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Interactive Cares: The quest to bridge the gap between education and employment

I’ll give you a couple of scenarios related to the job market, career, and employment in Bangladesh before we move into today’s topic. 

Consider the flights of young graduates today in Bangladesh. You graduate after 4-5 years of undergrad program. By the time you graduate, the market has changed significantly because that’s how the market operates, it changes all the time, and many things you studied become irrelevant. The first thing that happens is that many graduates don’t understand where to begin — how to apply for jobs, which companies to apply to, what it takes to land a job, what are the most sought-after skills in the market, and so on. For a majority of the graduates, it takes another year or two before they land a meaningful job. The challenges are common and sort of well known such as skills gaps, not knowing how to approach applying for jobs, not having enough understanding about career planning, and so on. That’s the first scenario. 

The second aspect is young unemployment is a growing challenge in Bangladesh. The job market remains depressive that further exacerbates the challenges for young people entering the job market. Several reports suggest that our economy has not been able to produce enough jobs. 

The third aspect is that people often don’t learn many marketable skills at universities. There is a significant industry-academia gap where people are learning skills that don’t have enough demand in the market or learning things that don’t meet the standard of the market. To give an example, digital marketing is an increasingly in-demand skill in the market but few people who enter the space come with relevant training. In most instances, existing curricula don't teach digital marketing. This creates challenges for students entering the job market. This is just one example. You can find many similar skills that are core to today's world of work but students rarely learn at school. 

Similarly, graduates lack skills and education about the job market, career planning, and industry connection. The majority of universities don’t have career development programs where students can get advice and suggestions about entering the job market and landing jobs successfully. These institutions rarely connect students with potential recruiters and companies. As a result, students usually come out of university with little knowledge about how to navigate the job market and career opportunities. 

Fourth, while young people complain about the lack of career and job opportunities, industry leaders across sectors often complain that they can’t find quality human resources to hire. That lack of skilled people is affecting their growth negatively. This poses completely different questions and turns previously noted difficult job market narratives on its head. What we can surmise is that the problem is complex and multi-faceted. 

This is the context where Interactive Cares, a Dhaka-based edtech startup with a focus on employability comes in. Interactive Cares recognizes the gap between academia and industry, which often results in students graduating with skills that have little demand in the job market, needing them to learn new practical skills. Many students struggle to bridge this gap and find suitable employment opportunities. This applies to professionals as well who constantly need to upgrade themselves and learn new skills. 

The company says it aims to address this problem by offering specialized and practical courses on skills that are in high demand in the market and by providing training on these skills, it seeks to improve the employability of its students. Many people might question this thesis. But given the world we live in today, things change fast. 

Continuous learning has become one of the major verticals in education across markets. Due to the rapid changes in the market, people are now having to learn new skills throughout their life. If you add this reality, Interactive Cares is on to something big here. 

Before getting to the details about Interactive Cares and its plans, let me clearly state that I don’t suggest any one company will be able to solve the above-mentioned problems in our market. It is a complex problem that demands a comprehensive solution. We need policy interventions, changes in how people learn and universities teach, and more opportunities for young people among other things to address these challenges. But I also think you can’t solve major challenges at once. To that end, the proposition Interactive Cares proposes and the tenacity the company has shown over the last several years, I have found all of it convincing. Now we will need more initiatives from the government and other stakeholders, but this is also a solution worth looking into. 

Interactive Cares offers a strong value proposition — high-quality courses on the most sought-after skills, high-quality teachers and teaching materials, extensive learning support, career preparation guidance, industry exposure, and job placement, all at an affordable cost. If the company can pull the ambition off, it has a real chance to make a real dent in one of the major challenges Bangladesh faces. 

In this story, we take a closer look into Interactive Cares' story, its business model and value proposition, its product and services, its competitive position and advantages, and its ambition going forward.

Background and History

Interactive Cares was founded in 2020 by Rare Al Samir and Jamila Bupasha Khusbu. Prior to Interactive Cares, both founders worked in the education space for several years. Samir taught students as a private tutor while at university and then ran his offline education business. Khusbu worked at Saifur’s, a leading private education institution in the country, for five years. 

