ApnaCourse – Get Smart! Get Ahead!

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ApnaCourse is the World’s First Training Platform for Globally Recognized Certifications, fully ONLINE, absolutely FREE and delivered by Certified and Renowned EXPERTS!

The Domains include Financial Management (CFA, FRM et al.), Project and Quality Management (PMI-ACP, PMP etc), IT Services and Security Management (ISTQB, CISA etc) and Miscellaneous ones like Business Analysis.

Each Course is taught by a profound faculty and is distributed online in the form of video lectures with numerous practise tests and quizzes. There are add-ons that are minimally priced that include Course Completion Certificate for select Courses, Online Simulated Mock Exams, Question Bank, Course Material, Flash Cards, Premium Videos etc.

Want to explore more?

See the ApnaCourse video on Youtube –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQiz9i39S8

ApnaCourse recently partnered with HP for HP Certified Courses. The first of these courses is on Cloud Computing delivered by HP with an end of Course Certification from HP. The entire course is accessible only on ApnaCourse.com

Click here or visit https://www.apnacourse.com/course/hp-cloud-foundation to access the course.

This is just the beginning of a unique initiative from ApnaCourse, where it plans to develop certification courses in some of the most in-demand fields partnering with elite institutes and organizations across domains. The pure online model of these courses will also help hassle free access to interested participants from any parts of the world.

Techaloo got an opportunity to have a chit chat with Mr. Satish R, founder & CEO @ ApnaCourse. Let see what he wants to share with us.

Techaloo : What made you motivated to join the entrepreneurship community?
Satish : The idea of working for yourself and creating processes that you truly believe in regardless of what others have to say.

Techaloo : How did this Idea come to your mind?
Satish :  The seed of the idea was laid a couple of years back when at Mumbai. My friends used to prepare for the CFA and FRM exams and would apply to classroom trainings. But given the work pressure, they would miss out on most classes. Furthermore, some trainers were actually students who had passed the certification exam few weeks ago and had no prior teaching experience. This motivated me to bring in an online platform with qualified experts to provide quality training. The idea has evolved over the years to what is ApnaCourse today.

Techaloo : What was your vision/mission while starting ApnaCourse?
Satish : My Vision “was and is” to provide un-paralleled e-training with Quality, Comfort and Affordability. I want to leverage on the limitless potential of the internet to bring in a world-class education platform.

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Techaloo : What hurdles did you face while starting?
Satish : 

1. Find my team: It was very difficult to find the right people for my team who could share a similar wavelength of my thoughts and take up responsibilities. I was fortunate to get my first 2 team members whom I knew from my earlier days. We have done (and continue to do) multitudes of interviews to get the right candidate.

2. Get our First Faculty: We approached many experts to take a course on our platform but they were skeptical of its success and declined to do so. It was only after our first course that hit the market in August 2013 that people got a hands-on experience of what an e-learning platform could achieve and slowly began to accept our proposals to join hands. Today, we have faculties mailing us directly and asking for partnerships.

3. New technologies: My experience was at coding but knew very little about AV (Audio Video) technologies. Even after spending hours on the internet or talking to AV experts, my team was confused on which software/ hardware to procure for AV processes. We started out experimenting the AV systems 1 at a time and it’s taken us nearly 5 months to say that we are fairly comfortable with AV systems. The learning curve in this field has been good.

Techaloo : What is the role of SpearHead?
Satish : We have been acquired by the Spearhead Group as their subsidiary. This helps us immensely to leverage on their experienced board members who have expertise in Finance, IT etc. It also helps us to offshore some functions like HR, Payroll etc. to the holding company while getting us focused on the core business. The Spearhead group has also been instrumental in helping us with their corporate contacts and have ensured our funding throughout.

Techaloo : How difficult is to work with professionals for study?
Satish : Frankly it’s not that difficult. Professionals understand the importance of the Courses we offer. They know that if they take up the training through ApnaCourse and clear the certification exam, they have an enriching career ahead. Moreover, since the training is free, they are more inclined to give it a shot.

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Techaloo : What courses are you providing and what are the top courses people are opting for?
Satish : We are focused on providing training for globally recognized certifications like CFA, FRM etc. in Financial Management, PMP, ACP etc. in Project & Quality Management, ISTQB, CISA, CISM etc. in IT Services and Security Management and miscellaneous category courses like BA. Currently we have CFP, PMP and ACP Live. We are bringing out FRM, ISTQB, CISA and CFA within 5-6 weeks. More courses like BA, CISM etc. will follow in the months to come.

