Harvard-incubated Experfy, Inc runs an AI-focused community of 30,000 data scientists to help Fortune 500s mentor and upskill their employees and also hire expert freelancers on-demand. Witnessing growth in demand for its platform, Experfy seeks to exponentially expand the impact of its business vision. Experfy plans on decentralizing its technology by and through Expercoin, Inc with the goal of allowing anyone to launch a new community with its own marketplace instantly. These new proposed operationalized communities are called “Republics” and are intended to exist within an ecosystem of decentralized marketplaces that are powered by AI and Blockchain. Each Republic is intended to be formed with a charter to advance learning and create jobs relevant to the digital economy. For instance, there can be a “Republic of Smart Manufacturing,” “Republic of Nanotechnology,” “Republic of Blockchain in Finance,” “Republic of Augmented Reality,” “Republic of Cloud Computing,” etc.
We anticipate that the Ethereum blockchain will provide the backbone for the governance of Republics, while they are operationalized using smart contracts, open protocols, APIs, front-end libraries, learning content, and subject matter experts. We also anticipate that matter experts will seek “citizenship" in each Republic to create learning experiences, source jobs, and/or provide services. Once an expert has established a profile of work experiences and learning accomplishments, he or she may also contribute to other Republics. For instance, an expert who has created an interactive game or a course for the “Republic of AI in Cardiology” may want to pursue a freelancing project in the “Republic of Healthcare Professionals.” Moreover, we intend to implement functionality that enables the content or expert profile to be replicated from one Republic to another also replicates existing user ratings and reviews in order to create a high level of transparency, data portability and mobility. We anticipate that with ready-made front-ends and open source frameworks that are extensible with the aid of ancillary modules, each Republic can be formed quickly and can create a virtual economy with the potential to make a material impact on the phenomenal world.
Three related problems are showing cracks in the traditional education-to-employment system.
1. High-levels of unemployment and underemployment: According to McKinsey, in countries around the world, 30 to 45 percent of the working-age population is unemployed, inactive in the workforce, or working only part-time. In the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, India, Brazil, and China, this amounts to 850 million people.
2. Shortage of people with critical job skills: Paradoxically, there is a growing scarcity of critical skills at the same time. In a survey conducted across nine countries, only 43 percent of employers agreed that they could find enough skilled entry-level workers. This problem is only getting worse. By 2020 there will be a global shortfall of 85 million high- and middle-skilled workers.
3. Changing nature of work requires continuous upskilling: With advancements in technologies like AI, entire occupations and industries are being transformed at an alarming pace, and the skills needed to keep up in almost any job are churning at a faster rate. Average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months, and IBM predicts that in the next couple of years, the volume of information will double every 11 hours. Online talent platforms serve as clearinghouses that can inject new momentum into job markets. By 2025, they could add $2.7 trillion, or 2.0 percent, to global GDP and increase employment by 72 million fulltime-equivalent positions. Clearly, there is a disconnect between school curricula, the critical skills demanded by employers and the manner in which people perform work. There is a need to bring together education in its various forms (courses, assessments and mentorship) with hands-on work opportunities (internships, gigs and jobs) using a talent platform. Experfy has been addressing this problem through a platform that brings together both learning experiences and work opportunities with a focus on emerging technologies. We now seek to take this idea and apply it to other disciplines and areas of expertise to scale our efforts.
Educators serious about preparing students to enter the workforce; employers scrambling to upskill their employees; and experts dissatisfied with 9-5 work regimes are all beginning to recognize the limitations of slow-moving centralized organizations. These organizations are operating on learning and employment models that were devised over a hundred years ago. The future of education and work is clear. Education will be skills-based—employers care little about degrees—while work will be increasingly distributed and performed by teams of specialized experts from around the globe. Our vision is that anyone seeking to make an impact in a particular area of specialization should be able to leverage a mature technology stack and launch a decentralized platform to reinvent both education and work for that specialization.
It is our intention that each Republic will be highly specialized and is intended to consist of six pillars that
become available as soon as the Republic is created:
Learning Marketplace: Listing of course offerings and interactive games promoting learning experiences
within an area of expertise. All offerings are rated. AI-powered adaptive learning system to deliver courses,hands-on coding exercises and capstone projects.
Jobs Marketplace: Platform for employers to post and facilitate apprenticeships, internships, short-term
contracts and full-time job requirements in the Republic’s area of specialization.
Mentorship Marketplace: Mentors for hire to help students and corporate employees on both technical and non-technical topics ranging from writing code to expert advice.
Assessment Platform: Assessments to identify skills gap for a job role or an area of expertise. Helps
employers screen candidates during recruiting process. Assessments will also provide benchmarking against other users in the field, followed by micro-credentialing and certifications.
Corporate Academy: Team and group interface for companies to understand employee course engagement and completion rates. Companies can bulk purchase learning content or purchase subscriptions for their employees.
Financial Aid Marketplace: Peer-to-peer financial aid offered through a marketplace. A student may request tuition assistance and the lender pays directly to the course creator on the student’s behalf. Course creators may also serve as lenders in exchange for a premium on the course price. The individual launching a new Republic will be able to choose which platform services launch first. Developers will be able to develop new apps and offer them in the Expercoin app store in order to expand the functionality of Republics.
We leverage technology developed by Experfy in Harvard Innovation Lab and in use by major Fortune 500 clients. There is a strong product market fit with over 100 companies that have used this technology platform. The Experfy platform has been generating revenue since 2014 and the platform is built to scale.
Expercoin team is led by Harpreet Singh, a Harvard PhD, and a serial entrepreneur, along with Sarabjot Kaur who has worked on Wall Street and for companies such as Citigroup, State Street and Fidelity. Jothi Periasamy, Experfy’s Head of AI was a Director at KPMG and teaching facilitator at MIT for Artificial Intelligence. In addition, Sergio Lerner, the co-founder of RSK Labs is the team’s Technical Advisor.
Expercoin has a massive community increasing at 5% a week. Over 20,000 members in Telegram and over 30,000 followers on Facebook.
As workplace training itself is a $360 billion market and growing, the need for upskilling is on the rise. This is a massive market and education is going to become more specialized and personalized. On average, companies spend $1,200 per employee annually for training and re-skilling.