“While at University, I taught students,” reminiscence Rare Al Samir, Founder and CEO of Interactive Cares. “I also ran an offline education business which gave me an insight into the education market in Bangladesh. I had the opportunity to closely observe both students and their guardians and learn their preferences and expectations. That eventually led to my fascination with the education sector.” 

Their exposure helped both founders develop an understanding of the sector and its inherent challenges and opportunities. 

“Before starting Interactive Cares, I had the opportunity to observe the education landscape closely both as a teacher and as a small education entrepreneur,” says Samir. “I came to see that there was not enough high-quality work in online education apart from free Facebook and Youtube videos. I was deeply passionate about education, so I thought there are opportunities in this space to work. That eventually led to Interactive Cares. We were the first platform to offer interactive education. We were not only offering pre-recorded video courses, but students could also interact with teachers/mentors and work closely. That's where our name Interactive Cares comes from.”

Both founders invested the initial capital out of their pocket and then used their personal networks to raise the initial capital. 

“I had some savings from my time at the Bangladesh Army and teaching students, so I invested from my own pocket,” says Samir. “I met my co-founder Khushbu in 2016. Both of us were into co-curricular activities such as the math olympiad, quiz competitions, and debates as students. We knew people who could help. Since we had prior experience of working in education, it was easier to start and build initial traction.”

In the first year, the company started by offering free masterclasses and doing events in collaboration with prominent universities, which helped it to get a few thousand students. It then launched a few of the initial courses within its close network. Those courses did well on the back of a unique customer acquisition strategy.

But the company also had to go through its share of challenges. The initial few challenges came from a lack of funding, operation, and product design. 

“When the pandemic hit in early 2020, we had a difficult time,” explains Samir. “Our course production stalled and consequently, our business suffered. But we never lost hope. People were not particularly enthusiastic about online education before 2020. COVID changed the entire landscape. We received a massive response from the market. While we were happy with the growth, we were also concerned that people might stop doing online courses when everything returns to normalcy. But to our surprise, we grew 10X in 2021. Our growth has since been consistent.” 

One of the growth strategies the company used is partnerships. It built partnerships with 50 clubs from different universities, offered free masterclasses, and organized events to prepare the market. The move helped it to build a database of one lakh students within a short time. While doing all these, it kept building its portfolio by creating quality integrated courses. The comprehensive approach helped the company build awareness about its service in the early days.

The company's initial progress was also aided by the dearth of Bangla language skill development and technical education courses. There were and are a few platforms that offer Bangla courses, but room for doing more remains. 

In the early days, Interactive Cares primarily focused on courses. It has since expanded its focus to employability and creating placement opportunities for Bangladeshi young people. A strong differentiation strategy as well for the company as the online courses market gets saturated. In a 2021 interview with FS, Samir told us: “We started Interactive Cares in 2020 with the ambition to tackle the unemployment problem in Bangladesh. We want to help improve the employability of our young people through integrated courses, career paths, learning path programs, and masterclasses.” 

The company spent its early years fine-tuning its product, establishing the product-market fit, and finding a consistent growth path. 

Over the last three years, Interactive Cares has become an entirely different organization. Its team has grown. Platform has grown both in number of courses as well as in users. For instance, the company says it has over 105 courses on its platform whereas that number was 5 in 2020. The number of students has exceeded 90,000. 

Interactive Cares now has a much more polished product built with constant feedback from users. The company has tried to design an integrated learning experience in all the courses it offers that include recorded content, live classes, and daily and weekly support sessions to help students solve problems, and once the course is completed, the company helps students with job placement opportunities under a recruitment program it launched recently where it partners with companies to create placement opportunities for its graduates. 

“We are helping companies to hire quality talents through our student network,” says Samir. “Every day we are getting new requests for hiring from different companies in the country. We’ve also started knocking on the international market. We are in conversation with several Singapore-based startups for creating placement opportunities for our students.” 

From a small team of 7-8 people in 2020, it has grown to a team of over 40 people. Today, the company espouses a simple vision of creating one million job placements within the next few years. 

