This techie quit his high paying job and returned to India to become an entrepreneur

24th Sep 2015
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Crawling through dark tunnels, trudging around in mud pits, balancing on beams, climbing ropes and creeping under low hanging barbed wire. Don’t these things remind you of scenes from movies like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag or Mary Kom or Never Back Down, where characters have to undergo extreme hardship for bigger things in life? The scenes get your adrenalin rushing. This is what Volano claims to offer its participants taking part in events like Devil’s Circuit and Devil’s Circuit Swift Challenge.


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Making of Volano

Adnan Adeeb, a techie with over 20 years of experience at companies like Patni and iGate, quit his USD 250,000 job in Dubai to launch his own venture in India. His decision was questioned by many but he wasn’t deterred by their skepticism. He was very clear about his new role as an entrepreneur.

Adnan, a sports-enthusiast himself, started his sports company in a rooftop house in April 2012. Launched with his wife, Zeba Zaidi, Volano is a company that promotes amateur sports in the country. Unlike other sports companies, this Delhi-based startup conceptualises and develops innovative sports and entertainment-based properties. It is promoting various amateur sports events like Devil’s Circuit and Devil’s Circuit Swift Challenge to find the country’s fittest man and woman and country’s fittest corporate respectively.

Adnan, Co-founder and Managing Director, Volano, says, “This is a unique idea that’s not been tried by any sports company in India so far. Most of them are involved in conventional sports activities like cricket, football and tennis or are involved in sports management.”

The company started with its first property called GameonIndia, which was a platform that offered a complete solution in conventional sports. From finding a venue to arranging equipment to even finding like-minded persons, Volano organised everything for a game of cricket, football, badminton, basketball, tennis and athletics. However, the platform has undergone massive change in the past few years and will be launched in the form of a mobile app offering information of all the sports even

ts happening around.

In late 2012, Volano launched its second property: Devil’s Circuit. It is a five-kilometre-long race track which is interspersed with 15-20 military style obstacles. Participants can choose from competitive and non-competitive categories. So far, the company has organised and hosted over 10,000 participants and has lined up 34 more events in different parts of the country for the next three years.

In 2015, the company’s expansion plan continued with Devil’s Circuit Swift Challenge. It’s a televised sports entertainment-based programme that showcases the extreme capabilities of India’s corporate professionals. This is a corporate team challenge, where teams representing companies participate in and are tested on their physical and mental ability. This year, over 1,000 participants from 80 corporates across five cities participated in the challenge. Companies such as EY, KPMG, Dr Reddy’s, Apollo Healthcare, IBM, Wipro and Sony participated in the event.

Growing business

From a rooftop space to a modest office at Greenpark area in Delhi, Volano has come a long way. “We are happy with the development. We started with just the two of us. Today, we are a team of 20 people and are looking to hire 40 more people. It’s really satisfying to see our efforts gradually paying off,” says Adnan.

Volano has a two-way revenue model which includes subscription and sponsorship. The firm charges participants Rs 1,500 to 3,000 and also earns revenues from sponsorships. This year, Volano closed a multi-million dollar deal with Maruti Suzuki, wherein Suzuki Swift will be the title sponsor of Devils Circuit races for the next two years. It also has sponsorship deals with Reebok and Red Bull.

Future growth

According to news reports, Volano, which has got bridge fund from the wellness arm of Apollo Hospitals group, is looking to raise Rs 40 crore (about USD six million) in Series A funding. The firm would go for another round of bridge fund before it goes for the Series A investment.

“In the past two years, the company has grown by 100 per cent. This year, we grew by 10 times. We are also looking to launch new properties and will come up with more interesting ideas. In a Rs 500-crore potential sports business, our goal is to reach Rs 100-crore turnover in the next four years,” says Adnan.

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