Author Subba Rao Mukkavilli (popularly known as Suram) is a digital & design thinker.
He is an entrepreneur, business management professional with a strong expertise in launching start-ups. He has a thorough understanding of enterprise application and team integration.
He loves working on assignments involving people and process alignment, business transformation, and strategic IT management.
Can you please help us know your professional background?
I started my career as a programmer in 1993 and gradually moved up the corporate ladder as a head of IT and product development, CTO, etc. In 2011, I got elevated as the Executive Director to manage a digital depository that holds insurance policies in electronic format.
During the last 25 years of my career:
- I have worked as a founding member for several start-ups Architected various enterprise applications
- Trained over 500 professionals
- Published five books
- Created ten training courses
Why did you leave your comfortable & high paying job for a small start-up?
Most of us are wired to believe that we officially retire at 60. Therefore unofficially, we start retracting and retreating from 55 years.
However, the present global scenario is entirely different. We have ample opportunities and plenty of avenues to excel. If a person has the right blend of passion and health, they can work and contribute to society till 75 or even beyond.
Last year, when I turned 50, I looked back and started reflecting.
- I realized that I have just covered 50% of my career path, and 50% is still left.
- Fortunately, the balance of 50% could be driven by the experience and exposure that I have gained over the last 25 years!
- Therefore, I felt that I must accomplish something that lasts longer and profoundly impacts society.
- So, what should I do that makes my reputation outlive my life? The choice was clear. I need to facilitate the percolation of knowledge across the length and breadth in my land of talented people. When I use technology, I can genuinely accelerate the process.
Fortunately for us in India, there is no shortage of potential people and resources. During this decade, technology is expected to transform over 100 crore jobs. In India alone, over nine crore youngsters will take up their first jobs.
Skill-gap is the new pandemic. We need several warriors to combat effectively.
What is SkillCulture?
Like the way rural India thrives on Agriculture, urban India needs to take up the Skill Culture.
SkillCulture™ is an Indian Marketplace for e-learning and freelancing.
We are on a mission to accelerate the competency of trainers, professionals, and corporates.
During this decade, we aspire to:
1. Create 10,000 digital instructors
2. Accelerate the careers of 1 million students and working professionals.
What is your business model?
We have 3 service domains and 3 prime revenue streams:
There are several ed-tech players in the market. Competition is intense. How do you plan to build your USPs?
SkillCulture™ is a one-stop solution for e-learning, freelancing, talent/opportunity searching, and networking. No other platform in India caters to all requirements under one umbrella.
India is known for producing life-saving drugs at a very affordable price. SkillCulture aspires to offer life-changing education and services at a very reasonable price as well.
- We offer courses on vernacular languages
- We focus on developing the holistic capability
We enable the growth mindset and growth quotients ™
- We assist instructors in creating e-learning courses. There is no such comprehensive service in India to the best of our knowledge
- We offer very affordable hosting services
- We offer end to end support for instructors and enable them to concentrate on their core.
What is so tech about your ed-tech venture?
SkillCulture™ is a fully technology-powered organization. Right from customer experience to complex internal algorithms, each component is driven by the latest technology.
A robust content management framework drives entire learning experience management. Learning analytics make use of advanced visualizations and monitoring algorithms.
Data interchange makes use of advanced API methods.
We are in the process of developing deep learning-based algorithms for adaptive learning and measuring learning effectiveness.
What are your future plans?
As mentioned earlier, the Skill gap is a new pandemic and requires huge focus globally. Therefore, there is a vast potential in the up-skilling and re-skilling. SkillCulture aims to train over a million young graduates and create over 10,000 digitally-enabled educators.
During the next phase, we aim to launch freelancing services by both humans and robots.
Once we stabilize e-learning and freelancing, we aspire to build a blockchain-powered digital NGO to support underprivileged children to continue their education.
You said you plan to create 10,000 ‘digitally enabled’ educators. Sounds good. However, aren’t teachers less tech-savvy in India? They also lack the resources to produce a studio-quality teaching output. How do you plan to tackle this? Most of them are tuned only to teach in a physical setup. How do you plan to address the challenges they face while moving to an ‘online’ world?
Good question. Compared to other professions, educational institutes in India don’t use technology so much. Therefore, teachers or mentors may not be as tech-savvy. We understand their concerns and challenges. Therefore, we do the heavy lifting and enable mentors to focus on their core.
We offer the following facilities to them:
- Mentors can get enrolled in a 3-hour power-packed online course called The Digi Guru. The Digi Guru course gives a 360-degree coverage of creating, managing online, and selling online courses. Mentors can also outsource the entire creation and launch of an e-learning course. We just take a raw script and training material from them and transform it into a powerful e-learning course.
- We offer translation and voice over services and will make their course available in ten Indian languages.
- We host their e-learning courses on an advanced LMS system that is endowed with several engagement features such as gamification, social learning, and adapting learning.
- We offer course marketing support and Peer Assist support.
Tell us about the growth and direction of the ed-tech industry as you see it.
The ed-tech industry was relatively nascent till last year. We have not even completed the trail part of the Bahubali IMAX movie so far. This is a definite plus for SkillCulture.
COVID has undoubtedly accelerated the growth, and AI is powering the same. We will watch part 1 of this IMAX movie during the decade, and it will be fairly interesting.
The ed-tech industry is fortunate to have several tailwinds. Following factors will further fuel the growth:
- We are likely to witness the involvement of 5 As in this ace game. Five A’s are Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Ambani, and Ant group.
- Trends such as 5G, Augmented reality will further transform the way we teach and learn.
- AI/ML/DL is likely to be further democratized and pave the way for more innovations.
- The growth of the freelancing industry will further fuel the demand for skilled workers.
- New education policy will create several new opportunities for developing quality content.
- Governments (Central and state) are beginning to become very progressive in their vision and execution.
- Global demand for skilled workers will provide very lucrative opportunities for Indian professionals.
What are your current hurdles?
Like any start-up, SkillCulture faces several adversities. Some of them include:
- Sensitizing professionals about the impeding skill gaps
- Finding the right partners to percolate the vision
- Finding a progressive VC investor who can fund the mission
We have bootstrapped now and will continue to do so until we find a strong VC with a clear vision and conviction.
Thank you so much for giving us your precious time! We wish you the best for your journey ahead!