Online vocational education company Vah Vah! has raised $1.85 million in a seed round from Sequoia Capital India’s Surge.
The startup’s mission is to educate and prepare India’s young and dynamic population for their future careers, training them in vocational skills so that they can find employment or run their own business, a release said.
India will need over 70 million people in the skilled labour workforce by 2023. But at present there is a training capacity for only about 13 million students. College is not an option for about 20 million secondary school graduates each year, either due to their financial circumstances or school grades. As a result, this has created a huge gap between employment supply and demand for many industries crucial to the country’s growth.
“We want to bring the best teachers to every corner of India, and raise the quality of education in overlooked sectors that have the potential to create the next 100 million jobs,” said Vah Vah! Co-founder Shailesh Daxini.
“The shortfall of vocational schools means that vocational training is often inaccessible or too costly for many – making it especially challenging for those who live outside of metropolitan areas looking to upskill themselves. With Vah Vah!, anyone with a mobile phone and an internet connection can now access quality vocational education,” Daxini added.
Started in October 2020 and headquartered in Bengaluru, Vah Vah!’s courses are designed for those looking to build a career or run their own entrepreneurial service business. About 90% of the startup’s cohorts are women, with an all-India representation. The startup currently offers professional courses in Makeup and Hair Styling, with plans to expand to other vocational skill sets.
On the decision to first focus on the beauty industry, Co-Founder Eashwar Subbiah said, “The beauty sector in India is expected to grow at 30% CAGR, and workforce requirements have doubled according to the National Skill Development Council of India. The majority of our students enrol with the ambition to learn new skills to create earning opportunities for themselves in the industry, so there is a real need in the market from both employees and employers for such services.”
Vah Vah!’s courses are offered in small batches, and students are sent well-designed learning kits with all the material they need to complete the course.
Vah Vah! is part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies that have developed new digital solutions to help companies and individuals work, live and learn better in a rapidly evolving Southeast Asian landscape.