Shahani Group Eyes 30 City Expansion Of Smart Institute

With the focus on tier 2 and 3 cities, the group aims to enhance its Edtech portfolio through ask.CAREERS to create job-ready professionals.

Smart Institute, a part of The Shahani Group, is looking to fuel its growth into India, South-East Asia, and the MENA region. It aims to expand its presence in 30 cities nationally within the next 5 years, with additional plans to invest in EdTech through its EdTech platform application ask.CAREERS.

Smart Institute has renowned brands like Thadomal Shahani Centre For Management and Thadomal Shahani Centre For Media And Communication under its domain and is looking to expand its reach in India. It is primarily focused on amplifying the services of ask.CAREERS, and, in turn helping candidates enhance their critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management skills while working closely with employers. Smart Institute is looking at raising funding of USD 50 million over the next few years, to provide state of the art educational facilities to students, by significantly expanding reach and capabilities. 

The Shahani Group has mandated German Boutique Investment Bank, IEG Investment Banking Group to assist with the fundraiser. Mihir Kapoor, Managing Director, IEG - India, said, “The global edtech space is expected to reach USD 341 billion by 2025. Employability skill set is a huge focus going forward and through it’s tech based platform, Smart Institute, The Shahani Group is well positioned to capture this market. Similar to companies such as OYO, that control the entire ecosystem, Smart Institute owns the entire platform it operates on, leveraging its 100 year heritage for ensuring a quality teaching environment and guaranteed placement services.”

The Shahani Group was initially funded by global HNIs and family offices in India, UAE, and Singapore, and is now also backed by JP Morgan Chase & Co. for expanding employability into the social sector. 

According to a joint study by KPMG India and Google, the online education market in India is expected to witness an incredible 8x growth to become a $1.96 billion industry by 2021. Surveys have also discovered that 87% of all Indian college graduates are not industry-ready. In fact, two-thirds of all Indian graduates are unfit for jobs, with roughly 57% of job vacancy across Financial Services, Digital Technology, and Healthcare sectors in India. Considering the gap, the Union Budget 2019 also indicated significant impetus to education entrepreneurs in the start-up space, to start and scale up their initiatives. Identifying the tremendous potential in the education space, Smart Institute’s Edtech venture plans to bridge the very gap between employability and education; with primary focus on Tier II and Tier III cities.

Akhil Shahani, Managing Director, The Shahani Group, said, "Technology is rapidly transforming the education system in India, along with the professional domain. In light of the increased demand for job-ready professionals with detailed industry knowledge, students today are looking towards Smart classrooms, learning apps, on-the-go learning devices, and more, to gain a competitive edge. This has presented a huge opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs alike, culminating in our 30-cities expansion plan. Furthermore, the faith and confidence of renowned multinational investment bank and financial services holding company JPMorgan Chase & Co. in our initiative is a testament to our credibility and commitment."

Having started its journey as a brick-and-mortar educational institute model, The Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management pivoted into a mobile app ecosystem of 7 applications and 6 offline locations, with more than 1,00,000 free students registered on the platform. In fact, Ask.CAREERS is one of the first platforms to provide a consolidated ecosystem for students, teachers, and employers, which allows for an integrated system to effectively train and hire vocation-ready students, who have undergone on-the-job training. The courses offered include Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Diplomas and degrees, while the app-based ecosystem offers free and premium options to cater to all segments.

With a legacy of over 100 years in the education sector, and a deep sectoral knowledge of the industry, The Shahani Group has, hence, created a unique technology framework that utilises latest industry-based research on student employability to make student’s job-ready. Thus, the company’s USP lies in its technology structured approach to collect and analyse data to improve its offerings, and ultimately the user’s experience.

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