Eruditus - How is it Providing Executives Access to Affordable, High-Quality Education Successfully?

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Executive education refers to academic programs at graduate-level business schools for executives, business leaders, and functional managers globally. These programs are generally non-credit and non-degree-granting, but sometimes lead to certificates and some offer continuing education units accepted by professional bodies and institutes.

Getting hold of such executive programs was not easy when Eruditus began its journey in 2010. Now when executive courses and studies are becoming commonplace for business executives and professionals, Eruditus Executive Education can be recalled as one of the industry leaders that has witnessed major growth and pivoted successfully. Eruditus is currently offering high-quality executive education programs to corporations and participants across the globe.

Curious to know all about Eruditus, Eruditus founders, Eruditus website and check out the status of executive education in India? Then here's the StartupTalky article covering the success story of Eruditus Executive Education.    

Eruditus - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-Eruditus Executive Education
  • Headquarters-Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Industry-Education and Training
  • Founded -2010
  • Valuatio-$3.2 billion (August 2021)
  • Total Funding-$1.2 bn (March 2022)
  • Revenue-$185 million (FY21)
  • Founders-Chaitanya Kalipatnapu and Ashwin Damera
  • Area Served-Worldwide

Eruditus - About and How it Works?

Eruditus provides executive education programs intended for mid-career professionals. The company's portfolio of customized and open programs are designed and conducted in alliance with global leading business schools in a range of formats, including short workshops spanning a few weeks, online programs, or complete modular sessions, enabling professionals to get access to relevant programs that help them get new knowledge and grow in their careers.

Eruditus executive business courses deliver high-quality executive education programs to corporations and participants across the globe. The Company's programs are created using a broad spectrum of learning methods and modules, all put together to adapt to one's busy schedules and work commitments.

Eruditus' programs are designed in a way that one can learn through actual classroom interactions, online sessions, case studies, real-time simulations, and practical exercises that push everyone right in the face of dealing with challenges.

The Eruditus group, consisting of Eruditus Executive Education and its online division Emeritus, partners with top-tier universities across the United States, Europe, Latin America, India, and China to bring world-class business and professional education to a global audience.

Eruditus has partnered with more than 30 universities to date, including MIT, Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge, INSEAD, Wharton, UC Berkeley, INCAE, IIT, IIM, NUS, and HKUST, launching more than 100 courses and serving students from more than 80 countries. Many courses are offered and facilitated in multiple languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin.

Eruditus' programs would encourage one to ask relevant questions, provoke strategic thinking, and debate with peers – skills that one can put to use even in the everyday office environment.

Eruditus - Emeritus

Emeritus (a U.S-Indian company) is the online branch of Eruditus. It was founded in 2014 as a response to the growth in digital learning. Specifically, it took the core elements of Eruditus — which include helping educational institutions design new curriculums — and applied them to the online space to develop certificate courses and online degrees.

The company has offices in Boston — where it works to develop curriculum content — as well as Dubai, Mexico, Mumbai, and Singapore. In total, it has some 350 employees, while its partners include MIT, Columbia, Tuck at Dartmouth, Wharton, UC Berkeley, and London Business School.

"Today, Emeritus accounts for most of the business’s growth potential and is really the focus of this investment," co-founder and director Ashwin Damera said. “We’re helping working professionals who can’t otherwise come to these schools to access high-quality educational content online and It’s very different from a MOOC [such as Coursera  or Udemy],  we are a SPOC — small, private, online course.”

Eruditus - Founders and Team

Eruditus was founded in 2010 by Chaitanya Kalipatnapu and Ashwin Damera.

Chaitanya Kalipatnapu

Chaitanya Kalipatnapu serves as the Co-founder and Executive Director of Eruditus Executive along with being a lecturer of INSEAD. After graduating with MSc in Information Systems from BITS Pilani, Kalipatnapu started working as a Technical Staff at Sun Microsystems. He then became a Product Manager at INSEAD and eventually completed his MBA in General Management from INSEAD. Then, he decided to found Eruditus. Chaitanya is also the Co-founder of Emeritus.  

Ashwin Damera

Ashwin Damera is an ACA from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, after which he completed an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Damera was a Portfolio Risk Manager at Citibank and eventually founded TravelGuru. Selling his first company he then founded Eruditus. Damera is currently the Co-founder and CEO of Eruditus.

Eruditus currently works with a team of 2300+ employees who work globally.

