Vigneesh BM had a dream to work hard and build his career. Working as a Zomato delivery boy in 2021, he simultaneously prepared for bank exams. In 2020, Vigneesh had joined Veranda Race (a coaching institution for banking, SSC, TNPSC, railways and various other exams). After several attempts, he finally joined New India Assurance as an administrative officer in March 2023. “The classes helped me thoroughly, and here I am,” says Vigneesh with a broad smile.
Vigneesh is one of the thousands who have entered through Veranda (pun intended) for a number of training programmes the group offers. The total number of students trained by the Veranda Group in the first half of FY 23-24 stood at 4,21,327, with 2,00,574 students trained in the second quarter, according to a company release.
Veranda Learning Solutions Ltd, a publicly traded education technology company (it quoted at ₹279.5 on the BSE on December 1) was founded in 2018 by the Kalpathi AGS Group, provides upskilling programmes through its subsidiaries Veranda RACE, Veranda IAS and Edureka, as well as training programmes for competitive exams, including the State Public Service Commission, Banking, Insurance, Railways and CA.
During Covid-19, when everyone was asked to go online, Veranda Learning focused on both offline and online learning as it knew that the trend to learn offline would come back after the pandemic, says Saradha Govindarajan, Chief Financial Officer, Veranda.
A tale of acquisitions
Acquisitions have been an integral part of the company’s business model. “Our platform is a result of key acquisitions made last year, strategically chosen to complement and enhance our offerings,” says Suresh Kalpathi, Executive Director and Chairman, Veranda Learning Solutions. He adds that the success of the model lies in the careful integration and empowerment of these acquisitions, creating a synergistic environment within the organisation.
In 2020, Veranda acquired Race, a 15-year-old coaching institution specialising in banking, SSC, TNPSC, railways and various other exams.
In 2021, the company acquired Brain4ce Education Solutions (“Edureka”). Following which, it launched Edureka Learning Centres in May 2022, which provide “online training under the supervision of professional instructors, all under the umbrella motive of helping students upskill.
In 2022, Veranda acquired a 76 per cent stake in JK Shah Classes. Through this collaboration, Veranda offers training for courses such as CA, CS, CMA, CFA, and ACCA. The company has acquired nearly a dozen companies in the last two years, and it is looking for more opportunities to scale up its business and further expand its course offerings.
In FY23, Race contributed 30.9 per cent, Edureka 49.85 per cent and JK Shah 18.69 per cent of the total consolidated revenue. In the half year so far this FY, the company had a turnover of around ₹166 crore.
How it fares
The Chennai-based education company’s revenue has more than doubled to ₹98 crore (₹37 crore) for the second quarter ended September 30, 2023, due to decent performance in all its verticals. It reported a significant reduction in net loss to ₹1.53 crore, against a net loss of ₹21.13 crore in the same quarter last year.
The company went public on March 29, 2022. The public offering of ₹200 crore saw a subscription of 3.53 times from March 29-31.
“One reason for the company’s growth has been the fact that we keep the management of the respective companies intact. Every company brings its own unique potential, and we intend to nurture it,” adds Govindarajan.
Edtech platforms in India
There has been significant changes in edtech platforms since the Covid-19 pandemic. As per a UNICEF report, “1 in 3 digital learning platforms developed during Covid are no longer functional.”
“One trend that we have seen post-pandemic has been a preference by students for offline classrooms,” says Govindarajan. That’s why Veranda focuses on offering both offline and online classes, she adds.
Additionally, there is a growing focus on skills-based education, preparing learners for the demands of the future workforce, says Kalpathi. Similarly, the emphasis on data-driven insights to enhance learning outcomes and the incorporation of immersive technologies like virtual and augmented reality are trends that are reshaping the future of education technology, he explains.
Talking about the company’s future goals, Kalpathi says, “Our vision is to evolve into a comprehensive end-to-end education solutions provider where students can be part of the Veranda ecosystem from K–12, graduation, post-graduation and beyond.”