We all need little help at times. Someone reliable who can look after our VLSI design & verification, someone who can help us do our academic project. Last but not least – if someone can rehearse live interviews with us? Someone teaching us how to write better at work?
The help is here – DSipher Designs. Arijit Dutta and Soumen Basak, both IIT Graduates are determined to make our lifes easier by their excellent products that will bridge the gap between industry needs and the current talent pool available. The recent softskills courses they launched are certainly need of the hour for young IT grads. Do not forget to check the written communication and live interview courses !
Here are the excerpts of the interview with Arijit Dutta :
Congratulations on winning the Best Startup at SiliconIndia Startup City 2012, Chennai . Take us through the journey so far.
DSipher was formally incorporated in September of 2008, and began operations in early 2009.
In 2009, we conceived and implemented a web 2.0 solution, eF2, for filling non-online application forms online. The product was licensed to a leading Indian education portal which offered it as a service for 6 months. This was eventually discontinued as the licensee could not implement a viable business model around the service. The first version of IPintentio was launched in mid-2010 as a free, online digital design platform for entrepreneurs, hobbyist and freelancers. The platform included integrated open-source EDA software and various design utilities.
As the next step in our vision, post launch, we began exploring the domestic education market. In this regard, we partnered with faculty in the department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay & Global Academy of Technology with great success.
In 2011, IPintentio was selected as one of the winners of the India Innovation Growth Program, conducted by Lockheed Martin and the IC2 Institute, University of Texas at Austin, facilitated by DST Govt. Of India in partnership with FICCI.
In 2012, we expanded our content portfolio by adding programs in Advanced Digital Circuit Design, Android Application Development and Web Page Design. Presently, we partner with multiple organizations – across geographies and categories (public sector, startups, technology and market leaders) – to reach out to our target markets in addition to offering our content and platform direct to customers. So far, close to 200 students have undergone direct training through our programs and close to 1500 students have accessed learning content through IPintentio.
From your website, it looks like you specialize in VLSI Design related areas.Could you please elaborate the value of these activities and the job market available for experts in this area?
The focus on VLSI Design related domains has stemmed from the founders’ areas of expertise, and relative lack of quality training / education availability at reasonable cost.
The number of opportunities available for fresh graduates in core VLSI is small when compared to embedded programming, not to mention general IT. Based on available estimates, the number will definitely be less than 7000 jobs a year in India. Moreover, VLSI companies recruit from EE / ECE / CS streams only, further reducing the supply chain. This, in conjunction with the clear lack of awareness on this domain among students, makes the demand niche.
Having said that, once you are in, a VLSI job is rewarding both technically and financially. We concentrate on Digital Design and Verification, areas where employment opportunities are the highest in VLSI. However, we have recently diversified into other domains where both demand and opportunities are higher.
IPintentio provides assistance for B.Tech/ M.Tech Projects. How has been the response so far?
Our project assistance is characterized as follows:
- We design the projects. 50% of VLSI projects are based on IEEE papers
- We provide training to students to get them up to speed
- We guide them through the project implementation
- We DO NOT sell ready-made projects
We have been happy with the response. For example, with one of our partners, about 50% of students who have subscribed to at least one of our courses have opted to do their projects with us. Earlier, we did a pilot where we guided 25% of an undergraduate class with their projects.
Unfortunately, faculty in many, if not most, of our engineering colleges are not qualified enough to design and guide their students through the mandatory project phase. This is where we hope to play a leading role. The goal is not to sell projects, but rather to hand-hold them through the process so that they end up learning something significant through the process.
How different is DSipher Designs from the plethora of online learning tools available in the market today?
DSipher Designs has domains where we have industry-grade experience. We do not teach domain concepts alone. We also try to imbibe processes that will allow them to practice what they have learned in the real world.
One of the highlights of our learning tool is the virtual lab interface. This interface allows all learners to practice what they have learned on the platform itself. No downloads, no installations, and once again anytime, from anywhere.Our platform is an enabler. It allows us to deliver effective training online and allows our customers to access our content anytime, from anywhere and at affordable rates. The chosen medium guarantees reach and scalability.
Take us through the certification process and priority placements provided by Freshersworld.
Students who subscribe through our partners are given certificates from our partners, since they carry weight. We provide certificates to students who subscribe with us directly. All certification is contingent on a student’s performance during the course. Evaluation is based on quizzes and mini-projects – all of this, online.
We have also tied up with Freshersworld to offer priority placements to our student customers. Students who complete our courses successfully, will be eligible for this offer, wherein their resumes are forwarded with higher priority to prospective employers, provided the technical skillset requirements are met. Usually, this is a paid service on Freshersworld.
The certification and placements package has been introduced to enable us to offer holistic solutions to our student customers.
What is the initial investment for DSipher designs? Has it achieved breakeven?
Initial investment has been owners’ capital. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, one of us worked exclusively as a design consultant for Semiconductor companies for a period of 2 years. This brought in revenue and allowed us to sustain during the pre-revenue phase. Currently, we are a revenue earning company, though we have not broken even yet. In fact, we are looking to raise funding, be it equity or debt.
How do you market the awesome online courses available on IPintentio and your software services?
Our partners do the marketing for us. For our direct customers, our current strategy is purely SEM and mailers.
What are the future plans for DSipher designs?
In the short term (3 years):
- Raise funds towards working capital to sustain us for a period of 3 years.
- Increase our content portfolio based on student feedback. For example, we are currently doing a market survey on introducing soft-skills content. We are trying to figure out what makes sense over the internet.
- Increase our partner portfolio.
- Finalize and implement our mobile strategy
About the brains behind DSipher Designs
Arijit Dutta: Arijit is responsible for operations, business development, sales, marketing and product development at DSipher.
Prior to DSipher, Arijit worked for 8 years in the Semiconductor industry with Motorola and Freescale. His areas of expertise include Static Timing Analysis, Signal Integrity and Low Power methodologies. Arijit holds 3 patents and has authored multiple publications. He completed his B.Tech. from IIT Bombay in 2000.
Soumen Basak: Soumen manages content development and contributes to product development at DSipher.
Soumen has 12 years of experience in the Semiconductor industry as a part of organizations such as Motorola, Freescale and Synopsys and specializes in next-generation verification technologies. Soumen completed his B.Tech. from IIT Bombay in 2000.
Team TheTechPanda wishes DSipher designs very best and hopes to see more good content in the future.