Siddharth Maheshwari, Co-Founder, Newton School

Founded in 2019 by serial entrepreneurs, Nishant Chandra and Siddharth Maheshwari, Newton School aims to transform India into a global developer powerhouse through a highly personalised training programme. By providing candidates with hands-on experience in the latest technologies via industry-engineered projects, Newton School enables graduates to emerge as highly skilled software developers on par with any in the world. These graduates are then made available for companies to be hired at zero cost. In an interaction with Higher Education Digest, Siddharth Maheshwari talks about the unique training programs Newton School offers to the aspirants, how did they manage to become a successful training provider in India, and many more.

 

Do you think, COVID-19 gave the much-needed impetus which the Indian eLearning sector was looking for? As an online full-stack training platform, how is Newton School helping learners during this pandemic?

COVID has brought about a permanent change in user behaviour, with more and more tech resistant teachers and schools getting online. More tech penetration means scalability for ed-tech startups.

Newton School is revolutionising tech hiring in times of COVID by identifying the best students from all over India and training them to be solid developers. COVID has made remote learning the default and thus allowed us to increase our student base rapidly during the pandemic. The program being part-time also enables both college students and working professionals to be a part of it. And, since our students are trained to work remotely, companies are preferring to hire them as they are remote ready from day one. Our unique pay after placement model under which the students are charged zero upfront fee democratises software development training and allows people to cross financial and location barriers to achieving their dream of becoming a great software developer.

What are the unique training programs Newton School offers to the aspirants? How does the company intend to stand out from the crowd?

By providing candidates with hands-on experience in the latest technologies via industry-engineered projects, it enables graduates to emerge as highly skilled software developers on par with any in the world. By providing an education that is affordable and reverse engineered towards industry requirements, Newton School ensures that its graduates are easily absorbed and can contribute towards an organisation’s success from day one! Its ultimate goal is to empower people to become amazing full-stack developers and empower them to earn more than 6 lakhs per annum at India’s leading companies. In another step towards this goal, it also runs a free platform where anyone can learn to code and compete. Its monthly coding contest is one of the most popular now in the world with 20K people applying to it.

It’s a big market and has some other players too. What makes us different is that we offer the course with absolute zero upfront fees and completely online. This enables people to cross financial and location barriers to achieving their dream of becoming a great software developer, leading to democratisation of software development education. Unlike our competitors, the program is part-time that enables both college students and working professionals to be a part of it. We provide an AI-enabled Learning Platform that gives a unique success path to each and every student. We also run a free learning platform with MAU of 1L+ programmers which makes us a one-stop destination for students to learn coding.

What inspired you to start Newton School in 2019? How have your objectives and goals changed since the company has grown?

Following our stints from our previous roles, both Nishant and I co-founded Bolo, a video-based consultation platform. While building it, we realised that there’s a huge demand for engineering roles and enthusiasm of students was also high. While talking to these students, we figured out that while the students were highly motivated, the education system had failed to make them employable. It was then that we decided to bridge this gap and founded Newton School in 2019 with an aim to empower students to become highly-proficient software developers. Through a unique programme structure, this talented pool of coders is made available to companies to hire immediately at zero cost.

We have grown 5x from 40 to 200 students per batch within 6 months. COVID has made remote learning the default and thus allowed us to increase our student base rapidly during the pandemic.

Nishant Chandra and Siddharth Maheshwari, Co-Founders, Newton School
Newton School’s first batch graduated recently with a 90% placement rate. How did you manage to become a successful training provider in India?

We have a unique pay after placement model under which the students are charged zero upfront fee.  We charge 15% for up to 3 years from students only when they are placed with a minimum package of 6LPA. This helps highly motivated students from different financials and geographical backgrounds to be a part of the course, become highly trained software developers and get a much better salary package.

What are the marketing strategies Newton School is using at the moment and would recommend to other EdTech startups?

Nothing works like word of mouth. In our case, our success stories of students have become viral leading to Newton School becoming highly popular. We have zero marketing spend at the moment. I would say that ed-tech startups should focus on delivering the highest quality education to students and let success spread the word.

Recently, you raised USD 650,000 in Seed Funding. What are your plans for expansion?

The coming months will see Newton School further evolve its platform and increase its user capacity to handle thousands of simultaneous learners. The company will also prioritise the development of products utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) to streamline and personalise the learning journey of each student.

What are some of the most innovative technologies in EdTech right now? What are the key trends of e-learning to follow in 2021?

Edtech took off really well with MOOC which offered static video courses. Edtech of the future is going all about a complete experience with the community playing a big role. Live classes make the instruction highly engaging, and mentorship plays a vital role in motivating and helping learners. In future, ed-tech will be more and more about the outcome in terms of learning as well as career directly through the course. 

What are the exciting things can we expect from Newton School in the next 12 months?

The company plans an intake of 10000 students in 2021, thus having a larger intake than all IITs combined. Courses around android development, iOS development, analytics etc. are also in the pipeline.

 

About Siddharth Maheshwari

After graduating from IIT Roorkee in 2014 with a B.Tech in Computer Science, Siddharth joined InMobi. After a yearlong stint as a Software Development Engineer, the succeeding years saw Siddharth co-founded and served as the CTO of two funded startups – Flicksup, a content discovery social network, and Bolo, a video-based Q&A startup. During this time, Siddharth also worked as a Tech Consultant for over six companies, where he was responsible for building up the product and tech. While at Bolo, Siddharth and his co-founder Nishant found a large gap between the supply and demand of software engineers in the country. They then decided to bridge this gap and founded Newton School in 2019 with an aim to empower its candidates to become highly-proficient software developers.

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