Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Emergence of India's very own multi-lingual business learning platform

Indian Startup brings 15k-plus thought leaders on a single platform in two years

Published: Jul 24, 2020 03:12:25 PM IST
Updated: Jul 30, 2020 12:49:18 AM IST

Emergence of India's very own multi-lingual business learning platform

Today, to counter the ramifications of COVID-19 on the world economy, there is an urgent need to adopt an open talent economy based on intellectual and skill collaborations. While many techpreneurs around the globe are testing such platforms, SpeakIn has already become a trendsetter with experts from over 12 countries in Asia and Middle East, including India, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, and Indonesia. Here is a brief interaction on SpeakIn’s journey with Deepshikha Kumar, Founder SpeakIn.

Founded in 2018 by Deepshikha Kumar Anand, an alumnus of the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, the Wharton School of Business and an ex-consultant at EY, SpeakIn is an interface between knowledge holders and knowledge seekers across a variety of industries. Started as a physical forum to connect businesses/individuals with industry experts, thought leaders and change agents, it successfully transformed into an effective technology-based platform after the corona outbreak. The fast and successful transformation in SpeakIn’s modus operandi, i.e., from physical to digital, implicitly validates that the faster a business adapts to change, the better it gets rewarded by time and consumers alike.

Immediately after the lockdown, Deepshikha decided to shift her entire business online. Leveraging on their massive expert network, SpeakIn transitioned to delivering online learning and interface for business organizations and their employees with experts. The objective was not just thriving in this untoward phase but also helping others sail through the high tides. “We were already working on hybrid formats combining online learning with offline in-person sessions, but when March arrived. Absolute transition became imperative.” Says Deepshikha. The foremost initiative by Deepshikha was the launch of a new series of Live Learning Sessions where some of the world’s most credible industry leaders discussed timely solutions and futuristic opportunities. Under this new series, #ManagingChange, SpeakIn has already organized over 200 such learning sessions featuring leaders like - Mr. Manoj Kohli (Country Head, SoftBank), Mr. Aditya Ghosh (Board Member, Oyo), Ms. Harriet Green (Fr. Chairman, IBM APAC), Mr. Shridhar Venkat (CEO, Akshaya Patra Foundation), Dr. Muhammad Yunus (Nobel Peace Laureate and Founder Grameen Bank) and more.

Emergence of India's very own multi-lingual business learning platform

The next gainful move of Deepshikha was going back to SpeakIn clients and showcasing them the depth and impact of how these online engagements can help them to harness current challenges as well as opportunities. The target region for such specialized business learning programs of SpeakIn is primarily India and Middle East. Also, to maximize the reach of the SpeakIn Expert Live Learning sessions, the start-up formed strategic partnerships and alliances with corporates and industry insiders in more than five countries.

“Recognizing that "learning does not have to stop", SpeakIn launched an e-learning app with vernacular content developed and delivered by its top most experts in the region. Given that the logistics involved in bringing experts to the client – travel, flights, and accommodation, were out of the picture, SpeakIn virtually reached out to more regional experts for the creation of modules in regional languages across sales, marketing, digital transformation, customer management and more. Thus building an unmatched repository of content in multiple Indian languages which could train professionals across levels and regions.”

The most distinguished feature of SpeakIn’s business transition is instant decision-making by the Captain of the ship, Deepshikha. She rightly anticipated the situation and without consuming too much time in planning and brainstorming, ventured for a radical change on the very first day of lockdown 1.0. She emphatically affirms that had it been any later, the situation would have taken a turn for the worse. The prompt actions by SpeakIn team have given the startup a first-mover advantage. The effectiveness of this move can probably be summed up by the fact that SpeakIn is able to raise funds even during the pandemic, as investors found its model of e-learning well-timed and absolutely aligned to the market needs.

While the young start-up of Deepshikha just completed its second anniversary, the impact it has created on the economic ecosystem is phenomenal and pervasive. Now, 15,000+ top thought leaders and subject matter experts from India and the rest of the world are helping entrepreneurs, executives and front-line workforce in accomplishing their business and career goals. On the flip side, the beneficiaries are privileged to avail customized and curated content in multiple languages on a single platform at a fraction of the cost of attending the in-person seminars of eminent speakers and thought leaders.

From Sales Management to Personal Development and Motivation to Risk Management, the vast repository of highly engaging audio-visual content at SpeakIn covers more than 400 contemporary topics relevant to organisations and professionals in various industries. To remove language barriers in learning and growth, SpeakIn is providing these e-learning modules in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi and Malayalam, besides English.

With this desired feature, mentees who are not well-versed in English can also extract the best from lectures, training programs, and e-Learning modules. The full modules are currently only available to business users and can be subscribed to by organizations on a pay-per-use basis. The content can be further customized to topics of business relevance depending on an organization’s requirements. 

While the market is flooded with a myriad of EdTech apps in the academic spectrum, SpeakIn is the only online business learning platform in India where one can see and learn from global thought leaders. The video-based learning comes in short (8 minutes) and long (60 minutes) modules with assessment and certification.

The exponential growth of SpeakIn and Deepshikha’s clear vision of creating an open talent economy helped the startup in completing its second round of funding in 2019. Besides, it has also developed strategic partnerships and alliances with organizations like - ASDC, The Print, TiE Global, and Singapore-based firm, The Co. On the other hand, for her immaculate planning and leadership, Deepshikha has been conferred upon with many honors and titles such as Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs by Ministry of MSME Government of India, Asia Women Icon Award Singapore. She is also praised worldwide for her debut book '101 Lessons to be a Damn Good Speaker!' - the official SpeakIn guide to becoming a five-star orator.

Deepshikha is all set to transform India’s professional content learning market. In her opinion, though India is not known for being front runners in content based platforms and social network leadership, start-ups such as SpeakIn have great potential to tap this neglected market. She believes that user-generated content also plays a pivotal role in business learning in the current scenario, especially for businesses interested in digital transformation. It is time to embrace technology and ensure sustainability. Many traditional businesses which have heavily borne the brunt of the current pandemic have no better option than going digital to compete in the market. The same applies to professionals as well who are striving hard to re-start their careers after layoffs.

From SpeakIn’s effective transformational journey it can be easily concluded that one of the best ways by which businesses can be resilient towards shocks is a quick and agile adaptation to change.

Author is Ankur Sharma, Editor, SpeakIn EDIT

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.