Does the tech-layoff pool spill into EdTech?

Dr. Santanu Paul, Founding CEO & MD of TalentSprint chalks down the current report-card and future score-sheets of the EdTech industry.

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Dr. Santanu Paul

Dr. Santanu Paul, Founding CEO & MD of TalentSprint chalks down the current report-card and future score-sheets of the EdTech industry.  He also weighs in the impact of US banking turmoil on Indian start-up whiteboards – turns out the recent fiascos could have a positive impact on start-ups in the longer term. From citizen-coding, tier3 towns to tech lay-offs- Let’s look at lessons Indian players picked up from all these tests, so far.


What formula has the company taken to continue its strategies and momentum despite the EdTech turbulence and funding-winters?

While some ripples of turbulence were felt across various sectors, within EdTech, the K-12 segment was primarily affected. DeepTech and executive education has always had a positive outlook. With working professionals often upskilling with new-age skill sets, executive education in deep-tech has never seen a downhill. We at TalentSprint specialize in a wide array of DeepTech exec-ed offerings. We have forayed into tech-infused management programs and have recently adopted innovative Hire-Train-Deploy (HTD) models. These segments have always performed well as working professionals continue to learn and relearn to stay relevant. Thus, we have continued to grow amidst the turbulence.

Regarding funding, we do not depend on private investors; we have the National Stock Exchange (NSE) as our main strategic investor. We continue to focus on responsible and positive growth, which has helped us grow consistently.


What implications can SVB (Silicon Valley Bank) and the following fiascos have on Indian start-ups on a one-year horizon?

The implications of any major incidents involving financial institutions can have a ripple effect on the broader business ecosystem, including start-ups. However, fiascos pertaining to the recent one involving SVB, its implications for Indian start-ups on a one-year horizon would depend on a variety of factors, including the nature of the incidents and how they are resolved, as well as broader economic and regulatory trends.

If the incidents related to SVB result in a loss of trust or confidence in the institution, it could have implications for the start-ups that rely on the bank for funding or other services. This could potentially lead to difficulties in accessing funding or other resources that could be critical for their growth.


Additionally, if the incidents are perceived as reflective of broader issues within the financial sector, it could result in increased scrutiny and regulation of the sector. This, in turn, could impact the availability and terms of funding for start-ups in the future.

On the other hand, if the incidents are effectively addressed and resolved, it could potentially restore confidence in the institution and the broader financial sector. This could have a positive impact on start-ups in the longer term, as it could lead to increased investment and support for the sector.

We have continued to grow amidst the turbulence.


What will Edtech look like in the next 2-3 years?

EdTech will continue to soar high over the next couple of years. According to reports, EdTech is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.6 per cent from 2023 to 2030.

EdTech predominantly came into existence because working professionals need to upskill continuously, top institutes’ ability to offer new-age programs, and edtech organizations who are facilitating the process of delivering content based on consumer needs.


Executive education is the new outlook of the edtech space.

Why? And how strongly?

Working professionals will continue to upskill to stay relevant and fuel professional growth at the forefront of evolving industries and technologies.


Today, organizations also embrace upskilling their employees as one of their main retention strategies. Therefore, top institutes are offering new-age, futuristic programs taught by accomplished faculty, thereby utilising their best-in-class expertise. These programs serve as additional revenue, ensuring the institutes become self-sustainable.

EdTech organizations come into play as disruptors who are enabling this seamless transition of online/hybrid learning. Interdependent among each other, these three driving stakeholders are creating an ever-growing circle of learning without limitations.

Can you tell us about the reasons, challenges, lessons, and progress of initiatives like the collaborations with top academic think-tanks, TechWise endeavors and deep learning courses?


Being the pioneers in Deeptech within the EdTech space, we are constantly on a lookout for the skill gaps and the market’s ability to bridge the gap. If we are able to identify a skill that is futuristic and needs to be built upon, we collaborate with top academic institutions who specialize in that domain to provide professionals with course content that fits the industry requirement. We reassess, reflect, and reiterate the curriculums to ensure they are futuristic enough to create a long lasting positive career impact for the learners.

What new do you bring to the table here?

