New Delhi: Media industry veteran Ronnie Screwvala, who has turned into an entrepreneur cum private investor after selling UTV to Disney, has entered the education sector with the launch of UEducation, an online portal focusing on higher education.
Screwvala will initially lead the investment of Rs 100 crore ($16 million) in the venture to develop content, interactivity, the platform, technology, assessments, adaptive learning, marketing and in building a national footprint.
“India has the largest college-going age cohort in the world. Yet, only one out of five of them enroll into higher education, resulting in one of the lowest higher education enrollment ratios, even among developing nations. If we have to meet our gross domestic product growth targets, we need to at least double the participation rate immediately. Otherwise we will miss out on our demographic dividend,” he said.
UEducation is Ronnie's second independent venture with the first being Unilazer Sports, a unit focusing on sports management. UEducation will offer flexible and personalised education to working professionals, and will cater to the specific requirements of new-age industries. Besides offering graduate and post-graduate degrees across a diverse set of courses, the venture will also form partnership with international universities.
“This sector is ready for disruption and innovation. The aspiration and ambition of young India has grown manifold. There is willingness to pay for quality education and the digital and next gen models are gaining acceptance amongst students, institutions and employers,” Screwvala said.
The new venture will cover sectors such as management, law, marketing, finance, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship, new economy expertise, sports, media, fashion, travel, hospitality and tourism.
To run the venture, Screwvala has roped in Mayank Kumar, who has degrees from IIT-D and Indian school of Business, Hyderabad, as co-founder and managing director. Kumar is at present the vice-president at Bertelsmann India Investments, a corporate venture capital fund focusing on the digital and education sectors. He has experience in working with bigwigs such as senior principal at the Parthenon Group and Tata Strategic Management Group.
Kumar said: “Our goal will be to foster the next level of education and train the next generation of the Indian work force.”
Ronnie's idea of using technology is meant to give students a world class education experience, while focusing on employability.
Screwvala founded the UTV Group in 1990 providing television content to broadcasters and in February 2012, he sold UTV to Walt Disney. After exiting UTV, he floated Unilazer Ventures which has been focusing on making private investments in segments like consumer, services, agriculture, healthcare, education, micro finance, etc.