payment instruments and proactively invested to grow the market.

We also launched Udemy for Business, to cater to the appetite for Enterprise learning in India. We’ve doubled our business in India through the year, and see a lot of curiosity, growth and understanding of the importance of skilling and lifelong learning. In the next year, we will continue to invest in growing our Consumer, enterprise and government business, building local capabilities to help Indians become productive and competitive at work.

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