Chennai: Chitra Ravi thought of harnessing the potential of the Internet in 2001 to launch an e-learning venture, an almost unheard of space at the time, abandoning a lucrative family business in furniture.
Her venture, EZ Vidya, conducts workshops for teachers and brings advanced learning to the classroom by creating software to help children understand subjects such as science and mathematics.
The business has evolved from six schools as clients in 2007 to its current tally of 350, and is eyeing 500 schools by 2013.
A two-month stint in 2005 at Harvard University studying multiple-intelligence theories that questioned the common notions of intelligence fuelled Ravi to take e-learning to more schools. “It looked at ‘what intelligent are you’ instead of ‘how intelligent’. So a child can be linguistically intelligent or visually intelligent. This changed the way I looked at educating children,” says Ravi, founder and chief executive of Chennai-based EZ Vidya, one of the nominees for the Manthan awards in e-learning.
Stressing the need for schools to further learning with technology, Ravi says while parents and teachers are usually “technology migrants”, children are natives.
Starting with Rs 1.5 lakh capital and a team of five a decade ago, the company today rakes in a revenue of nearly Rs 10 crore and has more than 100 employees.
Listen to Ajeet Prasant Jain, senior principal, Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram school talk about EZ Vidya and its importance in the school curriculum. Download here
“The content is very visual and children respond to it. It is a very beneficial programme,” said Shalini Pillay, principal of Lady Andal Venkatasubba Rao School in Chennai, which has subscribed to EZ Vidya’s products and services for over eight years.
EZ Vidya has partnered with Wipro Ltd and International Business Machines Corp. to reach 32 government schools in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. It has partnered with cellphone maker Nokia for a pilot mobile learning project in 12 government schools in Andhra Pradesh and four private schools in Hyderabad and Chennai.
The thirst to reach more schools has not dried up for Ravi, who wants EZ Vidya to be a Rs 100 crore company in five years. “I’m looking at a 100% growth (in revenue),” says Ravi.
The continues to spread its wings to Bangalore and the National Capital Region, where it recently set up offices. Ravi says the firm is looking for external funding of Rs 4-5 crore from banks or private equity firms for expansion and research.