Edtech platform Coursera will set up an operational centre in India to cater to the increasing demand for online learning resources here. “We are building out an operation centre that serves the whole APAC (Asia-Pacific) region, and probably many time zones that are near and not even in the APAC region,” the company’s chief executive officer Jeff Maggioncalda said in a press conference.
India has the second-largest number of users of Coursera at 12.5 million. The first being the US with 16.6 million. In the last year, India grew by 49 per cent, the highest across the world. Hence, the move to set up a campus comes the company saw its fastest growth in India over the last 18 months. However, it is not clear if India will be the second-largest centre for the edtech organisation after the US.
To expand its outreach in India, Coursera has partnered with four new higher education institutions. It already has six partners thus taking the total number of university partners to 10 in the country. The new partners include IIT Bombay, IIT Guwahati, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), and Ashoka University. Among the new enterprise customers are Larsen and Toubro, Wipro GE Healthcare, Usha, ITC Infotech, Welspun India, StarTek and Vardhman Group.
The company has also partnered with over 1,100 campuses, 90 businesses, and 8 state government agencies in India for setting up its operational centre. According to reports, the completion rate for online courses is 15 per cent.
Among Indian users, courses on programming, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science are the most popular.
Apart from this growing user base, access to talent is another key reason for the company to set up operations in the APAC region. Shravan Goli, chief product officer, Coursera, said, “India and Asia Pacific (APAC) are a very important part of how we think about the future for Coursera. So we’re making a big investment in India to be present in India, and also deliver a number of services based out of India through the operation center that we were talking about.” Coursera would continue to build partnerships and relationships in India to deliver locally as well, Goli added.
Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, India and APAC, said, “Unlike many other technology companies, India is actually the headquarters to work with Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and also with Central Asia. Remote work allows us to have people in many different locations. So they will be located across Asia-Pacific, but with headquarters in a sense out of India as well.”
Coursera has about 1,000 employees globally, as per reports. In India, the company currently employs 101 and the number is expected to increase to 150 by December 2021.
The team in India worked with the company’s partners and with customers to help create content and deliver the same. “So we will be expanding our content production team in the market (India) and also our team who are able to take that content and help institutions deliver that to their learners,” Gupta added. The roles include customer success and skills transformation, he added.