All in the game

All in the game

Education

By consolidating its business verticals, SportzVillage, has a renewed focus on sports education and fitness. Through EduSports, the company works with 400 schools in 100 cities impacting over 3.5 lakh students; while SportzConsult specializes in organizing sports-related events for corporates such as Axis Bank, Johnson & Johnson and Nike, amongst others.

It is common knowledge that games and sport are an important part of growing up. Yet, due to the lack of space and increasing academic pressure, playing a sport has become a luxury rather than routine. SportzVillage was started in 2003 to encourage people to play more by creating relevant spaces. In 2013, when The Smart CEO had spoken to Saumil Majmudar, founder, Bengaluru-based SportzVillage, the company had established EduSports as a subsidiary to provide sports education to children through schools and SportzConsult to work with corporates organising sports-related branding exercises.

Subsequently, the company has consolidated the two subsidiaries as two brands under SportzVillage, with sports, fitness and sports education as its focus. It also plans to create many more products that will encourage people on to a path that leads to fitness through sports.


In Oct 2015, the company raised US$10 million from private equity firm Gaja Capital.  Since we received private equity, we consolidated the two subsidiaries as brands under SportzVillage.


Tenacious start

The journey of SportzVillage has been one of overcoming several hurdles, trudging several alternate routes before arriving at the one that seemed right. Majmudar, himself a keen badminton player, realised the lack of space for children to play and started SportzVillage in 2003 to create those spaces in partnership with real estate developers.

Though the idea failed to take off, through sheer tenacity and a never-say-die attitude, he successfully established EduSports in 2008, handling sports education and events for schools. Initially, the company made very slow progress – only 10 out of 100 schools showed any interest. But then, the idea gained popularity through word-of-mouth referrals. Schools either outsource completely or partly their sports training requirements to the company and it uses available space and resources to engage the students actively in sports.

In 2013, EduSports worked with 200 schools, touching 1.5 lakh students across 50 odd cities. Since then, it has increased its reach to 400 schools, 3.5 lakh students across 100 cities. “We are also present in the Middle East, though the reach is small outside India,” says Majmudar.

SportzConsult, another brand under SportzVillage, enables corporates to leverage sports events to grow their businesses. Through sport related events like tournaments or marathons, brands meet their customers in a more participative and interactive manner. SportzConsult also conducts team building exercises for companies across industries such as Axis Bank, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, P&B Metlife, among others. As an example, Majumdar speaks of the time when for J&J, SportzConsult conducted a marathon for women, connecting it to the theme of women’s wellness and health.

Consolidated effort

The company received angel funding for EduSports and then received seed funding from Seedfund of Rs. 7.5 crore in multiple tranches. In Oct 2015, the company raised US$10 million from private equity firm Gaja Capital.  “Since we received private equity, we consolidated the two subsidiaries as brands under SportzVillage,” explains Majumdar.

The company started with a team of 10-15 members, ‘who were kind enough to work with it’, as Majumdar jokes. At present, SportzConsult has a team of 40  while over 600 people work for EduSports. Of that 600, 60-70 are non-training staff for administration and operations.

The employees mostly hold a bachelors or masters in physical education and are recruited to deliver the sports curriculum. The curriculum is developed by a team drawn from the internal staff alongside consultants and verified against international standards.

The company’s greatest strength is its integrated approach and pan India presence. SportzVillage also has a technology platform called MeraSports which it used to monitor the distributed network and manage quality delivery.

Wide reach

Though it is well known that children need physical activities for overall development, Majumdar says he had to prove the benefits of including sports education when selling the concept to schools.

Today, parents are happy that their children who used to be shy and dull have grown in confidence since becoming active in sports, and their academic performance has shown improvement too.

This augurs well for EduSports as it looks to sign up 1,000 schools and provide sports education to a million students in the next four years. The company already has a small presence in Dubai and Doha, Qatar and plans to expand its reach in India and the Middle East. “We are agnostic about the region,” concludes Majumdar.


Then Now
Schools: 200 Schools: 400
Students: 1.5 lakhs Students: 3.5 lakhs
Employees: 300 Employees: 600
Reach: 50 cities, 1 country Reach: 100 cities, 3 countries

Meera Srikant has been working with publishers and publications since 1993, writing and editing articles, features and stories across topics. She also blogs and writes poems, novels and short stories during leisure. Writing for The Smart CEO since 2010, she is also a classical dancer.

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