Tech Bets for an Urban World
Multi-Modal Skilling

Multi-Modal Skilling

Services that mix digital learning with in-person mentoring to expand access to the skills (and certificates or qualifications) that people need to get better jobs, and often directly link learners to employers

Potential Market Size (by 2022):
20-35 Billion USD; 25-45 Million Users

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Worldwide, more than 200 million people are unemployed but 38% of employers say it is difficult to fill vacant positions with adequately trained talent*


Universities and TVET providers do not understand the job market.

Employers report that graduates of universities and many TVET programs lack the hard and soft skills that are needed to succeed in the 21st century economy. Training programmes are offered for occupations for which there is often no demand in the labor market.

It is expensive to provide skilling.

Tertiary and TVET education is relatively  expensive, with few education financing options available in developing countries.

Tertiary and TVET education programs are underfunded.

Most countries are prioritizing universal primary and secondary education. For example, in Kenya only 2% of Government education budget is spent  on TVET.

It is hard to keep institutions accountable.

In many cases, institutions are not incentivized to ensure their students are linked to educational and employment opportunities after leaving.


Source: “Education Costs per Child” Global Partnership for Education 2017; “UIS Fact Sheet” UNESCO 2016; “Service Delivery Indicators: Kenya Report” World Bank 2013; World Bank Open Data accessed 2017



A degree is still needed for most good jobs. Many people desire a more efficient way to earn one.

People need more effective, efficient, and affordable ways of attaining a degree to enter the formal workforce. In Mexico, college graduates earn ~50% more than an elementary graduate by age 30 and over 80% more by age 50.*


"Being able to learn when and where I want is so convenient. Not having to deal with traffic is a dream come true."
Rogelia, 38, Mexico City


"It’s important to have a degree here and make sure you check all the boxes employers have outlined or you don’t stand a chance."
Vania, 19, Jakarta


Ultimately, students want to know that their investment will lead to a brighter future.

Many students are becoming demotivated to attend higher learning as they are often met with unemployment at the end of the long road. Students want evidence and as much assurance as possible that their investment will end in employment. Innovators offering direct  connections to potential employers are helping people validate their experience without the weight of a four year degree.


"There are so many courses students can take here to learn new things. But after they take them they find out that certification isn’t the right one they need."
David, 32, Nairobi


"In the course I took everyday was like a job interview. It was so competitive and compelling. It really drove deep self-learning."
John, 36, Nairobi


Source: “Estimating Private Returns to Education in Mexico” Guillermo-Peon et al. 2012



The addressable market is 10-20B dollars and it’s growing. A price drop of 30% could unlock twice the value and nearly triple the users


Potential Revenue
in Billions (USD)
addressable market


Potential Users
in Millions



Based on Jabodetabek* market:
Population who

  • Have a high-school diploma or lower degree
  • Want to continue education
  • Can afford tuition at 20% of income
  • Are willing to pay a tuition fee of 65-75 USD per month**

Extrapolated to global, taking country populations and adjusting for:

  • Urban population
  • GDP per capita (PPP)
  • Internet usage

Extrapolated to 5 years time using projected figures for the year 2022

5 yrs time with even more access for BoP
See above, except with a reduced tuition of fee of  40-60 dollars in Jabodetabek* (and matching price drop in other countries)



Multi-Modal Skilling technologies meet
user needs when they:

Provide students with opportunities to apply what they learn in real-world settings.


Are more affordable (including both course costs and other costs such as materials).


Increase flexibility to learn when and where it works best for students.

Connect students to a network of peers, teachers, mentors, and experts, mixing one-way communication (e.g. video lectures) with interaction (e.g. study chat rooms).


Provide links to employers, through mentorships, internships, or innovative partnerships with employers.

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HarukaEdu, based in Jakarta, was founded by four co-founders in 2013. Haruka was incubated by Google Launchpad and received >$2M from Pearson Affordable Learning Fund.

HarukaEdu partners with local universities and training providers to expand access to the content, by increasing the flexibility for learners.

HarukaEdu offers both tertiary certifications and skills trainings through a hybrid model of online learning and in-person education.

“We asked what industry needed and we created content based on their answers.”
Novistiar Rustandi, Co-Founder

The organization primarily targets full time workers who need time and geographic flexibility and boast ~4,000 users to-date, targeting 18,000 by end 2018. HarukaEdu is currently exploring routes to expand reach by delivering content through the social media applications which are most popular in Jakarta.

