When a friend of Bangalore-based Saumil Majumdar complained that his kid preferred to watch television rather than sweat it out on the playground, Majumdar came up with a simple, but effective, solution. Along with three others—friends Meer Waqiruddin Khaleeq and Parminder Gill, and sister-in-law Jyoti Majumdar—he founded the sports management services company, EduSports, in January 2009.
EduSports was a shoot-off of SportzVillage, which Majumdar had set up in September 2003. A serial entrepreneur, the IIT (Mumbai) and IIM (Bangalore) graduate had also founded Learn@home and QSupport at the fag end of the 1990s.
However, after suffering in the dotcom bust, he shut shop, grabbed a corporate job in the US, and returned home to start SportzVillage. The premise was that sports ought to be an integral part of every child’s education and upbringing. So the four created the infrastructure where kids could be trained in various sports under one roof. “However, it didn’t work because it was more a play of real estate. To have access to a centrally located property was a challenge,” admits 40-year-old Majumdar.
So, by 2008, the team started thinking about approaching different stakeholders who could help them in nurturing a physically active generation. Majumdar soon realised that schools would make ideal partners since their facilities could be used to make sports an integral part of the school curriculum. While he admits that it was “cumbersome” to convince the school trustees, Majumdar persevered and finally set up a subsidiary, EduSports, dedicated to offering integrated sports management services to schools. (SportzVillage is no longer a functioning company.)
The quartet invested a total of Rs 2.5 crore in this venture, partly drummed out of their savings, and the rest coming from the parent company as well as angel funding. For the next five months, they had to play the waiting game, and finally got lucky in June 2009, when the TVS School from Madurai contacted them to manage a comprehensive sports curriculum. By the end of the first year of operations, the company had managed to tap 10 more schools and posted a turnover of Rs 60 lakh. In keeping with the growth, the team size too grew to 20 employees. Then, in January 2010, they were fortunate to get a fund infusion worth $2 million (Rs 1.09 crore) from Seedfund.
Today, EduSports has impacted over 1.5 lakh students in nearly 220 schools (nursery to class XII) across 70 cities, mostly tier II and III. In addition, it trains physical education instructors and has provided employment to more than 280 sport instructors to date. In September-October 2011, the company expanded its footprint to three schools in Saudi Arabia, all managed by Indian trustees. A team of three currently oversees the sports curriculum of these schools.
Today, the company has 340 employees and it raked in Rs 8.3 crore in 2011-12. Given that EduSports makes about Rs 150-250 from each student, the growing awareness for fitness from a young age bodes very well for its future. In the next fiscal year, it hopes to make Rs 13 crore.