Bridging the Digital Skills Gap with Simplilearn
by Alex Argo
As our world rapidly becomes more digitalized, the need for individuals and enterprises to access lifelong digital skills training with measurable outcomes has never been greater. On a mission to help close the widening digital skills gap, GSV Ventures led an investment in Simplilearn, a leading technical upskilling bootcamp, along with our partners Clal Insurance and DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform.
Simplilearn, as a global learning provider, has proven that scalability and accessibility do not have to come at the cost of quality. The company’s affordable online bootcamp programs deliver a high Return on Education (“R.O.E.”), measured by increased learner access and tangible outcomes. The company is dedicated to bridging the digital skills gap by providing learners across all career stages with the professional skills needed to succeed and keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital economy.
Krishna Kumar, founder & CEO of Simplilearn, is a visionary leader in the digital upskilling and reskilling space. He and the management team have a proven track record of successfully launching and scaling new programs across various offering types. Since getting Blackstone’s backing in July 2021, Krishna and team have expanded content partnerships and grown Simplilearn into the leading provider of digital skills training. The company has accelerated and grown over 60% in the past year amidst an overall challenging macro environment, serving over 70K active monthly learners and over 500 enterprise clients. After Blackstone’s investment last year, Deborah Quazzo, Managing Partner of GSV Ventures and Co-founder of the ASU+GSV Summit, joined Simplilearn’s Board of Directors as an independent board member. Deborah has since had the opportunity to witness firsthand the efforts of Krishna and team to increase Simplilearn’s impact on learners and enterprises globally.
Delivering a High Return on Education
Simplilearn, at its core, is centered around the belief that interactive learning drives high impact and superior outcomes. As a result, all of Simplilearn’s offerings have meaningful synchronous instruction and learner support, as well as self-paced learning modules that cater to individual schedules. Krishna and team believe that self-paced learning content should be accessible to all, which is why they offer an entirely free learning content platform, Skill Up, that currently serves over 2 million learners worldwide. Learners can then uplevel their skills by enrolling in one of Simplilearn’s immersive bootcamp experiences. Every offering is anchored around career outcomes, with 77% of learners reporting career benefits (promotion, new job, pay hike) after completion. Additionally, Simplilearn boasts a 70–85% completion rate and 75+ NPS across all paid programs. Simplilearn’s learner outcomes are best-in-class across the industry and are a result of an enhanced learner experience enabled by the company’s proprietary learning platform and high-quality trainers.
Simplilearn has partnered with premier institutions like CalTech, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, UMass Amherst and the Isenberg School of Management, Purdue University, Wharton Online, IIT Roorkee, and IIT Kanpur, and companies like IBM, Amazon, BCG, Microsoft, and KPMG. Through these partnerships, Simplilearn has created a wide breadth of digital skills content applicable to learners at various stages of their careers. With over 60 programs covering new-age digital skills across Cloud, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, Cyber Security, and more, Simplilearn provides digital upskilling for learners across any industry and level.
Keeping Pace with Digital Transformation
Now more than ever, Simplilearn’s comprehensive digital skilling solution is necessary for enterprises to reskill their workforce quickly and effectively to keep pace with the ever-changing digital landscape. With 76% of global workers feeling unprepared for the digital skills they will need in the future and 150 million new technology jobs being created over the next 5 years, digital upskilling is no longer a “nice-to-have” but a “need-to-have” for future business growth. Coupled with breakthroughs in AI and automation rapidly transforming professional roles, individuals and companies will need to become agile learners in order to adapt to the future of work. Simplilearn enables enterprises to upskill their employees at scale and ensure they have the right skills for the jobs of tomorrow.
It is no longer adequate for professionals to cease learning after acquiring a traditional 2 or 4-year degree if they want to succeed in the workforce long-term. Higher Ed institutions are realizing that in order to meet the surging demand for lifelong learning, they must partner with alternative providers like Simplilearn. Not to mention, less than 50% of the students across 2-year and 4-year institutions graduate and the average student loan debt balance is around $30K. Players like Simplilearn are responding to the needs of these students by providing a low-cost, shorter solution for learners to develop the necessary professional skills to thrive throughout the entirety of their careers.
India — The Market that Keeps on Growing
Just over half of Simplilearn’s bookings are from India, roughly one-third from the US, and the remainder from all across the world. While the company has proven to be an exporter of education, they are well-positioned to capitalize on the immediate market opportunity in India, the world’s fastest growing economy. Nearly 70% of India’s population is of working age and the number of working-age individuals is projected to increase by 100 million by 2030. This demographic shift puts increasing pressure on job creation and subsequently professional training in India. Furthermore, the rest of the world continues to outsource technical services to India, a trend that is accelerating as a remote-friendly, distributed workforce model becomes more prevalent. The number of professionals in India employed for jobs outside the country is projected to at least double to over 11 million. These shifts, together with India’s growing spend on EdTech, which is projected to increase from $4.6B to $10.4B by 2025, present an attractive opportunity for a high-caliber, digital learning provider like Simplilearn.
A Differentiated Offering with a Deeply Experienced Team
In a world where online bootcamps have proliferated and been accepted as viable alternatives to traditional higher education, a multitude of EdTech providers in the United States and India offer digital skilling opportunities to learners at all stages. Bootcamps in the US, such as Trilogy, BloomTech, and Springboard, have enabled students to pursue shorter and more economical paths to tech careers. India-based providers like Emeritus, upGrad, and Great Learning have demonstrated the ability to partner with traditional higher ed institutions to provide quality and up-to-date education worldwide. Simplilearn has emerged as a leading global provider amid a slew of online learning companies that have gained traction as the global digital skills gap worsens. The company distinguishes itself by partnering with premier universities and industry leaders to offer high-intensity bootcamp offerings at scale without sacrificing quality or outcomes. Simplilearn’s cost-effective model enables programs to remain affordable while delivering the career and skilling outcomes that learners and enterprises deserve.
Although this marks GSV’s first investment in Simplilearn, we have known Krishna and the management team since 2015 when they first attended the ASU+GSV Summit. Since then, we have had the pleasure of watching from the sidelines while Krishna pioneered the now well-known pedagogy of digital reskilling and upskilling. Our team could not be more excited to join this effort and partner with Simplilearn through this journey.