Having spent almost three years as a marketing executive at Wipro, Saumil Majmudar stepped into the world of entrepreneurship in the year 1998 with Learn@Home, which was a personalized computer training business. Three years later, he founded another venture called QSupport in June 1999.
According to Saumil, QSupport was one of the first companies to provide remote tech support to PC/internet customers in the US. His strong appetite towards entrepreneurship led him kick start SportzVillage in June 2003. SportzVillage capitalises on the emerging sports, health and fitness-related market in India. And that’s how he donned the hat of a serial entrepreneur.
The journey of EduSports
The idea of starting Edusports clicked Saumil’s mind when he came across with a remark of his friend that his six-year-old son spends more time in front of TV and computers and shies away from participating in physical activities. After a hard hunt, his friend was disappointed by the unavailability of proper social avenues which can solve these issues.
The journey with SportzVillage has allowed Saumil to get engrossed with kids, schools, corporates, brands, sports ticketing, sports retail consulting and more. And with the extensive experience and learning from 2003–2009, he founded EduSports in January 2009 with a vision to make sports an integral part of every child’s education and upbringing.
In a bid to build a profitable and scalable business model, Saumil tried multiple ways of creating a direct B2C models. Then he realized that schools might be the right partners for helping children experience the magic of sport.
When Seedfund invested Rs 7.5 crore in EduSports in 2010, the startup had only 10 schools. Today, with 550 employees, EduSports covers nearly 400 schools and 3.5 lakh kids in more than 100 cities across four countries.
Saumil says, “At an operational level, we have above 90 per cent customer retention rate and have got many accolades from various forums. We have tied up with about 400 schools spread across India, Nepal, UAE, and Qatar. We have been adding 100 schools every year and expect to accelerate on that front now.”
We get children to play!
EduSports uses structured physical activity and sports as a pedagogical tool for developing mental skills, behavioral skills, and physical conditioning in the children. It offers structured physical activity and sports curriculum, along with age-appropriate props and equipment to conduct the activities, and a series of intensive workshops or interactions with the school teachers and parents to deliver the overall programme.
The EduSports programme has the following design principles: age appropriateness, adequate equipment for all children to stay engaged, assessment where each child gets assessed and fitness/skill parameters tracked, parent engagement where parents participate in the process of building healthier and fitter children.
The programme has age-appropriate curriculum for different grades starting from play school to high school in compliance with different boards like CBSE, ICSE, IB, etc., with daily lesson plans.
Saumil says, “We want to ensure that school teachers and parents understand the importance of physical education for children so that they can support the children. Therefore, we organise workshops where they get involved with physical activity and play. We hope that if we rekindle the magic of sports for parents and teachers, they will do their best to encourage the children.”
Schools incorporate the programmes of Edusports into their timetable and EduSports becomes a part of the overall educational experience that schools provide. Schools pay EduSports on a per child per month basis from the fees they collect from parents.
Saumil elucidates, “Schools pay us a part of the fees they collect from the parents. Typically, it varies from Rs 150 to 200 per child per month (assuming 500 children). In addition to the in-school programme where the schools pay us per child, we also have other cross-sell products like sports-based events, workbooks, after school programmes, summer camps, etc.”
Considering the fact that there are potentially 25,000 private schools with a tuition fee of Rs 1,500 a month, EduSports aims to reach 1,000 schools and get a million kids to experience the magic of sports in the next four years.
Recently, EduSports has raised $10 million from Gaja Capital to seek out new growth opportunities and give a fillip to the current business model.
Saumil avers, “Our curriculum has been developed in-house keeping in mind the requirements of the Indian children and the Indian school context (of limited time and limited space). We have invested in a strong technology based model and processes to ensure that the programme quality is continuously monitored and improved.”