“Catch them young” seems to be the motto for these young entrepreneurs and why not? When it comes to sporting talent, the earlier one is spotted and nurtured the better for the person. These young sports enthusiasts took their passion one degree higher and came up with Khelo Communications Private Limited. Their website www.indiakhelo.com was started to improve sports culture in India, and as the entrepreneurs enthusiastically say, provide Indians “the country’s first dedicated sports portal.”
Prashant Pittie, Varun Gupta, Vaibhav Tandon, Kaushik Sathupadi are the creators behind this novel concept, and Varun spoke to YourStory about their passion that has come to life.
Varun says, “IndiaKhelo provides a suitable platform for budding sportspersons and is aimed at giving much needed recognition and credibility to them, connecting like-minded people with each other and motivating them for playing. IndiaKhelo is the only system in India, enabling schools to improve sporting culture and publish a fitness report-card for each student (http://www.indiakhelo.com/Report_Card.html), keeping the parents informed about their ward’s performance and conducting scientific tests to make a progressive record of the physical attribute value of a student making his education holistic. We also operate in Sports Academies and link up with various Sports Associations.”
Unlike other associations or groups, their focus is on all sports and not just those involving a bat and a ball. Their scale and intent is as varied as the sports they encounter. Varun elaborates, “IndiaKhelo’s scope is huge as we have put in place a highly scalable structure. We can reach the interiors of India and will be a tool for identifying talent among them, we aim to serve rural India down the line but first we would like to stabilize our venture and so at present we are working in major cities. Everyone who is interested in playing can be benefited by IndiaKhelo services as the number of sports enthusiasts in India is huge, IndiaKhelo can become a tool for all of them to replenish their dreams.”
They have already set up operations and gave us a rough sketch of their work saying “IndiaKhelo believes that real grassroot talent lies in Schools/ Colleges and Sports Academies so we have set 5 cities as our target (Bangalore / Chennai / Delhi / Dehradun / Mumbai). We will be contacting all institutions in these cities via mailers and will shortly set up a Business Head for each city.”
Varun became an entrepreneur because he believes that passion ought to dictate your calling in life. He says “Lance Armstrong in his autobiography wrote – ‘One can’t survive without taking risks’. A regular job becomes redundant and routine with time, there’s no adventure in it. We probably might end up working for the betterment of handful of people which also we are not very sure of. Instead, why not choose a field which makes you go crazy with life, everyday is a new day, everyday you will be posed with challenges you don’t know the answer to, everyday you will find yourself hanging between death and life, everyday you will take a major decision which will decide your company’s fate, why not choose entrepreneurship?” Prashant, Vaibhav, Varun were sportspersons from their childhood, and with the culmination of aforementioned thoughts it didn’t take them much time to start their initiative for the benefit of Sports in India.
Varun is someone who truly loves his job, including the pitfalls and headaches that come with it. He says “Running IndiaKhelo is not a challenge for us as India has numerous number of frustrated sportspeople who share our opinion and are motivated and ready to work for the betterment of sports in the country. The biggest challenge, I would probably say, was for Prashant who was earning 90,000 $USD working in HSBC, Chicago. For him to make up his mind, leave his job and come back to India was a huge decision. Guided by an intrinsic overwhelming feeling he was able to take the decision on a favorable side.”
When it came time to tell us if they had made any mistakes Varun was as candid as it gets, he came clean saying “Have done many mistakes, bigger ones are still to come J and we are waiting for them, probably it will add a little adventurous flavor to our life.”
IndiaKhelo is presently self-funded and the foursome has invested around 16 lacs INR till date. Varun told us about their trajectory till now saying “We took around 6 months to develop our technology and from then it has been a steep curve of growth, our product is being appreciated and have been received well in sports fraternity. We have grown from a team of Co-founders to a full fledged 20 member team, with people working from IIT-Madras, IIT-Roorkee and the team is highly qualified as we have National Players, Philanthropists, Scientists, Engineers, etc.
The response from Coaches, PT teachers, Principals and Corporates has been overwhelming, so much so that he believes that it has been their biggest achievement. Varun said, “everyone has appreciated our product and has liked our idea. It has not only enthused us but also motivated us to achieve more and dream higher.” They were also selected to present in startup events like Proto.in, Startup Showcase, Startup Saturday etc.
Varun drove out thoughts of quitting while speaking on behalf of his co-founders saying “IndiaKhelo Never! Sport is in our blood, not only our minds but our hearts are connected with it as well. We are people with Sportsmanship, which has an underlying principal “never quit” we believe in sticking and giving our best efforts, Rome was not built in a day. Was it?”
Their long term aim is to establish their presence as a sporting tradition in every nook and cranny of India. They want people to start taking sports seriously, in a more organized way.
Varun also handed out some serious advice before signing off saying “Do your market research properly before starting up; invest your whole energy in your idea. Have confidence in it and stick it out, don’t be worried about any turmoil’s, take challenges sportingly and figure out a way to smile at every one of them. As I always say, - the world out there is a battlefield and you need to be a warrior to survive in it.”
YourStory wishes the foursome success with their dreams and is eager to see the day that IndiaKhelo brings India’s hitherto hidden sports talents to the forefront.