Eruditus - Startup Story

At a time when the online education space is booming and valuations doubling and tripling in the blink of an eye, it's tempting to assume that this is all there is to it. But for a large part of Damera and Eruditus’ journey, it wasn’t even about the “growth at all costs,” which they and all startups preach today. It was slow, steady, under the radar -- and it is what defines Eruditus even today.

Eruditus Executive Education started in 2010, with faculty from INSEAD and the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) teaching a 10 day-classroom program in a 5-star hotel for 10-15 people. No internet, no tech, no venture capital. From the beginning, Eruditus has focused on executive education - short to long courses for experienced professionals - say with 5 to 10 years of experience  -  in fields such as management, leadership, banking, and finance.

Ashwin Damera and Chaitanya Kalipatnapu were graduates from the prestigious ivy leagues and then started Eruditus. Eruditus Executive was founded to support the business executives of India by providing them with executive courses from the leading global universities. Ashwin is an MBA degree holder from Harvard Business School, but he ruminates that he was fortunate to get one such degree but what about the rest of the Indians. Why should they lag behind?

Eruditus aims to make high-quality education accessible and affordable. This is the primary goal behind the venture. The mentoring idea was equally weighted by Chaitanya, who holds an MBA from INSEAD.

The beginning of Ashwin's entrepreneurial dreams took flight first in the form of an online travel startup in 2005, which he eventually sold in 2009, and was later acquired by Yatra - one of India’s preeminent online travel aggregators today. After this, he decided to get started with a new venture in the healthcare or education segment.  

“See, universities have built an amazing business model around rejecting people. This education changed our lives, but how can we change others’ lives?” Damera says.

Eruditus initially began with small offline classes that the company conducted for the management executives in India. Here, the professors used to visit from global universities. However, the startup launch of the company was not really smooth because numerous universities were not convinced about the model of Eruditus' business, and it took some convincing to onboard them.

Eruditus - Logo and its Meaning

The Eruditus logo has its name highlighted which means a scholar who is erudite (Latin: eruditus) when instruction and reading followed by digestion and contemplation have effaced all rudeness, that is to say, smoothed away all the raw, untrained incivilities.

Eruditus - Mission

The mission of Eruditus is "to increase access to world-class executive education to executives from every part of the world." In fulfilling this mission, Eruditus has partnered with the best business schools in the world and creates programmes delivered both in the classroom and online.

Eruditus - Business Model

Eruditus partners with global Ivy League business schools to offer blended classroom and online learning programs for working professionals across the world. The programs are aimed at helping a participant evolve from functional to management leadership roles.

Eruditus - Growth and Revenue

Eruditus' core India business is already profitable, said Eruditus' Cofounder and CEO in a report dated June 4, 2022.

"We are the largest start-up in the higher education space coming from India, much higher than UpGrad and Great Learning," said Eruditus founder Ashwin Damera, who further added that the company is aiming to even surpass Coursera in the upcoming 12 months. Eruditus registered $175 mn in bookings revenue in FY20, which was around $93 mn in the previous fiscal, thereby recording a 2X growth.

Eruditus launched partnerships with Harvard, Wharton, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and others, persuading each of them, one by one. It also launched classes in Southeast Asia and Dubai and is currently operating from offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Shanghai, Singapore, Palo Alto, Mexico City, New York, Boston, London, and Dubai.

Some major growth highlights of Eruditus are:

  • It has partnered with more than 50 universities to date, which includes MIT, Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge, INSEAD, Wharton, UC Berkeley, INCAE, IIT, IIM, NUS, and HKUST.
  • It takes pride in educating more than 250,000 individuals, who come from more than 80 countries.
  • The courses that Eruditus offers are facilitated in multiple languages, including Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

Eruditus Financials

Eruditus, the online education startup, recorded a revenue of $100 million in FY20 and was looking to raise the revenue by the end of FY21. The brand successfully ramped up its revenue, concluding FY21 with $185 million in revenue. The operating revenue of Eruditus rose by 71%, from $76.8 million to become $131.2 million during FY21. Eruditus is now looking to more than double its revenue by the end of FY22.

The company's expenses were registered at $117.1 mn in FY20, which became $397.4 million in FY21. When it comes to profit and loss, the company, which witnessed a loss of $39.2 million in FY20, saw its losses balloon to $264.2 million during FY21. Looking at Eruditus' global operations, the company's largest market in terms of revenues is the USA, which contributed $49.73 million, and accounted for 38% of the revenues it has seen in FY21.

