We’ve all seen how learning amongst students around us has greatly evolved driven by access to the internet as well as exposure to the ‘new knowledge’ economy - it makes all of us excited about the future and what the generation will unlock. Students today are increasingly aware of essential skills & technologies of tomorrow including AI, Web3, and more, and actively making themselves more marketable. This trend, however, is still not as widespread as we would hope for it to be.
Over 6.5 million students graduate from Indian colleges each year, but about 80% of them are found unemployable in the knowledge economy. There has been an attempt to bridge this gap over the decades, with better institutions, and lately with newer age upskilling solutions that help in meeting needs where traditional college degrees fail. This process of improvement, however, is slow and there needs to be alternate approaches that help in providing better outcomes where traditional education falls short.
There are positive patterns that have emerged as students are better connected today. With access to information and groups that help meet with like minded ideas and people, students across smaller cities & colleges already have better access than somebody in their position ever before. The Gen Z student has a very unique digital footprint and is naturally more adept at discovering information and meeting new people online. Covid has helped in doubling down on this transition, with the first ever generation of students that have spent almost 2 academic years learning & networking on online tools - adopting their own platforms such as Discord to facilitate this.
We’ve seen trends around student focused social platforms emerging in other geographies, noticeably China where many social learning apps have emerged that combine elements of learning with socialization. These apps, such as Timing and Co-Study (both of which have over 10s of millions of users) have emerged as the base camp for gen-z online learning, where they study together and share learning experiences in real-time. At the same time, we observed that there were numerous Discord servers that had sprung up to enable students in India to study together with each other. We believe that the next frontier in ed-tech would be led by product-first social learning platforms that will enable learning, networking and access to opportunities. That’s where Bluelearn comes in.
Bluelearn Origin Story
Started by Shreyans Sancheti & Harish Uthayakumar in 2020, Bluelearn started as a community on Discord connecting college students across India. The community housed groups that enabled students to engage in conversations ranging from things they were learning, hobbies they were pursuing, and of course…memes! The mission, right from the outset, was to transcend geographical boundaries and make learning accessible to all.
The community scaled to over 50k members within a few months of its launch, and evolved to deeper learning use cases. Examples included students logging in to common study rooms and listening to music as they studied together, improving their spoken english by getting onto voice rooms and engaging in conversations (monitored by a member to provide feedback), coding learners putting up their code to be reviewed for bugs, and more.
The Bluelearn team spotted a clear potential here, and recognized that beyond the 60k users mark, the community needs had matured beyond Discord, and needed a platform of it’s own.
The Bluelearn App
Launched in the later half of 2022, the Bluelearn app aims to serve the community of college students in a focused way. The platform is centered around the concept of Clubs, that each represent learning areas where students can engage, get help, and demonstrate their skills.
Today, the clubs include topics such as ‘Finance’, ‘Design’, ‘Coding’ etc. where one can start relevant discussions and engage in an automatically created group around that topic.
The platform aims to go beyond conversations with organized events, mentorship, competitions, challenges, and more. Each of these help in furthering the learning journey of students, helping them get regular support and feedback from other peers in their spaces.
BlueLearn aims to close the loop by helping students get the right outcomes through BL Work - an internship platform that connects students with the best companies in the tech ecosystem. Students today do not have an active presence on Linkedin given the profile only considers the academic institutions one was a part of and does not rely enough on the actual work done within the institutions. The app aims to make the profile of each student rich by encouraging them to pursue and post their projects thus forming a profile that relies on “Proof of Work”.
Given below is an example of how the BL Profile of a student is much richer and gives an in depth view of the capabilities of the student.
The social nature of the app solves for depth of applicants, while the enriched project-led profiles help in enhancing relevance to JDs, giving it the potential to become one of the most powerful job platforms for students yet and the primary place where students continue to build their career profiles.
The app today is the home to over 20+ clubs where over 150k students from 7500 colleges participate in active conversations.
At the center of our excitement around Bluelearn are its founders - Harish & Shreyans who started building the platform out while still in their 3rd year of undergrad. They carry a deep understanding as well as orientation on their user - the college student, and were able to draw deep insights on their behavior to build out the community. It was only our first time meeting with the team on their revised social + learning thesis, but their clarity of thought and unique vantage point on the user, made us cross the line on the same day itself.
We’re extremely excited to be partnering with the Bluelearn team in their Series A fundraise. The team’s user orientation and passion about the mission to enable students across India truly resonated with us and made us excited to be a part of the journey.
Elevation Connect 2023
Our annual investor portfolio conference