Simplilearn: How a blog turned into a professional training startup

Edutech or e-learning is gaining a foothold in India, but this wasn’t the case back in 2009 when Krishna Kumar started his blog called Simplilearn.com.


Edutech or e-learning is gaining a foothold in India, but this wasn’t the case back in 2009 when Krishna Kumar started his blog called Simplilearn.com. Today, with close to 500 employees and office operations in San Jose, California and Bangalore, it’s a professional training startup aimed at the upskilling and reskilling of working professionals across the world. It's available to access on the web and also in the form of iOS and Android apps.

Kumar, the CEO and founder of Simplilearn has always been inclined towards education. He started blogging in 2009 after he sold his first venture named TechUnified. "The blog was a personal platform where I helped PMP aspirants to crack their certification examinations through audio and visual e-tutorials. There was a surge of people visiting the blog from various parts of the world and in less than nine months, I trained over 3,000 professionals from over 30 countries. Over time, I realized that this personal blog on project management had immense potential to become an online business that can cater to the training needs of professionals,” he tells us.

Simplilearn blends modern online learning models and next-gen customer experience, offering short-term certification courses in domains like Digital marketing, Big Data, Data Science, Mobile App Development, IT Security and Project Management, among others. According to Kumar, the aim of offering short term yet accredited training that will directly influence and increase the career opportunities for professionals sets it apart from other, similar ventures.

“Our courses bring tangible impact to individuals and result in better jobs, higher salary packages and so on. Leveraging the latest technologies to offer best-in-class online training experience, we’ve also pioneered several industry firsts like the Flexible Online Classroom, Global Teaching Assistants and bringing gamification to courses like Agile Scrum Master,” he said.

He further explains that professionals want to learn new skills but struggle with physical classrooms due to time constraints and other logistics issues. Besides, several e-learning options have low engagement. At Simplilearn, the default offering is the Flexi Online Classroom that combines the interactivity of classrooms and the on-demand nature of online learning, he adds. “It lets learners attend unlimited live online sessions with world class trainers, unbound by geographies and time-zones,” he further added.

Simplilearn has raised $28 million in capital, so far. The latest funding was in April 2015, with $15M in Series C funding from Mayfield Fund, Kalaari Capital and Helion Venture Partners. The startup makes money by charging a fee per course and also via subscription to its entire catalogue.

Kumar says that now the plan is to strengthen the courses Simplilearn offers and also add newer categories like finance, HR and so on. “Our robust technology and recurring innovations on the product front will help us reach a much wider consumer base,” he said. It is hoping to transform careers of at least 180,000 professionals this year.


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