Entrepreneur Renu Shirurkar Took Us For A Dream Career Ride In A Classboat
- IWB Post
- November 13, 2017
Hop on Classboat to reach your career dream destination.
‘Follow your passion,’ is what most of the mentors keep telling me over the years, but nobody has ever told me how to go about it. Renu Shirurkar and Chaitanya Salgarkar have taken the initiative. They have started a platform to connect students and teachers of various skills, giving an opportunity to thousands for building a life they dream.
ClassBoat is a skill-focused platform that partners with class providers and individual instructors to offer a wide variety of classes. Whether you’re looking classes for any age group or virtually any skill, they have thousands of courses listed on the portal. It encourages individuals who strive to learn new things always, and follows a simple three step process of ‘Discover, Plan & Book.’
The skill-based market seems to be so fragmented. What did you do differently?
There are more than 40,000 educators just in Pune, but as of now, the market is still unorganized. Despite urban cities have a lot of innovative career options and people want to opt for them, they don’t have the required information about the skills or the career on any one website. At Classboat, we are trying to bridge this gap, so skill-based careers can be approached by people easily.
And, how did you simplify the search process?
We are bridging the gap between the class providers and the students. Curation on both sides is essential. We gather information like who has the highest placement opportunities, the history of the institute, which institutes are doing well in the particular sectors. Then we match it with how much fees a student can afford if the duration of the course will suit them etc. We also provide free of cost personal counseling to students.
What are the challenges that you faced while partnering with the class providers?
The first 300 were difficult because we had to go to each one of them and explain why we are doing this, etc. Many compared us to platforms like JustDial and we had an answer for that; which is that platforms like JustDial are for everything under the sun, we provide specialized information about classes that are suggested only after a certain amount of research. JustDial themselves have introduced a separate platform for doctors and patients. So, you can say we are the Zomato of Education.
After the initial few we didn’t have any major difficulties. We got a lot of boost by media coverage which helped in increasing word of mouth. But till date, classes approaching us is an inbound process. We have executives that go out to market, but apart from that, the process is as simple as calling the number on our website.
Do you have a checklist of shortlisting the classes?
We strategically curate every institute’s background with a list of their placements, the number of students, their reach, how they are different from their competition, etc. Using this information, we review the infrastructure along with the quality of the education they provide.
The current generation is more interested in unconventional fields. What do you have for them?
This year, we did notice that a lot of inquiries came for the film classes. There is also a demand for courses teaching DJing, animation, etc.
What kind of social changes have you observed with the rise in demand for such careers?
The trends have changed now. The careers that were not respected are being respected now. The mentality of the parents has also evolved, they are more willing to invest in these careers. They have started to listen to their children’s interest.
Any success story to share?
We had a group of ladies from Gujarat who wanted to learn Maharashtrian cooking. They booked their classes within two days and came to Pune for it. After completion of the course, they went back and started their own Thali restaurant.
Since age is not a barrier on your website, what responses do you get from the middle-aged people?
Recently we had IT Engineer who wanted to get into music and started learning the guitar. We see many middle-aged people who want to upgrade their careers through new skills or explore their hobbies professionally.
What is the role of career experts on your team?
Their experience help in connecting students with the right institute.
You were the first firm to be selected for the program by EduGuild.
Yes, it is an achievement of sorts! There were approximately 300-400 applicants. We have managed to achieve the profitable stage in the last six months.
You also attended the four-month accelerator program. Any entrepreneurial takeaway?
We learned things like how to accelerate revenue, how to make the user experience better, how to think about the growth, etc. These are essential basics that are important at the beginning of any business journey.
What changes would you recommend to introduce in the education system?
I think it should shift the focus from the degree towards the skill and more entrepreneurially driven approach.
What have you learned through your entrepreneurial journey?
I have learned how to add value to people’s life. I have learned that the life is a two-way process.
What ensures your productivity for a day?
I start early with a meeting. We have one meeting every morning with our team where we discuss plans for the day.
What is next?
We are looking at expanding into Delhi and Surat.