Nurturing young minds to make them job-ready

Ashwini Ajila. DH Photo: Janardhan B K

To bridge this gap and build a robust ecosystem in fast growing sectors, iNurture was founded in 2009. The aim of the company is to create a strong knowledge capital.

Talking about its beginnings, Ashwin Ajila, Co-Founder and Managing Director of iNurture Education Solutions Pvt Ltd says, “A team from the animation industry met me saying that the industry will build the curriculum and that whether I can take it up to colleges and universities. They could not work with a single university as it will cater to only 40 to 50 people, but we can take it up to 25 universities.”

The entire curriculum was designed and validated by the people from the industry and iNurture took it up to universities and offered them the programme that the industry wants but universities did not have.

“We said we will manage end-to-end services, and that the university will provide us the campus, local brand and a degree,” says Ajila. iNurture started off with BSc animation programme across four campuses, and within two years, it got a query from the IT industry to take up a similar model. Today, the biggest vertical for the company is IT.

“We offer courses in Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Cloud Technology, Information Security and Internet of Things, among others. We recently started courses in Blockchain and Crypto,” adds Ajila. iNurture offers 54 different programmes under verticals like Management, Commerce, Animation, Design and IT. Under each of these verticals, it offers various courses. It has partnered with 30 universities.

Scalable model

From 2009 to 2014, the company signed one university partner a year. The first five years were tough as it was a unique model, but after 2014, there was no looking back as it started becoming a go-to partner for universities. It has partnered with Srinivas University in Mangaluru to bring cutting-edge courses to the mainstream. “We are also looking to tie up with one university in North Karnataka,” he informs.

“We design the programme, the curriculum, recruit and train faculty, and we don’t have a single campus and all these without spending on a brick-and-mortar,” says the founder.

iNurture has best-in-class faculty with significant industry experience. With 420 full-time faculties and 170 part-time faculties, the total strength of the company is 900.

At present, 10,000 students are undergoing various programmes of iNurture and overall, 5,000 students have gone through the programmes so far. The company offers technology-enabled learning and LMS for anytime, anywhere study.

Online and skilling programmes

What iNurture does offline, it is also doing online now, and the company is also building skill centres. “We have started off these skill centres with Tier-III cities,” says Ajila.

In May this year, it acquired KRACKIN, a student engagement and employability platform, for an undisclosed amount.

It is a mobile-led engagement platform which brings industry and academia into a single distinct symbiotic ecosystem. It enables continuous and active engagement with student community.

Using artificial intelligence-based algorithm, it helps students discover skill gaps and provide employability skills, among others. The company also plans to launch new courses such as oil and gas, banking and finance and logistics.

Ajila says years from now courses in Data Science, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Mobility will be popular. By 2021, it wants to partner with 50 universities and bring in 25,000 students into the system. “Cloud security will become a norm. Machine will do all the coding but we need someone to operate it. Today’s younger generation knows what exactly are jobs of tomorrow,” he adds.

Bringing International schools to India

iNurture is becoming a preferred partner for foreign institutes to foray into India. It has tied up with Galileo Global Education, which is the biggest higher education group in Europe.

Along with Galileo, iNurture will offer three courses- Design (transport design), Digital Leadership and Business School (focused on building digital leaders
of tomorrow) and Management School (like sports management, luxury programme).

“We have started our first school in Bengaluru and we have already admitted
100 students into the programme. While 30% of the faculty are from abroad, the rest are from India,” says Ajila.

While Indian courses cost Rs 1.25 lakh – Rs 2 lakh a year, international programmes cost anywhere between Rs 3.5 lakh and Rs 7.5 lakh a year.

Going global

The company is also planning to go global next year.

“We have been asked to come and replicate the same model in Africa, West Asia and South East Asia. In emerging economies, there is a huge gap in the employability and education,” says the founder.

iNurture has raised Rs 130 crore so far from investors that include Ventureast, Bertelsmann Investments, and Ascent Capital, among others. It expects to turn profitable this year. “This year, our revenues will be Rs 120 crore and profit will be Rs 8 crore. Next year, we are eyeing Rs 180 crore revenues and Rs 35 crore profit,” says Ajila.

Talking about the company’s acquisition plan, Ajila says that at least three Ed-tech startups have approached them for acquiring, and that they are evaluating proposals.

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