Nishant Chandra (left) and Siddharth Maheshwari help students become “industry ready”
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Nishant Chandra, 29 Siddharth Maheshwari, 29
Co-founders, Newton School
Nishant Chandra and Siddharth Maheshwari believe that it is because of the importance their parents placed on education that they were able to achieve what they have, despite coming from small towns in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively. And it is this belief that led them to focus on not just enabling students and professionals access academic courses but also making them industry ready, through their venture Newton School.
Chandra and Maheshwari studied at IIT-Roorkee, living in the same hostel for four years. “We would often talk about what we can do to make society better, and our answers would always boil down to making education better,” says Maheshwari. Although both were passionate about entrepreneurship, Chandra went on to work at Unacademy
in Bengaluru, but continued to be in touch with Maheshwari, who was working on a startup idea.
The conversations led to them starting their first venture called Bolo in 2018, which was a platform to connect people seeking advice and information to experts. “We soon realised that the most common queries were related to education
, jobs and careers, especially from Tier II and III cities, and would seek advice on job placements. We realised there were millions of graduates who had zero skills. That is when we decided to focus on this vertical alone, and renamed our venture Newton School in October 2019.”
Newton School enables people from Tier II and III cities get technology jobs. “These are people who end up in colleges that are not providing them any skills. We put them in personalised programmes, and help them become suitable software developers for the industry,” says Maheshwari. In the last one year, he adds, they have seen 1,000 students getting jobs at an average annual salary of ₹7 lakh. Courses range from certification to degree programmes. Newton School has partnered with IU Germany and MIA, Spain; the universities take care of the core computer science syllabus and accreditation, while Newton School makes the students “industry ready
” through mentorship and live learning sessions by industry professionals.
“What I love about Nishant and Siddharth is that they are very purpose-driven, very pedagogy-focussed. This year, more students graduated from Newton School and got good jobs than one of the top IITs. For them it’s not just a business, but a mission that they are after,” says Pratik Poddar, principal at Nexus Venture Partners, which has invested $8.2 million over multiple rounds. “Right now they are teaching 200 students a month; the potential is thousands of students graduating a month, leading to a million-dollar revenue a month. The problem is so deep and large, that it is not about the market size, but executing it right.”
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(This story appears in the 11 February, 2022 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)