Shahanshah Manzoor, founder and managing director, Simpliv Learning, a USA based online learning platform, shares his thoughts on how he plans to pitch his company in the exciting Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) space.
Shahanshah Manzoor, is a serial entrepreneur, saw that something was seriously amiss in our learning system. We have traditionally been known to have a voracious appetite for memorizing humungous volumes of material. This method comes with many pluses, but the major drawback it has is that it falls short of preparing students with the vital life skills they need to survive and flourish in the real world.Our education system is like learning swimming theoretically. Once a student gets out of the formal learning tenure, she is thrown into the pool with no life support, so to speak. So, how does she survive? By learning to beat her hands and legs. It is exactly this skill that needs to be imparted by our educational institutions. Sadly, while we have world renowned centers of excellence, at the ground level, it is mostly rote learning.It is to teach learners across all educational levels, ages, and geographies the all-important skills needed to take on the real world that Shahanshah Manzoor started his online learning platform, SimplivLearning.Let us hear from him about his journey, the challenges he has faced, and the way ahead for his organization, and his vision of where it is headed in this industry.
Hello Shahanshah, welcome to this interview. Could you tell us what prompted you to enter this space? Which pain areas does your organization address?
Thank you! I am delighted to be on this interview.
It all started with my realization that while our education system has produced innumerable great minds and achievers, there is something that needs to change at the grassroots level. Several products of our educational system are capable of rubbing shoulders with the world’s leading luminaries. However, this crop has generally been from our ultra-elite institutions. As far as the average jobseekers are concerned, the moment they step out of these educational institutions, the first realization that dawns on them is that there is a huge difference between the learning they acquired at college, and how to put it to use.
The reason for this fact is that the system does not train them for what it takes to work and succeed in the work environment. There is a need to teach our students the skill and abilities that they are going to use in the real world. This is why we created our online learning platform, SimplivLearning, to help them close the crucial skills gap they carry. This is the precise pain area SimplivLearning addresses.
Looking back, what are the challenges you have faced being in this sphere?
There were many. The online learning market is huge, and it had many very big players already. Taking them on was a major challenge. That said, I was never really intimidated, because I always knew that one could find his place if he knew what he wanted to do and played his cards well. I was sure about the buyer I wanted to pitch my product to. I played to my strengths.
What is your brand’s USP? How does it differ from the other players in this industry?
Affordability, value for money, and best in class support. This forms the triad of Simpliv Learning’s USP. I built this brand messaging it as a platform that anyone can come to and enroll and start learning. While many other players offer courses that are priced at a range that will stretch the learners a little, I wanted to give them the same course, which has the same material, at a far lower price.
Another major USP is support. From the beginning, I have been convinced that if you want learners to come to us and stay with us, support is a vital prop to the actual product. I am pleased that we have gone down very well with our clients in this department. Our 24/7 support is very well received.
How has the pandemic impacted your brand?
When it exploded on the scene, COVID-19 bode a huge potential disaster. We braced ourselves for the worst, but also assessed that this could also be an opportunity. We strategized that we had to send out the message that this was a great time for learners to enhance their skills, since they are spending most of their time at home. Our pricing has always been our forte, and we used this optimally. We pitched our brand as a far less expensive, yet, viable alternative to some of the big names in the market.
Our decision to take on the pandemic headlong has worked wonders for us. Our revenues have jumped manifold during the past few months.
What is your vision for the future? Where do you see your organization in the next few years?
Our immediate objective is to improve the learning and teaching experience in order to maximize the potential of the students. Simpliv Learning accomplishes this by providing easy access to professional online courses and by linking students with specialized instructors.
In the long term, we are confident that we will carve a niche for our brand globally. The positive reputation we have built with our clients over the past 3-4 years since our inception gives me that confidence. We see a role for Simpliv Learning in this industry, which is set for exponential growth for many more years to come, pandemic or no pandemic.
So, thank you for your time, Shahanshah! It was a pleasure talking to you.
Shahanshah: Thank you! The pleasure is mine.