Serial entrepreneur K Ganesh returns to the fray with his eighth venture, this time in adult education. The internet entrepreneur who sold online tutoring firm, TutorVista to UK’s Pearson for Rs 1,000-crore two years ago, is returning to the education sector.
Ganesh and his wife Meena have bought Avagmah, the online higher education business of Bangalore-based 24×7 Learning and have teamed up with venture capital firm Capital18 to invest Rs 15 crore in the new venture. “It is a billion dollar opportunity,” said Ganesh whose earlier education business was focused on kindergarten through grade 12.
“The adult education market is driven by increasing number of working professionals and online users,” he said.
The 52-year-old entrepreneur who has exited four ventures, so far, is in the process of raising Rs 100 crore to scale up Avagmah.
The online education company partners with top colleges and universities around the world such as The Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University, film school Whistling Woods International and Apollo Hospitals’ Medvarsity to bring their degree programs and credit bearing courses online.
There is a genuine hunger among many working professionals from far flung places to learn the art and science of media and entertainment,” said Subhash Ghai, top filmmaker and founder of Whistling Woods.
Avagmah has developed a technology platform which enables students to access faculty in real time and learn at their own pace from any part of the world using devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
It has already served around 2000 students and has bagged orders worth Rs 22 crore.
“If you are working in Electronics city (a Bangalore suburb that houses several technology companies) driving down for evening classes does not work,” said Karthik KS, chief executive of Avagmah, who incubated the idea inside 24×7 three years ago.
“We have people doing the course sitting in the company buses.”
One such student GV Siji said she listens to the lectures, while travelling in the cab. “I can ask questions in real-time,” said the human resources executive who is studying for a master’s in business administration.
The global online education market is expected to grow from $73.8 billion (Rs 4.3 lakh crore) in 2011 to $220 billion (Rs 13.2 lakh crore) by 2017.
In India the market is expected to grow from $20 billion (Rs 1.2 lakh crore) in 2012 to $40 billion (Rs 2.4 lakh crore) by 2017, according to Avagmah.
The key factors leading to this growth include 243 million internet users and demand for highly skilled workforce.
India trains around 1.5 million engineers, which is more than the US and China combined, according to experts.
“The biggest shift in education has happened. Our ability to listen to 90 minute lecture is gone,” said Ganesh. “Today’s learners want interactive, adaptive learning in small bit sizes.”
This article originally appeared here.