[Exclusive Interview] Find Out How This Bootstrapped Edtech Startup Maintained Profitability Since Day 1

The Edtech industry has been inundated by numerous challenges in the recent days. Survival has become a great challenge for small edtech companies while to ensure profitability edtech giants are resorting to strategic moves such as slashing the marketing budgets and even laying off employees in a large number. 

Edtech is also under scrutiny by government due to numerous complaints by consumers stating mis-advertising done by renowned edtech giants. 

Due to global VC slump, Edtech funding has plummeted drastically. In the backdrop of these challenges, Jaro Education survived without any external funding and continued to remain a trusted partner for academic institutions and corporates. 

Recently we interacted with Ms. Ranjita Raman, CEO, Jaro Education, and asked her how her startup was able to generate profits since inception, and what are her views on the educational industry.

Here are the highlights from this exclusive interview:

  1. How and when was Jaro Education founded? What distinguishes Jaro Education from other Edtech companies?

Any organization’s survival depends on how well it addresses the needs of its target market. However, its sustenance is defined when it goes beyond this need and creates a remarkable impact.

Ms. Ranjita Raman, CEO, Jaro Education
Ms. Ranjita Raman, CEO, Jaro Education

The journey of the education evangelist began in 1999, when Net HR rose to prominence as India’s leading IT recruitment firm. A decade later, the first-generation entrepreneur Dr. Sanjay Salunkhe saw a massive skill gap and recognised the need to revolutionize the executive education industry. And that’s when Jaro Education’s inception took place in 2009. Jaro Education’s vision is to be globally recognised for providing a platform and transforming millions of careers worldwide. Adhering to our core mission, we’re making quality executive education available to each and every student and professional at all levels. The organization has come a long way by upskilling over 3,00,000 learners till now, making great strides in its path throughout. The aim has always been to go beyond the need and usher the careers of young professionals.

Jaro Education acts as a bridge between institutes and working professionals by nurturing managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs across every field through industry-relevant programs.

The belief has always remained in imparting quality knowledge and skills through top institutes and universities that enhance their learning outcome. 

The courses offered are designed in such a way that it caters to talent across all levels. We have been instrumental in providing synchronised learning opportunities to working professionals, which helps them to interact, discuss and network in real-time with diverse cohorts. Also, the company’s immersive learning centres give them a unique learning experience even while working.

Also, Jaro has been a non-conflicting company and a true partner for the collaborating institutions as well as learners resulting in long-term relationships & sustained partnerships. Apparently, these are undoubtedly some factors that set Jaro Education apart in the industry.

  1. How Jaro Education ensured the profitability of its business while remaining self-funded?

An organisation’s profitability depends upon how robust its business model is!

Jaro Education has built its business model by keeping its roots in mind. Roots here refer to the transparency and ethical practices that permeate all elements of the organisation. Building trust through realistic & clear communication with the learners and being transparent with the employees has made the organisation reach so far.

It is critical for an organisation to keep an eagle’s eye on its inflows and outflows and to strategically plan its long-term and short-term financials. Furthermore, concentrating on generating consistent revenue and profit figures. We’ve always made it a point to cut discretionary costs early on by hiring as needed and focusing on the factors that contribute to sustainable growth.

In fact, the company never felt the need to overspend on marketing. It instead concentrated on improving its offerings. For us, bringing in quality is the way to achieve structured growth.

At the end of the day, it’s all about running the business the right way.

  1. Edtech companies promise 100% placements post-course completion, yet they are unable to deliver on the same. How can selling become ethical in Edtech?

Not referring to any Edtech organisation, in particular, we believe that clarity always remains the crux across all forms of communication. Edtech companies must think from a working learner’s viewpoint and then strategise their offerings accordingly, as every young professional is concerned about the outcome and their career in general. 

Before investing the time, energy and a reasonable sum of money, it becomes essential for them to take some time and comprehend the nitty-gritty of the course they are enrolling in. Furthermore, placements and ROI are sometimes the top priorities for a specific group of learners. Now, the onus lies on the Edtech companies to be transparent and specific in their communication about the offerings and post-program completion services. It will allow learners to set realistic expectations and achievable goals. 

Moreover, this practice, in turn, will cultivate trust and promote positive word of mouth for the organisation. In fact, Edtech organisations can also educate the learners on the fact that they are not the resellers of jobs and are there to transform their professional journey. Ergo, make them realise that gaining industry-relevant skills is a byproduct of the entire process.

Any form of false information and miscommunication on the company’s part will only lead to a lose-lose situation.

  1. Winning the war for talent remains key at all levels. What does the talent management strategy at Jaro Education look like?

Jaro education has always trusted its core strength: its talented and skilled pool of workforce. Be it for C-Suite professionals or entry-level executives, job satisfaction has always been an integral part of the culture. 

It becomes critical for an employer to ensure that an employee who spends most of the day at work stays productive and motivated throughout. In addition, the employee must be able to envision mutual growth and an upward career trajectory with the organisation.

As a part of the talent management strategy, Jaro Education has always prioritised specific and quality hiring as per the requirement. This has never put us in a position where layoffs are a last resort for achieving profitability.

Instead, we invest in quality skill-based training at all levels, prefer internal job postings, offer competitive monetary and non-monetary benefits, and emphasise continuous learning and development at all levels and departments.

We witness remarkable and evident success stories of Intrapreneurs ranging from executives to AVPs, VPs and Senior Managers within the organisation. These strategies result in a win-win situation for both the employee and the company, and they foster synergy that leads to exponential growth.

  1. What should Indian Edtech companies focus on to run a sustainable and profitable business?

It is crucial for any business to always remember its purpose and remain aligned with it. And this objective is reflected in the vision and mission statements. It goes without saying that the focus of an Edtech company must always be on the quality, experience, relevant growth skills and outcome for the learner in lieu of the larger market share.

Loud marketing and touting false commitments in an attempt to attract a wide range of audience will make the company compromise the faith of learners in the long run. Additionally, inflating numbers by highlighting the profits of acquired companies and chasing valuations would also prevent the organisation from surviving the marathon ahead! Remember that the goal is not to stay afloat but sustain! Structured and sustainable growth remains paramount, even if it’s steady and organic.

Strengthening the bottom line and EBITDA will eventually increase the company’s profits and aid in expanding its market share. Productivity will surge in tandem with confidence as an outcome of the steady Y-O-Y growth.

  1. What are the future plans for Jaro Education in terms of business growth and expansion in the next year?

Given the continually changing corporate environment, the necessity for continuous reskilling and upskilling will remain the focal point, and Jaro Education will always serve as a catalyst for consistent growth. Regarding long-term objectives, Jaro Education is poised to transform the executive education business on a global scale, and we have already established our presence in the United States and Singapore.

In light of technological breakthroughs and digital disruptions, creating industry-relevant and skill-based courses with the world’s finest institutions and corporations will enable us to meet the demands of a much bigger population. Our goal will be to grow faster while remaining sustainable.

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