“Our vision is simple: a student will take courses on our platform, will be certified by our partner university, and after completing the course, they will get jobs at our partner companies,” explains Samir. “We want to build a bridge to address two challenges: improve the state of employability of young people and narrow the gap between academia and the industry.”

Products and Services: Building an integrated learning solution 

From a product standpoint, one can look at Interactive Cares from three perspectives: courses, learning methods, and the tech stack/platform. The company categorizes its courses based on program types and skills.  

On the skills/subjects side, Interactive Cares offers a wide range of courses in four categories. 

Under a category called technology learning, its biggest vertical, it offers courses across tech skills that include courses on full-stack web development, Laravel, WordPress, Android app development, flutter development, JavaScript, and Python. These courses are taught by leading professionals in their respective fields, including individuals working at renowned companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Technology learning is a key focus for the company because these skills offer greater career opportunities both in Bangladesh and abroad. 

The second vertical Interactive Cares focuses on is freelancing, covering skills such as video editing, graphics design, UI/UX, and SEO. The company recognizes the growing demand for freelancing opportunities and aims to help students tap into this market. This goes along with its stated ambition to help create international placement opportunities for its students. “We want more people to come to freelancing,” says Samir. “This can create more employment opportunities. We have an excellent number of students in these courses.” 

A third vertical for Interactive Cares is courses for government and private job preparation, including BCS (Bangladesh Civil Service) and bank job exams. The company collaborates with experienced teachers who have achieved top ranks in these exams to develop comprehensive strategies for exam preparation. 

This is an excellent business decision given that a significant percentage of Bangladeshi students appear for government and private jobs such as BCS, bank jobs, and so on. Contrary to that, finding high-quality coaching and prep materials for these jobs remains a challenge. Many students spend years preparing for BCS exams and still fail due to a lack of quality guidance and training. 

Interactive Cares says it has been working hard to create high-quality solutions for these students. “Over the last year, we have worked hard to build some high-quality courses on BCS preparation,” says Samir. “We have worked with teachers who are BCS cadres and ranked number 01-03 in BSC exams in previous years. Together, we have created courses where students can get a comprehensive strategy to prepare for the BCS exam.” 

Another key vertical for Interactive Cares is higher study preparation, with courses designed to help students excel in exams such as IELTS, GRE, TOEFL, SAT, and GMAT. The company collaborates with teachers who are pursuing higher studies abroad to deliver high-quality courses in these areas. 

Interactive Cares has built a deliberate process to find and work with the best teachers in all the categories it has courses. “In education, teachers play a vital role,” says Samir explaining the focus of the company on working with the best teachers. “It is as important as the skill you are learning, if not more. We are trying to offer a complete learning environment to our students where they not only get the best course materials, they have the best teacher, the best platform, and everything in between.”

The other important part of Interactive Cares’ product is its evolving job placement programs. The company has partnerships with more than 50 companies that recruit from its student pool. Interactive Cares also sends details of its students to these partners. As we noted earlier, hiring the right people is a challenge for most companies. To that end, if Interactive Cares can truly supply skilled people, it makes perfect sense for the companies to hire through Interactive Cares. 

Apart from these partnerships, the company also runs two-three Career Fairs per year where it invites companies and students. Real-time recruitments happen during these fairs. 

“We are signing partnerships with new companies every week. Our vision is to work with placement for our students across industries,” explains Samir. “We are also looking to build similar partnerships with international companies. Remote work has been on the rise. Many international companies are now regularly hiring people from Bangladesh because they can hire better talent at a competitive cost. This opens up new doors of opportunities for us.” 

These industry partnerships benefit Interactive Cares in many ways and we have noted some of them. One significant benefit is that these partner companies help Interactive Cares to review, curate, and improve its curriculum. Interactive Cares shares its course curriculum with these companies, they review them and provide feedback to Interactive Cares. It helps Interactive Cares improve its curriculum. 

Interactive Cares has recently introduced a fee for the recruitment service for companies, which was initially free for company partners. They get to access ready talents and hire with more certainty than otherwise. Hiring is expensive and effortful. If Interactive Cares can help companies to hire better and save time and money, companies should be happy to pay for the service. 

