Tracing Veranda Learning’s quest for impactful education

In this captivating fireside chat organised by AWS Bharat Innovators Series, powered by AWS, Intel, and YourStory, Suresh Kalpathi shares the genesis of Veranda Learning, his deep-rooted passion for education, and the strategic collaboration with AWS.

Tracing Veranda Learning’s quest for impactful education

Friday July 28, 2023,

6 min Read

As we traverse the digital frontier, the age-old approaches to learning are yielding to the transformative power of technology. The integration of cutting-edge tools, digital platforms, and artificial intelligence has sparked a revolution in education, paving the way for a variety of new opportunities.

At the forefront of this educational renaissance stands Veranda Learning, a visionary institute led by Founder and CEO Suresh Kalpathi. With a passion for teaching, a commitment to affordability, and a strategic embrace of generative AI, Veranda Learning is ushering in a new era of accessible and impactful education.

In a candid conversation with Sunil PP, South Asia Lead - Education, Space, NPOs, Channels & Alliances at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kalpathi shared the genesis of Veranda Learning, his deep-rooted passion for education, and the strategic collaboration with AWS. This virtual fireside chat was organised by AWS Bharat Innovators Series, powered by AWS, Intel and YourStory.

Traversing the digital frontier

Kalpathi started his professional journey after completing his education at IIT Madras. He got the opportunity to work in the Silicon Valley with Sybase, a pioneer in new age database systems. Witnessing the transformation in the industry and the potential of technology, he returned to India with a vision to revolutionise education in the country. In 1991, Kalpathi founded Software Systems Academy (SSA), offering software training on cutting-edge technologies like Sybase, Oracle, and Informix.

"Recognising the need for quality education in India, we laid the foundation of the business. We started by offering programs on Sybase, Oracle, and Informix, focusing on outcomes and affordability. It has been a crazy journey, but we never looked back," Kalpathi reminisced.

The key to Veranda Learning's success was delivering outcomes rather than merely imparting knowledge. Kalpathi understood the importance of providing education that aligned with the demands of the market and the aspirations of learners. Whether it was software training or banking exam preparation, the focus was always on enabling students to achieve their goals.

The company went to list on the Indian bourses, and subsequently on the London Stock Exchange, with a market cap of over Rs 10,000 crore. Over the years, the company has expanded its offerings and geographic presence. Acquisitions played a crucial role in this expansion, with Veranda Learning targetting profitable businesses with a strong pedigree.

Kalpathi emphasised that the goal was not to change acquired companies but to accelerate their growth and integrate them seamlessly into Veranda Learning's platform.

Sunil PP chimed in, "It's truly inspiring to see how a vision for education has driven Veranda Learning's growth over the years. Your focus on affordability and outcomes is undoubtedly making a difference in the lives of many students."

Kalpathi emphasised the significance of pedigree in Veranda Learning's growth. "I love to teach, and that's where my passion for education comes from. Successful education companies are often led by teacher entrepreneurs who genuinely love what they do. Pedigree plays a vital role in our acquisitions. We look for businesses built over decades, profitable enterprises that have already delivered outcomes and earned trust," he explained.

Harnessing the power of generative AI

Kalpathi, a technologist at heart, recognises the immense potential of generative AI, such as GPT-3 and similar models. He believes that generative AI is a game-changer for the education sector, enabling faster content creation, personalisation, and improved student experiences.

“I am thrilled by the advancements in generative AI. It has transformed productivity and efficiency across industries, and education is no exception. Generative AI allows us to amplify our content creation, automate processes, and provide personalised learning experiences. It is a game-changer, and we are embracing it to enhance education delivery," he said.

"Indeed, generative AI has opened up new possibilities in education. The ability to tailor learning experiences to individual needs is a remarkable advancement that can truly revolutionise the way we learn," he added.

Driving social change

One of Veranda Learning's most impactful partnerships has been with the Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation. The edtech company has collaborated with the organisation to impact over 100,000 students. The partnership aims to provide affordable, outcome-based education to students across Tamil Nadu.

The success of this initiative has encouraged Veranda Learning to explore similar partnerships with other state skill development agencies, showcasing the potential of technology-driven education in driving social change.

"Our collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation has been highly successful. We have impacted over 100,000 students, and are expanding to reach even more. The joint effort, powered by AWS, has demonstrated the transformative potential of education technology. We are looking to replicate this model in other states as well," he said.

Sunil PP added, "The collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation showcases the positive social impact that technology-driven education can have. It's heartening to see Veranda Learning making education accessible to those who need it the most."

The driving force behind growth and expansion

Shifting focus, Kalpathi acknowledged that Veranda Learning's partnership with AWS played a pivotal role in their remarkable growth. "Moving our business units to AWS has brought immense benefits. The seamless integration, ease of use, and scalability significantly improved our operations. It has also facilitated collaborations and acquisitions, enabling us to expand our presence across regions. AWS has become an integral part of our growth story, and we are exploring further partnerships and certified programmes," he said.

Signing off, Kalpathi's advice for startups venturing into education technology resonates deeply. "Startups entering the education technology space should identify a significant pain point and offer a solution that delivers tangible outcomes. Impacting a large segment of customers, maintaining conviction in their solution, and building a strong word-of-mouth reputation are crucial for sustained success," he advised.

AWS and Intel have revolutionised the landscape for public service organisations, including educational institutes, edtech companies, non-profits, government entities, and startups. Together, they have facilitated the seamless transition to cloud ecosystems and provided unparalleled support in managing legacy technologies in the cloud. Ensuring the utmost privacy, security, and data sovereignty, this collaboration has left an indelible mark across diverse sectors.

A recent joint initiative, the Bharat Innovator Series, stands as a testament to their commitment to technological advancement. This groundbreaking platform brings together founders, innovators, policymakers, and thought leaders, fostering meaningful discussions on emerging opportunities. The series encompasses engaging webinars, insightful podcasts, and transformative events, all focused on celebrating the exceptional achievements of Indian innovators across various domains.