Every Course seems to garner significant interest. There are days that a single course like CFP takes a lot of new registrations followed immediately by another set of days where PMP takes in. Since there are only 3 courses, it’s tough to decide the top performing course. Presume it will get easier to define this once we have 10-15 courses.

Techaloo : How are you managing the course content?
Satish : The faculties with whom we tie-up are the sole responsible for the course content. We even provide the content IP to the faculties. Hence, our work in this area is minimized to content beautification and formatting.

Techaloo : What 3rd party courses are you offering?
Satish : We have tied-up with certain organizations as their L&D partner whereby the organization can host its content on our platform and stream it to a dedicated audience. However, these courses will not be visible to participants outside that organization.

Techaloo : What is the learning process at ApnaCourse?
Satish : Participants register on ApnaCourse, take a course of their interest absolutely Free. We also provide add-ons for each course. Add-ons include items such as Question Bank, Mock tests, Flash cards, Course completion certificate for select courses, course material etc. These add-ons are minimally priced and significantly helps the participant understand that subject.

Techaloo : What is the recognition of certification provided by you?
Satish : We provide course completion certificate only for select courses like PMP, ACP etc. which can be used by the participant as proof of ‘x’ hours of learning. This proof is required before the participant takes up the PMP or ACP Certification exam and we at ApnaCourse provide that proof whereby a participant goes through all video lectures, practice tests and an end of course assessment exam post which he is eligible to receive this certificate from us.

Techaloo : Do you see Edukart, Simplilearn and others as your competitors? How are you different from them?
Satish : We are different from them in ways defined below:

  1. EduKart is primarily a distance learning provider for degree courses like MBA etc. Our focus is on professional certifications and not degree courses. Hence, while EduKart ties up with specific institutions to provide the degree courses, we focus on globally recognized certifications in various domains. Moreover, EduKart is priced while we are free
  2. Simplilearn: The space that Simplilearn and ApnaCourse operates is the same. However, we differ on the mode of delivery and the pricing. Simplilearn is heavily classroom based. We are entirely online based and hence have the flexibility to rope in 1 very prominent and renowned expert for every course. We are not constrained by the requirement to have many faculties across geographies for a single course. This allows us to bring in the best faculty in that domain. Furthermore, Courses that we offer are absolutely free. So even if Simplilearn is offering a part online model, his is priced while ours is not. It is at the sole discretion of the participants to take the add-ons for that course, or just go through the course for free. Moreover, since we work on volumes as we are an MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform, price points are extremely low.

Techaloo : Can we see platforms such as Cloudera as your competitors?
Satish : Not sure if you had Coursera in mind. Cloudera is not in the domain that we are in. When compared to global MOOC’s like Coursera, Udemy etc., we are different in the segments we focus on. ApnaCourse is only for training on globally recognized certifications.

Techaloo : How is the response till now?
Satish : Response has been good within just 5-6 months of launch. We have 700+ users with ~75% Indians and the rest spread predominantly across US, UK etc. The user registrations are growing at a steady pace and more and more users are spending significant time on our platform. We have also had participants go through the entire cycle of learning the concepts at ApnaCourse, take up the certification and clear it successfully.

Techaloo : What are your plans for next 3 years?
Satish :

a)    New Courses: We have many courses in mind and plan to bring them out 1 at a time. These would be in the domains identified by us so far and also in newer ones.

b)    New Offerings: We have also identified new add-ons and features that can further help participants in each course and would get them out in the months to come.

We are focusing our efforts to be the leader in Certifications Training globally in a span of 3 years.

Techaloo : What will be your advice for a new startup?
Satish : Stay Focused and have an attitude to excel: I personally don’t think there’s anything more important to a new startup than to stay focused. There will be numerous days when critics will condemn the business proposal and mark it as uninteresting. But as a startup, if you have the gut feel to know that it will surely hit big, go with that feel and never turn back. Do not alter your business plan just because some expert asked you to do so.

Techaloo : What do you think about techaloo.com?
Satish : A platform like TechAloo is truly relevant in today’s growing world of startups and Entrepreneurs. It’s a 1 stop shop to provide technology and stratup related information and is a must visit place for every tech savvy startup team.

Key Guys

Satish Rajagopalan: CEO and Founder Director: A double Post-Graduate (MBA in Finance & Strategy) with responsibilities covering Strategy Planning and Business Development.

K R Rajagopalan: Director: A Qualified Chartered/Cost Accountant with responsibilities covering Strategy Execution, New Initiatives and Corporate Governance.

Team Behind The Success

Team

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Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

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