The next important aspect of Interactive Cares’ product is the learning method. The company claims to have a unique integrated learning model, a blend of both live and recorded classes. Students have access to recorded video content for each course, which they can refer to at any time. The company also conducts regular live classes, where students can receive assistance and interact with teachers and fellow students. Additionally, each course has a private community group where students can seek real-time support and engage with the Interactive Cares support team and their peers.

Samir explains the product: “First, students get recorded video content which they can access for a lifetime on our app and website. For each course, we arrange two daily live support sessions for each specialized programs, weekly and monthly live classes where students can interact with the teacher as well as with other students who are taking the same course. Third, every course has a private community group where students can ask for help if they face any challenge with a topic and get replies from the course teacher, our support team, and other students in real-time. Even after that, if a student needs further support, we arrange live support sessions which students can book on our platform using the calendar feature and get personal support from the teacher.”

Each Interactive Cares course comes with assignments and projects. The students who do well in these assignments get the opportunity to join secret talent pool groups where they then get further support for professional and job readiness skills such as mock interviews, portfolio preparation, and so on. The company then recommends these students to its partner companies. 

The Overview 

Next comes the types of courses, Interactive Cares offers four different types of courses: integrated courses, specialized career path programs, learning path programs, and masterclasses. The majority of its revenue comes from these four products. 

As noted above, the company works with prominent instructors for creating courses. Courses are launched following a standard process, including offering free masterclasses and collecting consumer feedback to gauge the demand and design the course. 

Career path programs come with placement opportunities for students. The company says several hundred students got job and internship opportunities through its career path program. 

“Students love our integrated courses since they get both recorded videos and live sessions in the same package,” explains Samir. “Our career path program prepares students for specific jobs and connects them with top-notch companies and industry experts. The program has gained an excellent response from the market.” 

Learning Path Program offers collaborative learning through real-time projects. The company claims that it is the first platform to do something like this in Bangladesh. 

“In our Spoken English Learning Path, during the first month, students learn through videos and live classes,” says Samir. “In the second month, they practice speaking every day for one hour with mentors and partners in their groups. The approach helps them improve quickly. By the time they finish the program, their English-speaking ability automatically grows to a decent level even if they start from scratch.” 

To take Interactive Cares courses, students sign up on its website and app. Students can watch free and demo classes from any course on the platform before enrollment. They can also join live classes with one click from the course module. 

The company’s tech stack runs on a custom platform built with HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap and a backend that is built with PHP. The company has been also working on its native virtual classroom. 

Currently, Interactive Cares is a team of 50 people and growing. The company also has a network of affiliate marketers and campus ambassadors who work with it in various capacities. 

While Interactive Cares has raised $370k in total disclosed funding, the company prioritizes running a sustainable business. 

“We are a profitable company,” says Samir. “We have been since the beginning of our journey. We plan to maintain profitability as we move forward. We of course want to grow, which is a priority for us but we want to grow sustainably.” 

Interactive Cares has grown significantly since its inception both in terms of the number of courses offered and the number of users served, becoming a prominent player in the online learning industry in Bangladesh. The company has successfully enrolled thousands of students and has built a reputation for providing high-quality education and job placement support.

Interactive Cares currently offers over 105 courses, compared to just five courses in 2020. It introduces 5-7 new courses every month. The number of paid students, who have bought at least one course on the platform, has exceeded 90,000, showcasing the company's expansion and increasing impact. The company says it has more than 200,000 registered users. The company claims about 70% of its users are repeat customers and that it adds approx 8000-10,000 new customers every month.

The Business Model

Interactive Cares' primary business model relies on the sale of courses. The company has three different pricing for courses. 

Regular integrated courses where students get recorded videos, problem-solving live sessions, projects and assignments, and certificates after the course cost between BDT 1000 to BDT 2000. 

Career Path programs are priced between BDT 5000-10,000. These are six-month-long programs where along with excellent courses, students get weekly live classes and several hundred videos, 30-plus projects, an excellent job readiness program, career fairs, and job placement opportunities. 

Learning Path prices start at BDT 2000. These are two-month-long programs that include video classes, live classes, and capstone projects, and the program ends with a group project. 

