Lernern, an EdTech company providing apprenticeship, upskilling and other education opportunities to blue-collar workers has raised a total of $ 1 Million from its investors in seed funding. The investors in the angel round include OOB Ventures Pte. Ltd.,a Singapore based company run by Ruchi Sihare, Seed investor & Board Member; Kunal Solanki, an ex-investment banker; and elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization,a Swiss philanthropic impact investor, leading the investment along with other individual investors at the seed stage that includes well-placed alumnus of St. Stephen’s College.
On this occasion, Abhinav Madan, Co-founder & CEO of Lernern said, “Lernern picks up where the current skilling ecosystem ends and creates pathways for blue-collar workers to progress towards better jobs, careers & earning capacity. I am delighted to have found an incredible group of individual & institutional seed investors, who believe in our capabilities, share our vision and most importantly, are equally passionate about the social change that Lernern aims to bring by enabling growth for our youth and ensuring that their skills remain relevant for the fast-changing technologies in industry 4.0. Lernern has also become my personal mission and tribute to my batchmate, friend & co-founder, Aditya Saikia, whom we lost to Covid in May 2021.”
The newly raised capital will be deployed in three focus areas:
- First, the EdTech platform will be developed to meet the specific requirements of blue-collar workers in the workplace while providing synchronous and asynchronous learning. Lernern has partnered with Dr. Prasad Ram, the ex-CTO of Google India who has pioneered a unique Navigated Learning System called Gooru which uses AI & ML to navigate the learner’s journey.
- Secondly, it will develop content and forge academic partnerships across disciplines that will enable the blue-collar worker to acquire the knowledge, skills & academic credits needed for working towards formal educational qualifications.
- Lastly, as the name suggests, the ‘Learn & Earn’ business model depends heavily on industry involvement to contextualize and implement the ‘dual model of education’. Accordingly, the team will look to ramp up its partnerships with relevant employers in the manufacturing and service sectors. Strong collaboration with corporate India across different industries will ensure industry-relevant curriculum and seamless absorption of certified students from Lernern.
Learnern has pioneered a ‘Work-integrated Skill Training & Apprenticeship’ program which enables further education for blue-collar workers by integrating academia & vocational education with industry demands. Several pilots have been on the ground since 2015 with partners like Café Coffee Day, Haier, Carrier Midea & Western Refrigeration. Training fees have been co-sponsored by these companies as a result of employer benefits such as increased retention and productivity. Covid also gave the company an opportunity to pivot to a blended learning model, which enabled a quicker scale-up of the programs through technology.
Lernern also recently appointed Sajan Varghese as the Chief Operating Officer. Having a strong acumen in large-scale enterprise management and having overseen two IPOs at WNS and Café Coffee Day, Sajan was the President of HR at Café Coffee Day in his last role. He strengthens the leadership team at Lernern and will play an instrumental role in navigating the growth of the company in the days ahead.