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Meet a 32 Year Old College Drop-out shining in start-up world

By PN Team Posted on Jul, 12 2017

While everyone in the society are dreamingbig to finish basic education and enroll in an university for a degree program, HARSHA KEKKERI who is the founder of "DesignBoat UI/UX Studio & School" thinks entirely in a different dimension.


With a mix of learning and services, DesignBoat Studio focusses on creating products and moving companies forward with a passion for start-ups & leading brands. On the other hand, DesignBoat School is committed to teach how to design for Mobile (iOS & Android) and Web applications by providing hands-on learning of the Design Concepts.

Harsha Kakkeri, whose life began in one of the city of North Karnataka called Gulbarga, had a passion for drawing & design before the world got into the wave of a digital age. With no interest in studies, his passion towards designing overtook him and he finally called it quit and dropped out from his college. After quitting college, life was not rosy for him. He found himself in a start up as a beginner graphic designer having no formal training in that field. With continuous effort & interest, he mastered the art of designing and attained the position as the ‘Head of Product Design’.

Working as an employee for other start-ups for more than a decade, in 2016 August he along with his brother-in-law AKSHAY BUKKA and family cousin CHETAN DESHMUKH, came up with an idea to start a school to help teach college drop outs, fresher’s and students with a knack of design and to solve the problem of having fewer designers in the world by training them from scratch. This gave rise to “DesignBoat UI/UX School” with just two students.

Akshay, who is a techie with six years of IT experience, also runs a pharmaceutical company. He says designing is his hobby which then turned out to be his profession. Having said that, he has been successful in increasing his client base by rendering his design service to many of the start-ups, institutions and IT companies. Now his core focus is on mentoring & monitoring students and building their portfolios which helps students in framing a brighter career. Chetan, who is a passionate traveller & a learner, has a good background & experience in IT field. He has boosted his management skills by working in the manufacturing industry and is now focused on strategic planning & marketing.

With the aim to promote learning across the world, the team conducts online classes and uploads video tutorials for it to become quicker & easier for students to reach them. By stepping into social media like YouTube channel, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc, DesignBoat started being recognized by people all over the world. The teaching and hands-on experience availed here, amidst the pleasant ambience makes the training sessions more interesting and engaging. To make learning more affordable, students are allowed to pay fees in instalments and are given lifetime support with respect to any kind of design queries.

DesignBoat is primarily driven by the genuine references and good words of their students which adds one more stepping stone to their success. Having conducted inspiring design talks in various design colleges like Christ University, CAVA Mysore, MMK College, Jyothi Nivas, KEN, the team intends to spread awareness of the booming design industry and the need for quality designers in the market. With a goal to provide hands-on learning, DesignBoat hunts students from different design institutions around the world to lend internship opportunities for them to closely work with the design team. Not the least, they also ensure that the future of their students is secured by aiding them fetch jobs in top leading companies.

About competition, Harsha says he doesn’t think much about it – “DesignBoat is not a business commodity. Our design school is a way of contribution to the community. I believe in my team and my twelve years of practical experience. We desire to educate every passionate student by training them from scratch”. His company takes pride in helping start-ups shape their ideas into concrete products. He has been honoured by several leading people in the industry including: BCG, Foyr, SMILES, Reverie Technologies, Nischint, Idefi, Graymatics, TeamPost, The Indusparent and many more in the list.

Within a short span, their client base has grown to 22 and 115 students covering ten cities and having six member in-house team. Slowly the dream they have been aspiring for started brimming up in barely a year after launching it. DesignBoat is currently working on a breakthrough project that will bring students, start-ups and educational institutes on a single platform that revolutionizes the design education sector.

(Inputs from Startup)



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