Eruditus - Competitors

Top Eruditus competitors include:

  • Academic & Professional Studies Abroad (APSA)
  • Toppr
  • BYJU'S
  • Vedantu
  • Unacademy
  • UNIVentures
  • Babson
  • HEC Paris
  • Reyna Overseas
  • Xyleme
  • UniServity

Eruditus - Challenges Faced

It took Damera six years, till 2016, to get Eruditus to annual revenue of $10 million. Growing slowly, steadily, without fuss or hype. The plan to go online changed everything and made it the tech company you see today. But the decision was not easy.

Today, at a time when many startups raise millions before they even have a product, sometimes purely on an idea or the founder’s reputation, raising money six years in stands out.

While it took six years to get $10 million in revenue, in four more years, it has zoomed to $100 million revenues in FY20 - a figure Damera wants to double next year while staying profitable. Eruditus is currently profitable on an Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) basis, a metric of operating profits. Damera says 100,000 students will learn on Eruditus this year, compared to 50,000 last fiscal.

“Had we raised money in 2010-11 it would have been problematic. Raising money much later gave us time to build our product, understand the market, and honestly, stay under the radar,” he adds.

It’s quite glamorous to talk about success, but it was the failure of their first program that played an important role in shaping the Eruditus business model. They launched a 3-month executive program in the Indian market with the idea that they can assemble the best faculty and practitioners, with an equal dose of lectures, applications, and projects to create a blockbuster program.

While it had all the ingredients of success, after a three-month-long marketing cycle, they were only able to enrol 21 participants. The company ran the program, of course, at a huge loss but it gave them invaluable experience on how to position and execute a world-class program.

They realized that it was not enough just to have the best of faculty, but also needed a brand on which to carry the program. This helped them define their “product-market-fit”, made them navigate towards collaborating with top universities and defined their business model going forward.

Despite the challenges - of a random Indian startup tying up with the world’s top B-Schools, of crunched timings and seasonal classes - it was working. Students were showing up every time, professors were showing up every time and the feedback was good.

Eruditus Layoffs

Among the streak of layoffs, most of which are popping up from the edtech space, comes Eruditus' news of layoffs, where the company has laid off 40 of its employees. Co-founder and CEO of Eruditus, Ashwin Damera has mentioned in a report dated June 4, 2022, that the company's layoffs have been executed throughout the past month. According to Eruditus, 80 of Eruditus' employees left the company, and 40 of them submitted their resignations voluntarily. Half of its talent acquisition workforce, containing 30 employees, has now been trimmed. The current workforce of Eruditus is 2300. Damera also said that the company has hired close to 1300 people over the last 12 months but during this year, it has planned to hire only 100-150 people mostly in the tech and product teams. Besides, to achieve profitability, the startup aims to put a stop to the expansion plans. Eruditus, like other many other Indian startups, is currently aware of the reduced funding ahead, where marquee investors, which includes Eruditus investor SoftBank, have informed Eruditus to cut costs and strengthen its unit economics. The Damera-led startup has laid out its employees and has joined the likes of Vedantu, Unacademy, WhiteHat Jr., FrontRow, Lido, and more have laid off their employees, and Udayy has been shut down altogether. Around 3079 employees have been laid off by over 8 edtech companies.

Eruditus - Future Plans

Over the next 10 years, the company's goal is to expand its reach to high-quality education to every segment and every geography. This needs some innovative solutions; for example, they have seen that in emerging countries including India, most students find it challenging to fund their programs.

The company is solving that by partnering with loan providers and helping them automate their processes so that students can access loans easily. Another innovation is in the program content itself where they are bringing students into the world of digital transformation, business analytics, design thinking, fintech, etc.

They have also brought in global industry practitioners as part of the programs, which really offers a different perspective and helps our students open up to other possibilities.

Among its short-term goals, Eruditus is planning to more than doubly raise its revenue in FY22.

Eruditus' vision for 2030 is to scale up across every geography and truly democratize access to quality education.


What is Eruditus?

Eruditus is an executive education provider, which brings numerous opportunities for business executives to access a mix of executive programs from the top-ranking universities.

What does Eruditus do?

Eruditus provides executive education programs intended for mid-career professionals.

Who founded Eruditus?

Eruditus was founded in 2010 by Chaitanya Kalipatnapu and Ashwin Damera.

What is Eruditus' business model?

Eruditus partner with global Ivy League business schools to offer blended classroom and online learning programs for working professionals across the world. The programs are aimed at helping a participant evolve from functional to management leadership roles.