From a tyre warehouse with Rs 25K, this IIT grad built a Rs 140 Cr turnover coaching institute
With Rs 25,000 which he borrowed from his father, Pramod Maheshwari started Career Point in Kota, Rajasthan, in 1993. Today, it caters to learners ranging from two years of age to 25 years and older.
Soon after graduating from IIT Delhi in 1993, Pramod Maheshwari found himself in a dilemma. Like most other IIT graduates, the Kota-based 22-year-old had the option of either taking up a well-paying job in an MNC or go abroad for higher studies.
However, Pramod couldn’t bring himself to leave his family and move to a different city for a job or for studies. He started giving his career aspirations a second thought.
“While I was thinking about my future, some students from my neighbourhood used to come to me and ask for tips on how to succeed in JEE. Since I hadn’t made my career decision yet, I started tutoring them,” he tells SMBStory in an exclusive interview.
This gave birth to an idea in his mind - why not get into the education sector and coach students in cracking difficult competitive exams?
The entrepreneurial opportunity appealed to Pramod a lot more than his other options. In that same year, he borrowed Rs 25,000 from his father, a grain and seed trader, and set up Career Point, a coaching institute.
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“I started as a physics tutor and held the first few classes of Career Point in a tyre warehouse. I had 51 students in the first year of which 15 landed seats in IITs,” he says.
Pramod’s initial years of success were not bereft of operational challenges. He had no experience in running a business, didn’t know how to hire the right people, and had no knowledge of marketing strategies.
But he didn’t lack enthusiasm or energy. Plus, he had the IIT graduate tag that gave him credibility.
Picking up the skills which he lacked, Pramod built Career Point into a leading medical and IIT entrance examinations coaching institute.
Today, the Kota-based business has grown from its humble beginnings to a Rs 140 crore turnover (consolidated), 1,200-employee strong coaching institute. Pramod says the institute has enabled the entry of thousands of students into IIT and medical colleges.
“At present, our primary business model revolves around test prep and education through our centres, franchisee network and school partners for NEET, JEE, NTSE, Olympiads, and K-12 exams,” Pramod explains.
In its classroom coaching service at its centres, Career Point blends traditional coaching with technology-driven education to help students choose career paths of their choice. It delivers the classroom training programmes through a physical network of four company-operated learning centres in Rajasthan.
“We also have 23 franchisee centres where we grant a licence to a centre to operate under the Career Point brand for a fixed period of time. We receive a fixed licence fee from franchisees. In addition, we receive an ongoing variable royalty,” he explains.
Career Point also generates revenue from the sale of study material to franchisee centres.
The institute has partnered with 20 schools to provide tutorial services to students within the school premises. Pramod believes this integrated delivery format adds value to the school system by synchronising school education and competitive exam preparation.
“The schools provide a captive student base and existing infrastructure that results in increased penetration and market share while boosting our margins,” he says.
The coaching institute has also launched eCareerPoint, an e-learning app with courses on how to crack engineering, medical and K-12 competitive examinations. Classes for NEET and JEE are also available on the app.
On the app, Career Point hosts live classes by faculty members, conducts interactive sessions for students to clear their doubts, provides access to study material and eBooks. It also features a database of recorded classes and video lectures for self-learning and practising problem sheets.
“We try to keep the pricing for our services as low as possible, enabling students from across the nation and from all walks of life to gain access to quality online education. We focus on bringing high quality service to students,” Pramod says.
He believes his company is one of the only coaching institutes in India that provides educational services for students right from kindergarten to PhD.
The road ahead
Career Point’s diverse set of educational services involves learners ranging from two years of age to 25 years and older. “For most of our services, our target audience is between 12 and 18 years old,” Pramod says.
Through outreach programmes, both online and offline, the business plans to boost its reach among these users. It aims to expand in existing verticals through fast and cost-effective solutions. It also plans to restructure in order to improve its return on investments.
Pramod’s foray into the e-learning space could prove more fruitful as the Indian market for e-learning is growing rapidly. An IBEF report projects the number of users of online education in India reaching 9.6 million by 2021, from 1.6 million in 2016.
The current COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown could accelerate the adoption of e-learning, and it has not put a dent in Pramod’s plans. In fact, the crisis has seen more users flock Career Point’s e-learning platforms.
Pramod says net enrollment has increased, explaining that the increased response to Career Point’s e-learning platforms is greater than the decrease in classroom admissions at partner schools and company centres.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)
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