Exclusive Interview with Siddharth Maheshwari, Co-founder, Newton School

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by Analytics Insight

July 28, 2021

Siddharth Maheshwari

Edtech is one of the rising platforms that leverage major disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, IoT and many more. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed the potential of Edtech across the world among students. The global market size of Edtech is expected to hit US$10.4 billion in 2025 in India. These digital learning platforms are leveraging cutting-edge technologies to offer professional courses to brush up the skills of students as well as working professionals.

Analytics Insight spoke to  Siddharth Maheshwari, co-founder of Newton School, to understand how AI-enabled learning platforms democratize the idea of education in the world through ‘Outcome-oriented Education’.

 

1. Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization, and the services that your company offers

Newton School is an online Edtech platform, that trains people to be highly skilled software developers and get them placed in top companies and startups as frontend, backend, and full-stack software developers among other roles. It has a six months long online training program with a unique pay after placement model under which the students are charged zero fees until they are placed with a minimum package of Rs. 5L per annum.

Founded in 2019 by serial entrepreneurs Nishant Chandra and Siddharth Maheshwari, it aims to transform India into a global developer powerhouse through a highly personalized training program.

As the first step, Newton School identifies students with the most potential from all over India and puts them through an extensive admission process spanning over two weeks in which student’s motivations and learnability are tested. Because of the unique fees model, lakhs of candidates use the Newton School platform to enroll in a rigorous series of codability and attitude tests, designed to ensure only the best remain. A final round of interviews is conducted by Newton School experts, focused on communication skills, performance, and motivation which guarantees that only one percent of applicants make the final cut.

Selected students are then put through a power-packed six months program. Live classes are held online between 9 pm to 12 am that allow students and working professionals alike to be a part of the program. This full-stack development program includes 1000+ hours of coding, 50+ hours of soft skills training, live projects, and mentorship oversight— all part of a course designed by inculcating the latest industry standards and taught by industry professionals. The company also puts a very strong focus on quality training that scales. The product is built to monitor and evaluate each and every student and automatically provide recommendations for performance improvement.

Newton School graduates are then made available to partner companies at zero cost. Newton School’s first batch graduated recently with a 90% placement rate and the alumni are working in top companies like Unacademy, Rapido, Toppr, etc. Most of the students have ended up with double to triple salaries immediately after the course.

 

2. With what mission and objectives, the company was set up? In short, tell us about your journey since the inception of the company.

We firmly believe in the notion of making India the “Developer Powerhouse” of the world. It is imperative to understand the talent that Indians have and to make opportunities for it to be celebrated. At Newton School, we have been able to make processes that amplify the talent and also promote it in the right places. When we hear stories of young students finally achieving what they had aimed for, passion automatically pumps through our veins.

 

3. Brief us about the proactive founder/CEO of the company and his/her contributions towards the company and the industry

Newton School was founded by Siddharth Maheshwari and Nishant Chandra.

 

About Siddarth Maheshwari:

After graduating from IIT Roorkee in 2014 with a B. Tech in Computer Science, Siddharth joined InMobi. After a year-long stint as a software development engineer, the succeeding years saw Siddharth co-found and serve as the CTO of two funded startups— Flicksup, a content discovery social network, and Bolo, a video-based Q&A start-up. 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.

 

About Nishant Chandra:

Nishant Chandra is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Newton School. Nishant graduated from IIT Roorkee in 2014 with a B. Tech in Production and Industrial Engineering, before going on to earn a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Calcutta in 2017. That same year saw him join Unacademy as a Category Head, and subsequently a Product Manager. In these roles, Nishant was responsible for overseeing multiple engineering teams, in addition to the interviewing and hiring of candidates. Following this stint, he went on to co-found Bolo, a video-based Q&A startup.

 

4. What is your biggest USP that differentiates the company from its competitors?

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 the democratization of software development education. Unlike our competitors, the program is part time which 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 to code.

 

5. What’s your growth plan for the next 12 months?

We aim to build a platform that democratizes the idea of education in the world. The company will also prioritize the development of products utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline and personalize the learning journey of each student. Courses around android development, iOS development, analytics, etc. are also in the pipeline. While we do this, we keep quality education at the forefront and develop curriculums based on what the industry demands. This way we aim to achieve the model of ‘Outcome-oriented Education’.

 

6. Kindly share your point of view on the current scenario of big data analytics and its future?

There is no doubt about the fact that there is an increasing demand for big data analytics.
The skill is wanted across industries. With the increased growth of AI & ML, the demand curve for data-oriented capabilities is not seeing a downward slope any time soon. There are predictions that more than 150 zettabytes or 150 trillion gigabytes of real-time data will need analysis by 2025. What most companies would need is the right eye for skill-oriented recruits.

 

7. Kindly mention some of the major challenges the company has faced till now.

One of the biggest challenges we faced as a company has been to convince leading start-ups and organizations to look beyond conventional recruitment practices and hire non-IIT students. We knew that this hurdle could only be crossed with conviction in our pedagogy and the quality education that we offer to freshers. Now we have more than 200 companies hiring from us. This includes MNCs like Thoughtworks, Deloitte, Publicis Sapient, Maersk start-ups like Zomato, Nykaa, Lenskart, Byju’s, etc.

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