Susir Kumar, Executive Chairman, Serco Global Services
Susir Kumar, who had scripted the success story of Intelenet Global Services, is not resting on his laurels. In the biggest deal till date, the UK-based Serco acquired Intelenet Global Services (a business process outsourcing company started in 2000) for $634 million in May 2011.
Serco bought out private equity firm Blackstone and other shareholders in Intelenet. The 46-year-old, along with 20 of Intelenet’s (now Serco Global Services) management team, intends to replicate the success with the creation of the sports outsourcing firm, Kids Out of Home Sports (KOOH).
Kumar, who is currently the Executive Chairman of Serco Global Services and founder of KOOH, draws parallels between Intelenet and KOOH. Excerpts from an interview:
Why are you getting into sports outsourcing and how does this work?
Our experience of creating a successful business process outsourcing (BPO) business is relevant in creating this company as well. Let’s go back to 2000 and figure out what motivated us to build Intelenet, beyond the fact that it was just a job. The thought process behind that was: if we were able to create a company with 2,000 jobs, we would be leaving a legacy behind. Of course, 2,000 passed by, 20,000 passed by, and I don’t know how many thousands have gone. May be in the last 12 years, we might have recruited more than 3 lakh people.
There are a lot of parallels between Intelenet and KOOH …
Yes, there are. Through KOOH, we are looking at outsourcing of sports education. Like in a BPO company, there are elements of training and performance management, and the whole rigour of running a large-scale operation, backed by metrics. It is similar to the BPO business.
What has KOOH to do with Serco?
This has nothing to do with Intelenet, Serco or BlackStone. This is being set up and managed by the same management team of Intelenet, and is a completely different business, run by an independent team. This is the third attempt by the same management team of Intelenet, 20 of us coming together and putting in our money.
What is the business model, how does this work?
This is outsourcing of a different type, say, when a school outsources sports coaching or a corporate outsources team exercises to us. We would also conduct events such as marathons and cycle-athons (in Mumbai on October 28) and talent hunting exercises. The initial investments were not much, as KOOH is not a capital-intensive business. We are hoping to find a Usain Bolt (Jamaican sprinter considered as the fastest person ever) in India.
How will the company generate money?
If your intent is good, the returns will happen. We charge an amount from schools. We also intend to set up an academy to train players for a fee, conduct leagues, sell TV rights and merchandises and sponsorships. However, this is more of a passion ... like the classic case of Apple, money will follow. If the business model is not self-sustainable and profitable, it cannot grow beyond a point.
KOOH has already received investments from HDFC and TCS. Are you scouting for further investments?
TCS and HDFC have already invested in the company in return for about 15 per cent stake each. But we don’t need money right now. What we need is associations, with people who can make an impact, in terms of getting access to schools and clients.
Through KOOH, we are looking at outsourcing of sports education. Like in a BPO company, there are elements of training and performance management. — Susir Kumar, Executive Chairman, Serco Global Services