Apart from courses, Interactive Cares has several evolving revenue streams such as placement opportunities for its students and recruitment service for companies. Some of these services remain free for now. However, Interactive Cares can and does plan to monetize these services in the future. It makes sense for the companies. Because through these partnerships, companies gain access to a pool of skilled candidates, while Interactive Cares ensures its students have opportunities for meaningful employment.

The company also organizes career fairs, where students can connect with potential employers and explore job opportunities. Past events have seen participation from over 100 companies, including leading startups, software companies, and digital marketing agencies. By bridging the gap between students and companies, Interactive Cares aims to address the hiring challenges faced.

One major cost center for Interactive Cares is teachers’ collaboration. The company currently has two models for this purpose. With some teachers, it pays at once based on the course hours and other metrics. With others, it has a revenue-sharing collaboration where teachers get a share of course revenues when the course is live. Apart from that, marketing and production are some of the major sources of cost for the company.

The EdTech Market

“I think edtech is a big industry in Bangladesh,” says Samir. “If you look at the verticals, you have K-12, admission tests, job, and recruitment, skill development, freelancing, and other new emerging verticals. Combinedly, it is a nearly multibillion-dollar industry in Bangladesh. I'm pretty sure that in the next few years, this market will increase by about 5x to 10x.” 

The online education scene has significantly changed after COVID. The pandemic has taught people that edtech is much more than Facebook, and Youtube videos. It could be an alternative to physical learning. When you are going to physical coaching, it is time-consuming given the traffic and all the hassles, which can hamper your learning experience. Compared to that you can learn online conveniently. Moreover, online is 5-10 times less expensive than any offline coaching service. 

Online learning also addresses many accessibility challenges. Regardless of where you are, you can learn from some of the best teachers online who you probably don't have access to in the offline world. The number of excellent teachers is limited. Similarly, the number of excellent coaching centers is limited. Even if you want to, you can’t go to a teacher who lives in another part of your city or lives in another Country. So offline limits your opportunity to learn better. Online dismantles this barrier. 

While it is hard to find accurate market data about the edtech market in Bangladesh, there is little disagreement with the fact that the edtech market in Bangladesh has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by increasing internet penetration, the demand for practical skills, and the need for accessible and affordable education. 

Several factors contribute to favorable market conditions, including a large population of young students and professionals, a growing tech industry, and a rising interest in online learning.

Interactive Cares operates in this rapidly expanding market, capitalizing on the demand for quality education and job placement assistance. With its focus on practical skills, specialized courses, and industry partnerships, the company has positioned itself to tap into the growing opportunities in the edtech sector in Bangladesh.

Competitive Advantages

Interactive Cares operates in a competitive market, with several online learning platforms offering similar courses and services. While the edtech market has a long way to go, the noise in the market has accelerated significantly over the last few years.

However, Interactive Cares has managed to establish a strong competitive position through several key advantages that include: 

Specialized and Practical Courses: Interactive Cares offers specialized courses in high-demand skills, focusing on practical learning that is relevant to the job market. Combining excellent teaching and real-world projects, the company differentiates itself from other generic online learning platforms.

Leading Industry Experts as Instructors: The courses at Interactive Cares are taught by industry professionals who have real-world experience and expertise in their respective fields. The company claims it works with the top 1% of professionals to create courses. “Our teachers belong to the top one percent when it comes to their specific field,” claims Samir. In education, along with the platform, teachers also play a vital role. This ensures that students receive quality education directly from practitioners who are leaders in their industries.

Placement Opportunities: Interactive Cares has partnerships with over 100 companies, enabling it to provide placement opportunities for its students. This strong network of hiring partners gives the company an edge by connecting students with potential employers and increasing their chances of securing employment.

The first thing that I would like to draw attention to is our vision,” claims Samir. “For every other player, they offer you a course, you take it, end of the story. For us, we don't merely sell courses. We focus a lot on the success of our students. That's why we pay close attention to post course success of our students and we ensure that they get placement. Our focus is employability.” 

