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Omair Aasim

Omair Aasim

Co-Founder - CTO
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Company Profile
I am the Co-Founder and CTO of DeZyre. I founded DeZyre in 2011 with my high school friend Binny Mathews. We came back from US to work on this idea. We strongly believe that what students learn in colleges is not sufficient for them to get jobs. There is a huge gap between what is taught in college and what skills are required in the industry. Most colleges focus on theoretical knowledge and hence students dont learn any practical skills. For example - a student might know the definition of a Balance Sheet - but if you ask him to build a balance sheet in Excel from scratch - he or she will be clueless.

That's where DeZyre comes in. We provide short term certification courses that prepare students on practical skills that are required in the industry. And we believe the best people to teach you these practical skills are not college professors but expert professionals from the industry. For example for our Investment Banking course, we partnered with real investment bankers who have or used to work for investment banks like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and CSFB. This way you can be sure that the students are learning the exact skills that are required for that job role.

All courses on DeZyre are taught in the form of recorded videos where you will see the faculty teaching and explaining using Microsoft Excel. Unlike other online institutes our courses don't consist of a bunch of powerpoint slides along with some animated character reading through them. We don't believe in the concept of providing the materials to the students and asking them to self learn. We believe in teaching.

Each course is broken down into several modules and each module contains a recorded video and an adaptive quiz. Once the student watches a video, he has to take the quiz to move on to the next module. The quiz is adaptive in nature meaning if the student selects an incorrect answer, it will explain why the answer is incorrect and give another chance to the student till he/she selects the correct answer. We also courier textbooks to students. At the end of the course, they have to take a final exam after which we courier them the certificate.

DeZyre's offering doesn't just stop there. We also offer career assistance. Each student of DeZyre gets connected to an industry professional. They provide assistance in the form of rewriting resume, taking mock interviews, giving tips on how to apply for jobs etc.

My Role
We are a very young startup and like in any startup you don't have any clear role defined. At night you sit and code, in morning you do some online marketing activities then most of the time you spend on sales. You take on multiple roles at the same time. But broadly speaking, I am in charge of our tech platform which I built from scratch and I take care of online marketing. My CoFounder Binny Mathews is in charge of launching new courses and business development.
Relationship with potential investors
We are still only angel funded and haven't seriously reached out to VC's for our next round. As far as our Angel Investors are concerned, we made a conscious effort to hand pick investors who would add value to our business. Like our lead Angel Investor is Binny Bansal of Flipkart - every month we have meetings with him and he provides us with great inputs based on his experience at Flipkart.
companys culture
The culture of the company is what the founders set when they found the company. At DeZyre it was customer satisfaction and understanding customer needs. We paid maniacal focus to speak not just to every student who enrols but also to every student who visits the site. In the initial days, we gave our personal cell numbers to every student and they would call us even 3am at night and we would be there to assist them. As the company has grown, this has trickled down to the employees who give the same importance to students. But even today, this is not something that's left for employees to do - my co-founder still speaks to every student personally and gets their feedback on how we can improve their experience on DeZyre.
Difficulties faced
Our product essentially is our courses. Right from the very beginning we were very clear that we will only work with the best industry professionals to develop our courses. We wanted DeZyre to be a platform where a student from a city like Bhavnagar in Gujarat can get the opportunity to learn from an Investment Banker at Goldman Sachs which otherwise is not possible at all.

So the number one challenge was to find the best faculty and then convincing them to work with us. I must say we have been very lucky in this regard. We've had the opportunity to work with some of the best faculty.

The next challenge was delivering the product. In India, broadband penetration is very low. So it was important to make sure the videos play on low internet speeds.

Advice to young entrepreneurs
Be persistent. The first 2 years are the most difficult for any start up. Not that it gets easier after that - but most start ups don't survive that long. Thats why its important to work with investors who bring in much more than just money. Another thing most entrepreneurs struggle with is time. With so many tasks to do - they lose focus. So as a policy at DeZyre - we write down 3 key things we will focus on every week. I think this is practised at Google and it works out very well for us.
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