Info-tech

Kalpathi Group launches ed-tech platform Veranda

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on December 01, 2020 Published on December 01, 2020

Suresh Kalpathi, Co-founder, Veranda

The Kalpathi Group, a Chennai-based business group with interests ranging from software services to entertainment, on Tuesday announced its foray into the crowded Ed-tech space by launching Veranda Learning Solution, a comprehensive online education platform to bring together the academic rigour and discipline of offline education and the best of the online technology.

But education is nothing new to Kalpathi or the ₹4,000-crore Kalpathi Group. In the early 1990s, Kalpathi along with his two brothers Kalpathi S Aghoram and Kalpathi S Ganesh set up SSI as an IT training provider in Chennai which went on to become one of the world’s largest education networks for vocational training in the private sector.

SSI later acquired Aptech and grew into a global provider of education, consultancy and software services.

Suresh Kalpathi, Co-founder, Veranda told BusinessLine, “We want to bring academic rigour and discipline back to education which means the course we launch will be specific time-based. For instance, a student can join a 6-9 am class or a weekend batch or a working professional can join a 7-9 pm batch,” Kalpathi said, adding, “You need that discipline to learn 5,000-6,000 hours of content. The offline world implicitly brought that discipline to education because it was time based.”

Veranda plans to offer training programmes in test preparation for all leading competitive exams spanning college admissions, recruitment exams and IAS. .

“There is a focus on 12 verticals out of which five will be launched in the next 12 months, some of it has been organically built while some through acquisitions and if everything goes well, the first vertical will hopefully be launched this month,” said Kalpathi.

He also added that Edtech, akin to offline coaching institutions, will focus on outcomes rather than the time spent by students on the online platform.

Affordability

Kalpathi also said that Veranda will offer the programmes at least 50 per cent or in some cases even 70-80 percent cheaper than the nearest competitors in the market.

“The fundamental question is how many people can afford to pay ₹one lakh as coaching fee for a kid studying in class 10? So, we want to bring affordability back to education,” said Kalpathi.

He also noted that Tamil Nadu alone has over 30 lakh aspirants for the state public service commission while IIT-JEE has about 10 lakh aspirants across the country.

“That’s the size of this market which predominantly is from Tier 2-3 and 4 cities who can’t afford to pay ₹1-2 lakh for these courses,” Kalpathi said, adding, “Their affordability is only around ₹5,000-6000 but even at ₹6,000 that market size is ₹2,000 crore in just one State.”

Built with an initial investment of ₹50 crore, Veranda plans to expand its portfolio through organic development and acquisitions targeting an Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) of ₹100 crore in the first full year of operations and ₹1,000 crore ARR in 3 years.

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Published on December 01, 2020
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