There is enormous growth potential and market availability for gaining expertise from top academic institutions. Therefore, creating the right product for the right set of audience and fulfilling their career aspirations is both a challenge and an opportunity. While institutions deliver a curriculum based on their expertise, our job is to ensure professionals build proven expertise in their respective fields. Thus, we carry out thorough research to establish a near-perfect product market fit before we decide to launch any program. The curriculum must be futuristic enough to address the existing and future skill-gap in the market. The depth of learning and experiential- learning pedagogy must enable learners with the ability to apply those learnings in their field of work. These are some of the key challenges we try best to address while designing new-age programs.

How relevant and potent would young coders, citizen coders and women coders be - in the imminent future?

Young coders are digital native coders. They are fresh learners who constantly bring new perspectives to design products, and applications that stand out. Our Full Stack Developer program sees many of these young coders with a high potential, a hunger for learning, and a passion making it big in their life.

On the other hand, the entrepreneurial mindset of citizen coders will keep them in high demand. Their passion to develop innovative models with a frugal mindset doesn’t require any dependency on coding and hence, sets them apart. Our programs with Pega and Salesforce enable many citizen coders to master product development using low-code platforms and excel.

The women coders’ community is growing by the day.  According to reports, 37.1 per cent women graduated with degrees in computer and information sciences in 1984. Whereas, today the global representation of women stands at just 26 per cent.  Apart from bridging this gender gap in tech, women coders are constantly breaking stereotypes and shaping the tech world. Our Women Engineers (WE), supported by Google and Women in Software Engineering (WISE) programs, are paving the way for next-gen women coders.

How strong is India in skills for hardware, semicon, quantum computing and Metaverse- and does that matter?

India is making significant progress in developing the talent in emerging domains like semiconductors, quantum computing, and Metaverse technologies. However, it still lags behind China and the US regarding the semiconductor industry scale and sophistication. Now there is a strong focus by the government and the industry to bring fabrication capabilities within the country. With the demand for fabrications in India rising, there is a direct demand for professionals specialising in microelectronics and nanotechnology. Hence, it is imperative to develop talent in this emerging area.

India has much catching up to do compared to the US and China on quantum computing. India is also exploring Metaverse technologies, but it remains in the early stages of development. Though progress is significant, India still faces challenges in building a strong ecosystem and catching up with other established nations.

As for hardware, hardware is the central force behind the penetration and growth of semicon, quantum computing and Metaverse, thus making all these industries interdependent.

How would the suddenly-free talent pool (after big tech layoffs) approach learning and re-learning?

To address talent layoff, it is crucial to understand the 3 main reasons why employees are laid off -such as underperformance, redundant skills, and relevant skills on stalled projects. Underperforming professionals or professionals with redundant skills working on stalled projects will be invested in re-learning as they require sharpening existing skills and gaining new expertise to stay active in the competitive market. Whereas, professionals with relevant skills working on stalled projects due to lack of deployment may not seem welcoming towards relearning. Since, they tend to switch jobs to utilize their existing skill set.

Has Indian EdTech been able to address inclusivity, last-mile reach, and tier-3 city coverage well so far?

Big EdTech companies primarily focus on capturing the attention of metropolitan or tier-1 cities for the predominant population for executive education. However, the K-12 segment and college education focus enables them to penetrate into tier-2 and 3 cities and rural belts.

Our flagship program like Women Engineers (WE), offered by TalentSprint and supported by Google addresses inclusivity, and last mile reach to tier-3 cities. WE is a 24-month, immersive and LIVE online learning experiential program designed for 1st year women engineering students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in India. Across five cohorts launched so far, WE has received over 100,000 applications from 11,000+ pin codes across India, covering 10,000+ colleges.

What's lined up on your drawing board next? What's exciting next?

Amidst all the negative sentiments about EdTech and the market volatility, our focus will be to continue to register a responsible and positive growth YoY. We have 45+ programs and are forged into 14+ partnerships by foraying into new domains such as management, leadership and new segments like K-12. We will continue to expand our B2B portfolio and invest in tried and tested business models that drive business profitability and significant impact on the learning outcomes of our learners.

We are committed to deliver the impact of every penny invested by learners through the career transformation of professionals. We want to continue to design and develop new programs in the DEI space to transform careers at a larger scale.

By Pratima H

DQ Online