10 Years of Skilling Excellence: The Simplilearn Story

“Growth requires continuous learning. And this learning is what helps people realize their true potential, enabling them to fulfill their career goals, and transforming the world around them. This idea was and still is what drives Simplilearn. 

“What started ten years ago as a venture to share ‘my learning’ has become a global educating force today. We inspired and introduced a new paradigm of reskilling and upskilling, helping individuals transform their careers into a successful and current one. 

“Only a few businesses get to impact every professional life it touches positively. Education is one such area of business, and I feel fortunate to be working on such a mission. As representatives of the edtech industry, we are fortunate to be able to measure our success against each professional we help upskill, every family we help grow, and businesses we help transform.”

  • Krishna Kumar, Founder, and CEO, Simplilearn

Simplilearn’s mission to transform lives by empowering people with skills for the digital economy has evolved over our ten years journey. Here are ten milestones that have defined that evolution.

Milestone 1: Beginning of the Journey

After his startup was acquired in 2007, Krishna started a blog, Simplilearn, to share his learnings with the world and also to learn more about the Internet, personally. The Web was still its infancy those days. Back in 2008, there was not even a single video on YouTube about PMP exam preparations!

By the end of 2009, over 3,000 executives in 100+ countries had taken online Project Management Professional* (PMP) training from Krishna on the Simplilearn platform. Till then, it was still a blog run by Krishna. By early 2010, he realized it was time to turn his passion for training into a mission to reach, train, and benefit many more people across the globe.

Krishna turned Simplilearn into an online school for professional certifications, where learners could not only upskill their skill sets but could obtain industry certifications to prove it. Simplilearn adopted a blended-learning model that gave online learners access to live instructors in both real and virtual classrooms and hands-on learning labs.

Milestone 2: Upskilling / Reskilling Accepted as a Real Business Challenge

By 2012, the business community understood that IT skills had a short “shelf life.” IT professionals and their managers had to keep up with a growing stream of new programming languages, computing paradigms, and technologies.

Businesses and IT professionals alike recognized that EdTech was a key to navigating the current. Simplilearn attracted the attention and admiration of people and companies that saw the value of blended learning in teaching new skills quickly and effectively.

Milestone 3: Validation of the Idea: Multiple Investment Rounds

In 2012, Indo-US Venture Partners (now called Kalaari Capital) saw the value of Simplilearn’s teaching approach and business model. They invested in the firm to enable it to expand.

By 2013, Simplilearn had demonstrated its potential and was able to attract additional funding from Helion Venture Partners and Kalaari. The investment enabled Simplilearn to diversify its product offerings, moving beyond PMP training, and hire a strong team to serve its expanding geographic markets.

In 2015, Simplilearn raised another $15M, led by USA-based tech investor Mayfield to set up the company’s USA operations.

Milestone 4: Market Motive Acquisition to Set up USA Operations

In 2015, Simplilearn acquired Market Motive, a Silicon Valley-based leader in digital marketing training. This deal marked a significant expansion of Simplilearn into the US market. Moreover, Simplilearn became the first Indian startup to acquire an established American company.

After acquiring Market Motive, Simplilearn moved its USA headquarters from Scotts Valley, California, to downtown San Francisco to attract better talent and consequently support the learning needs of enterprises and universities more efficiently.

Milestone 5: We Boldly Let Go of Physical Classrooms and Began the Era of All-online Blended Learning

In 2015, Simplilearn took its learning ecosystem entirely online. It eliminated in-person classroom training as an option in its courses and ushered in the era of blended learning by way of live virtual classrooms (LVC). This marked a new milestone in the online learning revolution. The business community saw the differentiation between Simplilearn’s high engagement / high-touch approach vs. that of MOOCs (Massively Online Open Courses).

This bold yet measured move to online learning transformed Simplilearn’s business model almost instantly. The results were more than encouraging as interest in Simplilearn courses began to soar. A new chapter in edtech had begun.

Milestone 6: Simplilearn Brand on High

In 2016, after Simplilearn changed its strategy, the company started to invest in building brand visibility across multiple platforms. This was a turning point in the business.

Simplilearn’s most impactful brand visibility step was the first-ever television commercial by any EdTech startup in India. Simultaneously, radio and media were moving on full stream with the appointment of Irfaan Khan as our brand ambassador. In the process, Simplilearn garnered the attention that increased its brand visibility significantly.

Milestone 7: Simplilearn Reaches One Million Customers

The bold move in 2016 to move its learning model entirely online accelerated Simplilearn’s growth rate. The expansion into the US at the same time increased the number of learners through enterprise customers.

In 2018, Simplilearn’s total number of learners reached the one million mark. This growth in learners represented a doubling of the total in just two years.

Milestone 8: Simplilearn Partners with IBM, Purdue 

In 2019, Simplilearn became a partner with IBM in training in the areas of data science and artificial intelligence/machine learning. The partnership combines IBM’s rich history of breakthroughs in data science and artificial intelligence with Simplilearn’s unique blended learning model.

One vehicle for this partnership was a new venture with Purdue University to offer post-graduate programs in data science and AI in a blended learning model. Graduates of the program receive certifications in their field of study and gain alumni privileges from Purdue University.

Milestone 9: Leading the EdTech Revolution

Over the years, Simplilearn became a sought-after company for skilling needs, and the leaders of the company have taken on the role of thought leaders for the EdTech industry. National and international media published multiple features about the success of the brand, the industry’s growth, and, most importantly, the impact of EdTech on learning in India. 

Numerous thought leadership pieces and opinion articles by our company leaders appeared in The Times of India, The Financial Express, The Economic Times, and other major publications, sharing the firm’s views on business management as well as EdTech.

Milestone 10: Awards and Recognition

Over the past decade, Simplilearn has won many awards for the contribution to the edtech industry:

Simplilearn sees these awards not only as recognition of our work but as validation that we are pursuing a valuable mission and fulfilling it well. These awards and the other milestones show where we have been and how far we have come, and we will draw on that experience to set our course for the next stage of our journey.

Simplilearn thanks all of our learners, our partners, and our employees for making this journey possible. We look forward to working with all of you to improve the lives of many more learners and enterprises in our next ten years.

Together, we can!

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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