Transforming the AI Employment Landscape - AlmaBetter Data Science LER Program

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India has always been home to innovation and creativity, fostering human development over many centuries. Sadly these virtues have not fully manifested themselves in shaping the current higher education system despite having world class institutions such as IITs, IIMs, etc.

Students normally graduate from colleges with huge debt after graduation that they need to repay over a long duration. And conventional jobs are not lucrative enough. Those don’t give adequate funds to meet their monthly expenses or pay off the tuition balances.

Practically, there is a disconnect between affordable education and profitable jobs. It is with this problem that we are faced today. This grotesque mismatch spells huge economic concerns over time. It causes disruption in the current economic scenario and threatens to create long-term damage to our human capital.

Unfortunately, this crucial lacuna has often been overlooked or overshadowed by other issues. And this in turn has inhibited the society from addressing it boldly and effectively.

Although the revolutionary advances in technology have given new momentum to our education system, our contemporary education cannot be reconciled with the society’s requirements. Today, there is a gargantuan shortage of skills and talent, which is a direct outcome of an outdated education model. Even as we witness an exponential surge in Artificial Intelligence (AI) related job opportunities, there is an acute shortage of skilled workforce with AI, machine learning and data science skills even in the information technology sector.

Evidently, there arises a dire need for providing quality education and jobs to minimize this glaring discrepancy between educated youth and lucrative employment opportunities. This is where AlmaBetter comes with its upskilling venture that strives to make learning easily accessible for the aspiring students.

AlmaBetter - Latest News

June 17, 2021 - AlmaBetter has allocates funds worth Rs 2 crores to train 25,000 aspiring data science students and make them employment-ready by March 2022.

AlmaBetter - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-AlmaBetter
  • Headquarters-Bengaluru
  • Founders-Shivam Dutta and Vikash Shrivastava
  • Founded-2020
  • Sector-Edtech
  • Funding-Bootstrapped

AlmaBetter - Founders and Team

Shivam Dutta 

AlmaBetter, founded by two IIT Kharagpur graduates, Shivam Dutta and Vikash Srivastava, to address the major challenges of upskilling in the rapidly evolving world of technology.

AlmaBetter - About

AlmaBetter is a platform for students to utilize their potential and to demonstrate their real-world skills. It brings together students and professionals. Through this platform, students can learn modern-day skills at a prescribed optimal pace. No tuition is required for the learners to enroll for the program. Upon finding a job after graduation, a small monthly payment is made by them for some period of time while they get settled down in their respective jobs.

"Education is a major component that can break down all social inequities, and AlmaBetter can provide a pathway to thousands of people to build their careers in Artificial Intelligence, thus making a profound impact in the world.”, says Vikash who heads the learning department at AlmaBetter.

Shivam, who heads the placement department, says “Traditional education puts all the risk on an individual student, while skill schools like AlmaBetter can remove the risk of education and provide equity on the skill frontier. Financial risk associated with education is a major cause of anxiety among students.”

AlmaBetter provides a Data Science program, popularly known as ‘Learn-Earn-Return’ or LER program. This 8 month long program is meant for final year students, graduates and working professionals aspiring to get best paying jobs in the domain of Data Science. Almabetter focuses on students’ success by taking every measure to meet their learning outcomes. In a day to day academic schedule, live lectures, live doubts sessions, assignments and quizzes are conducted not only to impart knowledge in the subject but also to increase their confidence level by providing a venue for interaction with experts in the field with regular guest lectures. This ensemble learning approach ensures that each student is confident and prepared enough for Data Science roles.

Almabetter offers strong placement support through an expanding network of hiring partners across various high growth startups, mid-sized companies and big firms looking forward to recruiting graduates from this program. Starting from resume workshops, job portfolio building and interview rehearsals, profiles of students are forwarded to a large number of organizations operating in various domains. Thus, they help students secure a job above 6 LPA or make 25% more than their previous salary. Once the students fulfill these terms and conditions they can opt for tuition  fee payment through easy monthly installments considering an Income Share Agreement.

A perfect blend of personalized mentorship and dedicated career coaching ensures guaranteed success of their students. Each student has the option of choosing their career coach who is a highly experienced professional from top companies and provides personal attention towards each student's placement struggles. At times students might face problems understanding a particular aspect or solving their respective assignments which prompts a friendly mentor for necessary help and guidance.

