Expert Interview with Arjun Gupta- CoursePlay

Founders Interview by SoftwareSuggest- CEO at CoursePlay- Arjun Gupta

Courseplay is more than simply an ed tech or e-learning solution for organizations. If you have a small, medium or large company or organization, Courseplay can help you bring down the cost of training and multiply your training capacity with a few clicks of a button. Detailed reports will provide useful insights about your organization. Courseplay is the property of Firstventure Corporation Private Limited, an up-and-coming privately-funded education-technology company.

In this Interview, we catch up with the very interesting take from the CEO at CoursePlayArjun Gupta.

Q1) What according to you are the four pillars on which CoursePlay LMS stands upon?

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  • Our four main pillars are Engagement, Impact Measurement, Accessibility, and Scalability
    1. Management: When it comes to learning online it is very important that learners feel engaged so that they keep coming back. In this day and age, keeping the user’s attention is the hardest thing to do, and the challenge is compounded when it’s for something the user is required to do. By using game-like elements, for example, leaderboards, trophies, rewards, and also interactive elements like quizzes, surveys, voting, discussions and announcements, we want users to feel like they are making a contribution to their organization and getting rewarded for it.
    2. Impact Measurement: A big challenge with any sort of learning is to measure the success of the training program and calculate the real-world impact. Courseplay allows you to understand the ROI of any training program over the workforce and also understand how it affects the bottom line of the company or organization over time. This is one of the many things that we are trying to do differently from the other players in the industry.
    3. Accessibility: We’re living in an age where most content is consumed over mobile devices from any location, be it the commute home, the office desk or from home. A robust training solution must allow for this kind of access to make it as easy as possible for users to learn. Courseplay can be accessed from any device, any browser, and any location to allow for exactly this level of flexibility.
    4. Scalability: This fourth but equally important pillar dictates that the size of the client should not be a factor. By this I mean that our cloud infrastructure scales seamlessly during heavy load and scales down during periods of low load, allowing us to minimize our server costs and pass the savings on to our clients. This is something that has to be planned and designed from day 1 as it affects the architecture of not just the software but also the infrastructure and business model as a whole, and for this reason, not a lot of other players in the market have this ability.

Q2) How did you hit upon the idea for your Company?

When I moved back home after university, I got to see India with a fresh perspective, and I wanted to make an impact in the economy. It was like a “reverse-culture-shock”. I realized three things.

1. We have a hard working workforce in India,
2. Due to the poverty in the country, skill development is a big need,
3. Due to the size of the population, the solution must be virtually infinitely scalable.

I wanted to make an impact where skill development and learning was so scalable that it could be affordable everywhere in India. That’s how Courseplay was born. These principles were designed with the Indian workforce in mind, but they apply to learners all over the world.

Q3) Who do you consider your biggest Competitor and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

  1. Pricing: due to our architecture, we are able to deliver a state-of-the-art training platform to clients at a fraction of the cost that they are paying for Skillsoft. We also have a pay-as-you-go model that gives clients the flexibility to train their learners when they like without the sword of large annual commitments dangling over their head.
  2. Ease-of-Use: When we design new features we focus on ease-of-use to ensure that the platform is not frustrating to users. We have two main principles: 1. Can the user do this without needing a manual, 2. Can the user do this within 3 clicks?
  3. Customer Relationship: When clients sign up with us, they have direct access to two contact points in addition to their relationship manager for trivial as well as critical issues. This allows us to make customers feel comfortable as if they are dealing with a team within their company rather than an outside vendor.

Currently, our biggest competitor is Skillsoft, they are the Goliath in the market and have been for some time but I think times are changing now. We have a few differentiators from them in addition to the four pillars that I had mentioned earlier.

Q4) How have sales evolved since you first got into the business? What hasn’t changed?

  • We have refined the way we sell and build customer relationships. Our sales approach has become much more customer-centric with a focus on problem-solving rather than listing off a number of features and confusing the client.
  • Something that hasn’t changed is our dedication and commitment to stand by our clients whenever they need us, especially when there are technical problems, which there always are during any IT implementation.

Q5) How do you balance the emphasis on Activity vs End Goals?

I think Activity feeds End Goals. If you have high engagement levels, with consistent action on the platform, you’re going to see good success metrics on your End Goals.

Q6) Would you rather be respected or feared?

Respected. At our company, we believe that respect is earned from the bottom up, rather than expected from the top down.

Q7) Think of something you’ve done in the past; what would you have done differently?

As a tech company, I would have started software development *in-house* from day 1 using part-time and consultant developers rather than outsource development to a software company. I lost 9 months and a lot of money but learned this very important lesson: My resources, my timelines, my control.

Q8) How do you approach a decision where people disagree with you?

For us, it’s a matter of clear communication and logic. If both sides have clearly communicated their points of view, the side with the more sound logic will always win.

Q9) What do you expect to see over the next 5 to 10 years in the Industry?

Over the next 5 years I see a big push towards mobile learning, but in the long term, as we are able to do more with VR and AR, I see a greater focus on immersive real-world learning.
At the same time, with re-skilling becoming a priority, I see the importance of ‘lean education’ increase, which simply means that learning and skill development has to happen in greater volumes at lower costs.

Q10) What according to you are Do’s and don’t of B2B Prospecting?

    • Do: build long-term relationships
    • Do: ask for referrals and help whenever needed
    • Do: manage relationships on a CRM or at least a spreadsheet
    • Do: Give the client a chance to speak and share their requirement
    • Don’t: give up
    • Don’t: restrict yourself to a single method of communication or even a single phone number

Q11) What are your experiences with highs and lows at CoursePlay?

    • As with any startup, there is a rapid succession of highs and lows every day.
    • An example of a high would be any of the days that we got the first check from any of our clients.
    • An example of a low would be any of the day’s anyone from our team put in their papers to look for other opportunities.

Recently, more and more Professionals are leaving their cushy and well-paid jobs to follow their passion. What’s your take on this?

    • This is something I absolutely believe in. Life is too short to not enjoy your work. If you can afford to follow your passion, absolutely go for it. People will be able to feel the excitement for the work you do and that will make all the difference.

Lastly, We would be glad to have your valuable suggestion for the new age Entrepreneurs thriving in the industry today.

    • When you make it big some day, don’t forget about everyone that helped you get there.
abhishek@softwaresuggest.com'

Abhishek Dorik

Abhishek Dorik, a Digital Marketing Executive at SoftwareSuggest, shares a keen interest in exploring literally anything that catches his attention. The best part of his job according to him "I get to Interview the CEOs/Founders & Leaders of the SaaS Industry and reach out to elite business personalities, which excites me to learn more, Every Day!"