Abhishek Singh returned to India in 2013 after completing his MSc in Management from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, to start his venture Coursebirdie, with Abhilasha Chauhan, his engineering classmate from Punjab Technical University.
Coursebirdie, an online learning platform, offers classes and physical workshops in Business, Design and Technology. They use short duration pre-recorded video lessons of 30 to 180 minutes that allow students to learn at their own pace. Workshops are usually conducted for one to five days, and currently offered only in Delhi.
“We focused on offering 21st century skills — User Experience Design, Digital Marketing, Web Development and Data Science. The company was started in 2013 with workshops, and we added online offerings early this year,” adds Singh.
Currently, the online classes are free. However, they may start charging a small fee, between Rs 2,810 and Rs 3,745 per subject, towards the end of the year. Workshops are priced depending on the subject and duration, between Rs 2,810 and Rs 9,363 per participant. They have trained more than 8,000 participants till date, and plan to offer workshops in Bangalore in the near future.
Singh worked for Dell Computers initially, and then started an education website in 2011 that helped students and parents with college and course selection. (www.startups.co.uk/the-careerbook-abhishek-singh). The users from that startup became the first set of users for Coursebirdie.
“After graduation, I was looking to do some creative work. Within four weeks on the job, I realised that I am no different from thousands of others doing the same monotonous work. Yet, I managed to do that for a year before calling it quits. Corporate life taught me that if your job sucks and you’re not doing something you’re excited about, move out and do things that excite you. I’m not saying that all corporate jobs are boring, some are. A lot of my friends are excited about their job and find it pretty amazing,” recalls Singh about his corporate stint.
His first startup did not work out, because his programming abilities were not as good as he wanted them to be. During the same time, he started his Master’s at Edinburgh, where he researched on the Indian higher education market and realised that a very large number of engineering and MBA students in India found it difficult to get the job they studied for because the curriculum did not meet the industry requirements. There was a huge gap between the student learning outcomes and market demand that was waiting to be tapped.
At the same time, Chauhan was doing research on the e-learning industry in the UK. They discussed a lot about the challenges in the education industry, research outcomes and innovations taking place, and got excited about making significant advancement in the industry with practical and real world skills.
Born in Meerut, Singh grew up in Agra and Dehradun, where his father works in the UP State Excise Department. He played football during school days and participated in several business plan competitions and bootcamps during college. This instilled in him a sense of competition and the zeal to deal with success and failures with a positive spirit. He loves reading books, travelling and photography.