Business Today

An open book

Educomp has spotted opportunities in virtually every segment of education without getting caught in regulatory hassles.

Shamni Pande        Print Edition: September 20, 2009

Shantanu Prakash, MD, Educomp
Shantanu Prakash, MD, Educomp
STARTED IN/AS: 1994; To set up computer literacy labs in schools
REVENUES NOW: Rs 637 crore
CURRENT ENROLLMENTS: Educomp reaches out to over 23,000 schools and 12 million learners and educators
FOOTPRINT NOW: Learning solutions in 1,910 schools. In 13,792 government schools across 14 states, 643 pre-schools. Set up K-12 under various brands. JV with Raffles Education, JV with Pearson for vocational training, present in e-learning
EXPANSION PLANS: Expand SmartClass to 60,000 schools, build 150 K-12 schools by 2012. Have 2,000 pre-schools, build ICT initiatives further via PPP, international expansion

“As some of you might be aware my company Educomp Solutions is launching its IPO on Monday, 19th December. The issue will remain open till 22nd of December. I need your support to make the issue a success. Please apply for the issue and also spread the word around. We will be the first education company in India to be listed”
- Shantanu Prakash, Managing Director, Educomp Solutions

Surely, this simple appeal to the IIT-A alumni network in 2005 is not the only cause that has worked to bring about outstanding success for Shantanu Prakash, Managing Director, Educomp Solutions. He launched his initiative in 1994 and started off by trying to enter schools through IT intervention. He devised a clever way of affording schools an opportunity to get a return on their investments on IT by opting for the build, operate and transfer model. “He is truly a visionary who has seen the business need that was just lying there waiting to be picked up and he’s now present in virtually every segment,” says an industry observer.

Prakash does not deny the claim: “We are an education eco-system company and have a footprint in virtually all major segments,” he says and does not mince his words on his leadership status: “We are 10 times our nearest competitor and are present in 2,900 schools through our learning aids. We currently have 23 schools in our portfolio under different brands and we hope to have 150 by July 2012. We are the largest in pre-schools and will have 2,000 such outfits by the next few year.”

For a company that has been transparent in disclosing all its areas of cost, revenue and investments, it is obvious that Prakash should hold very strong views on the entry of private players in education. “If other service sectors such as hospitals exist in the private space, why not education? The debate should be around good education and ensuring that it gets delivered and not about preventing its growth,” he says. Is he betting on the space being opened up further, thereby bringing more transparency into the system and widening scope of entry for people with profit motive? “I think, eventually the reforms will allow for such a change,” says Prakash.

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