Career Launcher-backed 361 Degree Minds, a learning and education company which partners with universities and corporates, is gearing for new launches and geographical expansion over the next five years
Chennai-based 361 Degree Minds was incorporated in 2006 by three classmates from BITS Pilani. C P Gopinath along with his wife, Ritu and their friend, Rammohan started the company having had experience in corporate training. “We realised that people were not applying what they had learnt, into the work they were doing,” says Gopi. “So we did a lot of research on their learning process before we started 361 Degree Minds,” he notes. A corporate training platform, 361 DM, emphasised a lot on technology. Based on their research, they developed a platform called i-meta (an e-library, chatrooms and helpdesks for technical and academic assistance and an e-coaching facility) and an adult learning guide. Soon, the company decided to expand to another vertical – consumer facing, targeting individual learners.
Partnership with universities
In the last few years they decided to partner with universities and offer courses online. First, they identify the courses they want to offer, be it big data or analytics and then approach universities that offer the programs. Using their i-meta platform, 361 DM replicates the university curriculum. “Our pitch to universities is that we will create their digital twin, as in whatever programs they have, we will create a digital version of that,” says Gopi. The pricing is decided by the universities, the 361 DM team drives enrolments.
On marketing and exploring a new vertical
There are a few heavily-funded players in the online-learning space with tie-ups to universities. So, what is the strategy of 361 DM? “We have an in-house digital marketing team that does targeted promotions. We look at clusters and tap into members of the early workforce and students just out of college,” he remarks.
Our pitch to universities is that we will create their digital twin, as in whatever programs they have, we will create a digital version of that.
So far, the company has one lakh learners for their 100 plus courses and 150 plus corporate partners. Apart from their customer and enterprise verticals, recently they have given proposals to a few forward-thinking state governments and have done pilots with governmental agencies to deliver training and development modules.
Funding from a listed company
In 2010, the company raised seed capital from Career Launcher, a listed company focused on the test-prep market. Seven years after the initial investment, Career Launcher invested US $1.2 million. “In 2017, our pitch to them was that after a series of pilots, we were ready to scale in terms of new offerings,” comments says Gopi.
“Any company that has cut its teeth in the Indian market will be a winner globally is what we believe and the 361 DM team understands the nuances of providing digital education,” says Sathya Narayana, Founder of Career Launcher on why they invested in 361 DM.
The path ahead
“Universities prefer us because we offer an online end-to -end solution and our research adds value to their content. Corporates like our result-oriented training, which is customised for each organisation and for consumers, they find a great value for money and scope for career advancement,” says Gopi about the feedback they have been receiving from the three verticals.
361 DM is expanding geographically, setting up offices in the U.S. and Singapore. On the product front, the company is investing in Artificial Intelligence based learning tools. “We are also looking at reaching out to corporate clients in America. We hope to reach one million learners in the next five years,” says Gopi on a concluding note.
Snapshota – 361 Degree minds
CP Gopinath, Ritu and Rammohan
Centum has skilled close to 1.5 million individuals through its 4 verticals- corporate training solutions, livelihood skilling, skills at schools & colleges and CSR Partnerships. It has employed around 2500 members in 15 countries. The company, through its partnership with the National Skill Development Corporation, aims to address the employability challenge by looking at specific requirements across sectors and institutions, be it fiber optics in telecom, big data in colleges or behavioral change courses to cope with automation in corporates.