AlmaBetter - Startup Story

Shivam Dutta, an IIT KGP alumni, worked at Reliance Industries and then at Radware and Blackbuck where he served the role of statistical modelling engineer. He was involved in the role of hiring employees for the data science roles, which later turned into a huge beneficial role after he founded AlmaBetter to fuel his entrepreneurial dreams.

Shivam started the company in August 2020 with an aim to supply skilled data scientists to the industry. His IIT-KGP wingmate, Vikash Shrivastava was soon to follow him as the Co-founder of the company. Together they dream of training talents and preparing them for the rapidly pacing industry ahead within 6-8 months.

AlmaBetter - Business and Revenue Model

AlmaBetter is designed to extend cohort-based courses ranging from Data Science, Machine Learning, Deep Learning to other cutting-edge tech courses for the aspiring students. The company extends a 32-week instructor-led programme for the students who are willing to delve into the promising world of tech and ensures that they get well-placed with a handsome salary ranging between Rs 6-25 lakhs per annum. The students need to pay only after they get placed in data science roles at any of the fast-growing startups or Fortune 500 companies.

The business model of AlmaBetter can be described as a PAP (Pay After Placement) model. Though the model, as described by the company, is “risk-heavy” they have taken it up for empowering students and get a considerable profit out of it. However, the PAP business model of the company demands a stringent selection process of hand-picking the top talents, who would be assets to any organization when supplied with the necessary skills, which AlmaBetter provides them with!

The income sharing model that the company has undertaken helps it receive an income of Rs 3 lakh per student, where the students who are trained by the company are bound to pay them Rs 10,000 for 30 months, “only after they start earning,” goes the words of the founder. Newton School, Lambda School, Masai School and Konfinitty are some other popular companies that have already embraced the income-sharing agreements (ISA) with their students.

The revenue run rate of the company may be slow at present but once the company will successfully crack the formula of student success, then value will soon follow. “Our mantra is value and not valuation”, said the Founder-CEO of the company, Shivam.

AlmaBetter - Competitors

Some of the competitors of AlmaBetter can be listed as:

  • Newton School
  • Lambda School
  • Masai School
  • Konfinitty
  • upGrad
  • Udemy
  • Coursera
  • Simplilearn
  • Masterclass

While the first four companies share AlmaBetter’s revenue model of paying after placement, AlmaBetter also has a tough competition ahead with the already established Edtech platforms that offer certification programmes in data science and AI.

AlmaBetter - Funding and Investors

Founded recently in August 2020, by Shivam Dutta, AlmaBetter is still standing unfunded. The bootstrapped company is currently looking forward to receiving its maiden round, Pre-Series A, of funding in order to launch new courses and expand the business geographically. Any news of its funding will come live shortly after it starts receiving funds.

AlmaBetter - Growth

EdTech startup AlmaBetter is gaining significant interest for its unique model from thousands of students. Due to its successful past batches, AlmaBetter has already become a partner-of-choice for several reputed companies throughout the country. It aims at  nurturing a new generation of tech workforce equipped with Artificial Intelligence skills and thus, revolutionizing the traditional education industry.

AlmaBetter has already been successful in roping in over 120 hiring partners, which includes some of the biggest brands of India - Flipkart, Paytm, Delhivery, Ola, Swiggy, PaisaBazaar, and other recognized MNCs, which are usually spoken of highly like Accenture, Oracle, HSBC, Microsoft, Citibank and more.

AlmaBetter launched its first cohort in October 2020 and has already reported having registered 40,000 users successfully by May 2021. Furthermore, it has also recorded a 30% month-on-month growth of its paid memberships.

AlmaBetter - Future Plans

With the rapid implementation of automation across diverse industries, upskilling is turning into a necessity, says Shivam. This is what will make AlmaBetter attain its goal of growing its learner community to 1-2 lakh by 2022.

AlmaBetter is eyeing to raise a Pre-Series A round to launch new courses in product management and software development and to fulfill their aim of expanding to other geographies. This will help AlmaBetter slowly inch towards satiating the global demand for data science learning.

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