THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: English is the language of business in India and yet the lack of access to good quality training is astounding. Enter mobile app 'Enguru', which aims at providing affordable English Language training. Enguru launched in April 2015, has over 25 million users across India. It is aimed at reaching young professionals and college students to help them improve their communication skills and making them more employable.
About 78 per cent of their audience is under the age of 34 and 32 per cent are women. The app provides an option of learning English in 12 Indian languages and 16 international languages.
Arshan Vakil, founder of Enguru said, “We built strong vernacular capabilities to ensure the app was accessible for users across the country. People in India learn English as a tool for employability and we have catered the content to match this requirement by offering industry-specific English courses which allow users to learn and practice functional vocabulary related to their career interests. Currently, we have courses focused on English for retail, hotels, BPOs, email writing and interview preparation along with our comprehensive General English course.
“We do not just teach the users general English but teach them the language required in these specific fields. This focus is unique and tailored specifically for the Indian needs for the English language. We are also working to close the loop and link users to appropriate employers after they complete a career-specific course” adds Vakil.
Users have to go through a placement test when they first use the app, which identifies their starting point. This test includes a combination of English proficiency and general preference questions including reasons for learning English and career aspirations etc.
The app is split into short 10-minute modules consisting of two activities each – a lesson and a conversation or comprehension. Lessons comprise of a variety of questions including image, text, audio and speech questions coupled with an adaptive algorithm, which ensures questions are based on a user’s past performance and career preferences.
Apart from the primary course, the app offers a personalized dictionary going over the words already learned and a practice section which includes video lessons, news-based lessons, and bite-sized games. Each paid career course includes a final assessment and certificate. This certification can then be used to apply for different jobs based on its recognition within each industry. Finally, the app allows the user to enrol in on-demand live classes.
“We have a seen a big improvement in our student’s willingness to speak in English and overall confidence with the language,” says Nidhi Thachankary, head hospitality at Pratham. While, Sanjay Rastogi, head of Corporate HR, Trent, added they have also witnessed an improvement in their staff's communication skills and confidence in speaking to customers after they took a course with Enguru.
The company has raised $2.5 million led by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Village Capital and Mr Weihua Yan in September 2017. There are two primary revenue streams which can be split into B2B - English and Communication Skills Training Programmes for Enterprises and B2C – Premium Courses and Live Classes.
On the enterprise side, they have completed 100+ app-based programmes split across two main verticals - corporate training; CSR/NGO training and Trent CSR programmes with vocational institutes. All these programmes are built around their second app – Enguru for Enterprises and have a varying degree of teacher contact as well.