The world has woken up to a future that’s powered by blockchain, but are Indian students skilled enough? Aware of the huge gap, Saurabh Sharma, 22, joined hands with two other young engineers, to launch a blockchain school. Their idea was one: to upskill students and solve the unemployment issue in India.
Inspired by his parents, who ran small businesses, Saurabh started exploring entrepreneurship at the age of 19. Keen on blockchain, he soon realised there was no formal education in engineering colleges for this subject.
Watch Saurabh Sharma in conversation with YourStory here:
While in Pune, Saurabh, who is studying in ADY Patil University, befriended Vishwajeet Ranade, 23, and Kaivan Doshi, 21, fellow engineers from the University of Pune, and began to discuss how they could build a blockchain business. Vishwajeet was a certified IBM blockchain developer and a filmmaker, while Kaivan was adept at encryption and cybersecurity.
The trio realised that it would best to launch a certification programme around blockchain and make it affordable for developers to learn.
Pune-based TheBlockchainschool.io was born in December 2018, and the startup took flight in June 2019 after the trio set up an ecosystem of trainers and industry partners. The trio bootstrapped the company with less than Rs 10 lakh.
“Through our international media partnerships, especially on the rising tech front like blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), we came across a grave problem statement. We observed a great vacuum in this new tech segment despite the massive potential with rapidly rising requirements of professionals,” says Saurabh, Founder and CEO of TheBlockchainSchool.io.
According to industry sources and Japanese blockchain school Emurgo, more than 95 percent of the people entering the job pool today don't understand blockchain.
“To counter this imbalance of demand-supply, we thought of building a one-stop solution for tech enthusiasts to gain the right skillset and then help them land the right job,” Saurabh says.
The blockchainschool.io offers:
● Courses at affordable pricing
● Next-generation blockchain content that is best explained through code and graphics
● Digital and physical training with blockchain experts, community meetups and mentor sessions
● Automated recruitment, an automated engine with blockchain-related job listings
● The Blockchain School passport, which lets students be a part of blockchain conferences across the world
● Freelance and project listings, which allow students to get recognition by freelancing with industry partners
● Certifications, forums, mentor support, and other benefits.
The company offers a six-month subscription programme at Rs 7,000; 200 students have already signed up.
“It's early days yet. We'll be collaborating with colleges, corporates, and independent hosts to conduct bootcamps across India to spread awareness about blockchain technology. These bootcamps will gradually be converted to workshops, training sessions, lectures, and offline learning activities,” Saurabh says.
The pan-India bootcamps will run from September 2019 to June 2020.
The blockchain startup also plans to launch an online learning portal to conduct certification exams and courses. Both offline and online learning methods have been planned, keeping the requirements of the learners in mind.
Saurabh says their school has “developed individual strategies for each geography, depending upon their standards”. However, he did not want to disclose industry partners or numbers at this stage.
According to KPMG estimates, the size of India's e-learning market was $247 million, comprising 1.6 million users in 2016, and is expected to grow six times to 9.6 million users by 2021. India's e-learning market is the second largest after the US.
"We're making sure the learning is interactive and practicality-oriented. We have developed courses that match up to industry standards and will nurture the right skill set in students,” Saurabh says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)