According to Vinod, the Indian education system, though started off in the right direction, has lost its focus in the recent years. He says, "Education system in India focuses on quantitative learning. There is too much focus on what you learn in our education system, which was built to make slaves working for British factories. Slowly, our education system has lost the focus on qualitative learning. The gurukul system was all about creating a conducive environment for learning and the focus there was on how you learn."
To address this gap, he founded Space Trek with an aim to change the way kids learn. It was started off as Space Trek Education Solutions in May, 2013. In 2015, they moved their headquarters to Singapore and the company was rechristened as Space Trek. These were some major steps to reach to a wider audience in the Asia-Pacific region.
Bharath Raman is the other co-founder of Space Trek. According to Vinod, "I am the dreamer and Bharath is the doer. Though i am the face of the company, he is the operations guy and the backbone of the company. Since we know each other for the past 17 years, we complement each other well."
Vinod Kumar himself is a management drop-out from IIPM - New Delhi. During his brief time at IIPM, he got an opportunity to pursue international internships in Europe and then in Africa. At 20, he was managing a Sunday newspaper.
How did they go about addressing this opportunity?
Bharat told YourStory, "Our education system lacked quality complementary education platforms to assist in the classroom learning. Complementary education platforms are immersive platforms, tuition centres, online learning platforms and extra curricular activities. We wanted a common platform where students get to experience learning. Learning happens in an environment. Most of our learning happens inside the classroom but the classroom environment has not undergone any changes in the past century."
Hence they decided to work on immersive environments. Thus Space Trek was founded to provide immersive learning solutions to schools.
Space Trek claims to take students on a journey through space and beyond. Their first and most favourite product is the immersive, portable planetarium dome. Inside the dome, they showcase 360-degree shows on space science and astronomy.
What does it do?
The immersive dome transports students to an entire different level of assimilation of content. The immersive dome is a virtual reality (VR) experience for the entire classroom.
Bharat says, " We are a hardware and software conglomerate. We do not own the technology but have done a lot of modifications to fit to the Asia Pacific market."
Space Trek has been working on a franchising model since 2014. Now it is pivoting to become a Franchise Invested Company Operated model to cater to the market demand. Currently, it is making around Rs 40 lakh every year and aims at Rs 1 crore revenue in 2017-18 They hope to grow to Rs 60-100 crore in the next five years.
The school education (K-12) market size in India is $54 billion. Parents, on average, spend Rs 35,000 for yearly fees in a private school in India. Fifteen percent of the fee is spent on complementary education programmes for the child during the year. So, on an average, the parent will spend close to Rs 4,000 approximately a year on complementary education. All of Space Trek's products fall under this category, and students can assimilate Rs 100-200 worth of services from them.
Space Trek provides immersive shows for students on school premises at Rs 50 per student. Each dome caters to 500 students a day, making a daily revenue of Rs 25,000. Currently, the company has three franchises and three company-owned domes operational in South India. It is expecting to match every franchise with a company-owned dome for growth in South India.
So far they are bootstrapped but are raising their Seed/ Series-A funding to meet the content development expense and team building. They have six employees working directly with them and more than 14 employees working through their franchisees. They are in the process of putting together a sales team to aggressively reach their customer base.