An Integrated Learning Model: Interactive Cares offers a blended learning model that combines recorded video content with daily twice-fixed support sessions, live classes, and community support. This approach provides students with flexibility in accessing course materials and the opportunity to engage directly with instructors and peers. 

“We provide a comprehensive online learning solution. Students get recorded classes, live classes, and live support sessions, they get a support group to receive problem-solving support, and then there are projects and assignments and a job readiness program with every course,” explains Samir. “Some platforms offer either live classes or recorded courses. But the number of platforms that offer a comprehensive education is not that many.” 

Learner-obsessed culture: Interactive Cares has built a culture that obsesses with learner benefits. “We are constantly taking feedback from our learners and improving ourselves,” says Samir. “Our customers tell us what they want and what is missing and we supply them with that. We speak with our learners all the time. In education, trust is of paramount importance. Trust is what drives brand image and customer retention. We have worked hard to build a relationship of trust with our learners.”  


Interactive Cares has become one of the leading companies in the vertical it operates within a short period. However, the company faces several challenges going forward. 

The market is competitive. New players are entering the market every month. Many existing players are doubling down and expanding. The space also has a ton of smaller players. Combinedly, it has become a crowded market with all kinds of offerings that can make it challenging to stand out for players like Interactive Cares without constant innovation and push for quality. 

COVID accelerated the interest in the edtech space. However, that acceleration has slowed down and many edtech companies reported that they are seeing a slowdown in demand. Given the general perception of education in the market, it is hard to predicate how the new reality will play out for edtech in the country. 

Moreover, the ongoing economic downturn makes it difficult to raise money and thus invest in the market, and at the same time, it also affects customer demand. 

Apart from broad market challenges, Interactive Cares also has to be careful about its operational challenges. As the company continues to grow and enroll more students, maintaining the quality of courses, instructors, and support services becomes crucial. Ensuring a consistently high standard across all courses can be a challenge as the user base expands.

Additionally, the technology landscape and industry trends evolve rapidly, particularly in the tech and freelancing domains. Interactive Cares needs to stay updated with the latest advancements and ensure its courses remain relevant and aligned with industry demands, an effort that will need constant investment. 

Future Plans

Interactive Cares has set ambitious goals for it. The company has both material goals and long-term ambitions. The company aims to further strengthen its position in the market and expand its offerings. Some of the company's plans include-

Diversifying Course Offerings: Interactive Cares plans to introduce new courses in emerging technologies and in-demand skills to cater to the evolving needs of the job market.  

In the near future, the company plans to introduce courses on skills relevant to what people call the 4th industrial revolution such as blockchain, IoT, AR, VR, etc. “There are no suitable courses on these skills in Bangla,” says Samir. “We plan to introduce courses on these skills in the coming days.”

Geographic Expansion: While Interactive Cares primarily focuses on the Bangladesh market, it has plans to expand its reach to other countries, targeting international students who are seeking quality education and job opportunities. 

“This year we are working to go international and attract international students,” says Samir. “We have already launched one course on startup fundraising taught by a renowned Singaporean angel investor. We plan to launch a few more courses for international audiences. These courses will be in English and we plan to bring international trainers to teach these courses along with Bangladeshi trainers.” 

Enhanced Learning Experience: The company says it plans to improve the overall learning experience by incorporating innovative features and technologies into its platform. 

Partnerships and Collaborations: Interactive Cares intends to forge more partnerships and collaborations with companies, educational institutions, and subject matter experts. 

“We want to launch the University Specialization Certification Program,” explains Samir. “This is common in edtech across markets. Companies like Upgrad and Emeritus in the India, Coursera, and edX in the USA run university certification programs. We want to run a similar program in partnership with one university at least this year in collaboration with a leading university in Bangladesh.”

Overall, Interactive Cares aims to solidify its position as a leading online learning platform, bridge the employability gap, and empower students with the skills needed to succeed in the rapidly evolving job market. The company has made excellent progress over the last few years. The potential of edtech is no longer a speculation. If Interactive Cares can pull some of its ambition, things are going to be pretty interesting for the company and edtech in Dhaka. 

This story was developed under the FS partner program, where we highlight interesting, high-impact organizations and their work that might not attract comprehensive analysis otherwise.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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