Founded: 2013
Based in: Jakarta
Employees: 50+
Total Investment: ~2M USD (B) + Undisclosed (A)
Investment Stage: Series A + B
Business Model: B2C (Students) + B2G/B2B (Universities)



Multi-Modal Skilling is already taking off in Jakarta


The Customers

End User:
Adults seeking skills or certifications that qualify them for jobs or for advancement in their careers

Who pays?
Jobseekers pay or, in some cases, employers looking to upskill their employees

Investment to Date

USD 3-8 Million

Raised to date across platforms we engaged; most at seed or series  A stage


The Players

(estimated  total of 5-10, excl. foreign companies)

The Jabodetabek* Market

Urban Addressable Market
Calculated based on total workforce without degrees able to afford tertiary certification courses by  paying ~20% of their salary and expressing willingness to take online courses~

200-450 thousand

Directional Revenue Potential
Based on total addressable market purchasing courses at a cost of USD 65-75 per month

USD 150-250 Million


Sources: Dalberg interviews, and analysis of World Bank data, SAKERNAS data, and investment press releases 2017 (or latest available year)
Notes: *Jabodetabek refers to Jakarta and satellite cities
~Reduced to account for typical positive bias in surveyed WTP and spread over 6 years to account for catch-up in cohort who did not have access to offering in the past





HarukaEdu Learner

Ica is 29 and studying Corporate Communications, a degree from the London School of Public Relations that she takes online through HarukaEdu’s e-learning platform. She works during the day in an entry-level role and studies online, mostly at night. “My job is in corporate communications, but I don’t have the background for it, so I can’t advance. This degree is my strategy to advance while still working.”

Ica loves that she can study when and where it makes sense for her and doesn’t have to battle traffic in order to get to class.

The flexibility of both accessing weekly video lectures while also studying through an always-accessible platform matches her learning style and lifestyle.

“Sometimes your mind is not in the right place to study. With this, I can eat while I learn, I can learn when I’m sick, I can learn from bed. I can learn anytime!” She doesn’t believe that traditional campus education is necessary to have a social education experience.

“We feel totally social. We have a class Whatsapp group, we have study group Whatsapp group and eventually we usually get together in-person with people from the Whatsapp groups in person anyway to study and hangout!”

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To catalyze the market, global tech players could use their strengths to...


Develop excellent content and consider partnering with innovators to deliver it. Tech players know the skills that the next generation of tech workers will need to succeed and have the presence to deliver it in a combined online/offline way in many markets. There is an opportunity to speed up its distribution across many geographies by partnering with innovators to adapt it to the local context. Most innovators would rather focus on building out their student-base and curating content for their teachers and mentors to adapt to the local context.

Collaborate on open certification. Innovators crave recognition of their value but are rarely recognized by Government. Tech companies (on their own or in partnership) have the opportunity to define excellence for the next generation of tech workers, legitimize local players and create a quality standard through certification.

Help build the evidence for MMS. We don’t yet know the optimal model for combining online and offline skilling, in terms of reduced unemployment. Tech actors should consider sharing data on the outcomes of their approaches. Ultimately, this is what will let us identify what works.

Support innovators by providing patient capital. We need a strong eco-system of players creating and adapting content to local school systems, but in most markets innovators can’t find capital that allows them to go after large yearly contracts with school districts/groups


Google developed content and partnered with local skilling entrepreneurs across Africa to deliver in-person teaching, as part of their Digital Skills for Africa program



To unlock demand, local innovators need to develop products that...


Are flexible, recognizing the demands on learners’ time. Local innovators should get to know the competing priorities of their learners so they might tailor ‘learning ecosystems’ to various audiences.

Blend online and offline engagement. Local innovators should help students more effectively build community and relationships with one another. Offline mentorship, guest speakers, meetups, and study groups can sometimes be hosted online to keep costs down and engagement high.

Help students show off their content knowledge and problem solving skills. Innovators helping students create more tangible representations of their unique skill sets, experiences, and abilities to actually perform on the job will better serve graduates (with formal degrees or certificates) and employers in the 21st century.

Build bridges to employers. It will be critical for local innovators (working to help people attain formal degrees or earn skill set certifications) to move beyond the job fair model and create more substantial connections to employers.



To realize the potential of every child, UNICEF and partners could...


Advise decision-makers on how to support skilling. UNICEF can work with tech players to champion the role of tech in reducing youth unemployment with decision-makers in Government and other partners. For example, this might include working with regulators to better recognize and certify multimodal skilling qualifications.

Help identify what works best in skilling tech. Where tech players are open to sharing data and findings, we can collaborate on testing and evaluation of new approaches bringing in UNICEF’s global network of educationalists and partners.

Facilitate collaboration on certification. UNICEF can play a convening role for tech actors willing to develop and define curricula and standards in key industries.