An e-commerce website that brings in the vibe of social networking, Skill Hippo facilitates an exchange, wherein viewers can learn as well as share their skills on the open forum. Based out of Delhi, Skill Hippo, piloted in April 2012 and was launched in November last year. They offer over 200 classes/workshops driven by 75 teachers and now plan to expand to Bombay by February.

The platform is the brainchild of a team of six, who bring together a conglomerate of specialisations in law, banking, consultancy, retail, and sales. “From April to October we started collecting our database, and getting credible individuals to offer their services on our website. We do a thorough background check of the individuals offering their skills, and then short list the names after accessing their background”, said Raghuveer Malik, CEO.

The website received over 7,000 hits within the first 45 days of its launch in November and by this January they have received over 38 signups. The collective thrives on the idea of allowing ingenious skill to brew at its pace, thereby taking away the dystopian imagination behind teaching and being taught. “Our focus is slightly different from other websites like Gyaan exchange. We are a forum for everyone, and anyone who has a skill and wants to share it, is given a space to do so. We are not just looking out for those who are already organised teachers,” says Sambuddha Bhattacharya, a co-owner whose aim is to settle in Arunachal Pradesh, hopefully in the near future, once Skill Hippo manages to tab the market there.

The cost for taking the skills offered is determined by the teachers themselves based on the time they can allocate. The user friendly platform strongly advocates the belief that, ‘all of us have a lot to learn from each other!’ and based on that assumption, everyone has transferable skills.

We are a forum for everyone, and anyone who has a skill and wants to share it, is given a space to do so.

“Teachers incur a marketing cost, and we essentially provide them with a cash management and sort their problem of accounting. We charge the teachers 15% commission but make sure that the prices of the classes’ remain subsidised and accessible,” adds Malik. The website also hosts blogs by teachers who wish to speak about their work and experiences to be able to reach out in a more authentic fashion. “Our job is to make sure that the classes span all sectors,” says Malik.

The website offers an interesting array of skills that one may want to take up, rather than ‘bum around,’ and also allows one to get a glimpse of a particular skill to gauge ones interest in the same.

The website offers an intriguing range of classes like lotion making, paper quilting, wine tasting, bartending, Zumba classes, and so on. A section called ‘other skills’ carries an advertisement for a ‘sheesha making class’ which is based out of Vasant Kunj, and specializes in teaching how to make a Moroccan sheesha. Mayank Batheja who takes these classes from his home says, “A lot of people enjoy doing sheesha so the next best thing would be to teach them how to make one themselves. I was in Morocco for a year, and in the process I learnt how to make an authentic Sheesha, so now I teach it to six or seven students in a month.” On days when Mayank is not conducting the sheesha101, he runs another e-commerce setup called of which he is the co-founder.

Amid the hustle bustle of the City, the collective might just prove to be a breath of fresh air, and bring to the fore, skills that have probably never been experimented upon or spoken of enough. The exchanges facilitated, can provide the promise of breaking away from a complacent lifestyle and constantly aid in learning more.

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