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Kalpathi ventures back into education space, focus on competitions

The Rs 4,000 crore Kalpathi AGS Group, led by Suresh Kalpathi, is getting back into education space with Veranda Learning Solution – this time online -focused on competitive exams and niche software courses.

The group is also looking at acquisitions for faster growth and expansion with a total investment kitty of Rs 50 crore for Veranda Learning.

In 1991 Kalpathi, along with his two brothers Kalpathi S. Aghoram and Kalpathi S. Ganesh set up SSI Ltd as an IT training provider in Chennai.

The SSI later acquired Aptech and grew into a global provider of education, consultancy & software services. It went on to become the first Indian IT company to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Veranda Learning will offer training programmes in test preparation for all competitive exams in India and abroad, including IIT JEE, NEET, GRE/TOEFL/IELTS/GMAT, IAS, State PSC, Banking/Staff Selection/RRB, CA/ACS related exams, Medical, K-12, NTSE and Olympiads.

It will also offer courses in software development namely databases, languages, development tools, cloud/analytics/big data/AI/ML platform.

Kalpathi said the fee structure will be 50-75 per cent economical than the offline version.

“The discipline and rigour of the offline classes are missing in the online model. A customer is interested in outcome. We will have the rigour of the class room coaching in our online classes,” he said.

“I studied for 12 hours a day to get into Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M),” he recalled.

He said the fees charged by many of the offline coaching institutes are affordable only to few but not for the real India and online courses offers that opportunity to cut the price.

“We are not a price point player. We don’t believe in burn rate. We want to be profitable from first year onwards,” he added.

According to him, the batches will have specific times and each teacher will have about 70 students.

Kalpathi said in Tamil Nadu itself, about 30 lakh people appear for state government recruitment exams which itself offers an opportunity of about Rs 1,500 crore.

“The Indian online education market, supported by macro-economic changes, improvements in product offerings and changes in business models, is expected to grow to $1.96 billion by 2021 and to $4.87 billion by 2024,” he said.