[Startup Interview] Veer Varma, Founder, CoachDirect, India
Introduce your company
CoachDirect's vision is a blissful harmony of mind, body and soul. Our mission is to promote a healthy lifestyle to one and all. We provide sports, wellness and life coaching.
We are engaging a number of schools and gated communities in the 3 metro cities of India - Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. We promote sports at a grass root level by deploying people with sports background to train our students. We are not constrained by location but rather we provide our services at various client locations where existing sports facilities are already there.
Who are the founders and what are their professional backgrounds?
The company was started by Veer Varma and Kalpana Varma. Veer has an MBA from University of Cambridge. He has extensive global experience working with top tier investment banks for over 16 years. He has worked in many geographies like US, UK, Asia Pacific and India. He holds professional coaching certifications in Badminton, Yoga and physical fitness.
Kalpana holds an MSc in Computer Science. She has prior experience as an entrepreneur in food industry in the UK.
How is your company financed?
We are self funded
What industry does your company operate in?
Sports and wellness coaching services
What are – in your opinion – the dynamics of the industry you work in?
The current market dynamics include extremely fragmented, lack of service quality standards and tremendous market potential
Why did you start CoachDirect? What opportunities did you see?
Veer Varma is an avid racket sports player since childhood. He always took a keen interest in sports and wellness and is following his passion through CoachDirect.
He believed that the current generation of students and office workers is a physically inert generation with very less physical activity and dwindling physical fitness. There is an imminent need for the masses to take up their health and fitness as a priority. By engaging them in structured sports activity, CoachDirect wanted to build a more active and energetic society,
Moreover, we are offering real sportspeople a respectable career in which they are passionate about. We have been able to provide full time or part time jobs for over 50 previously unemployed youth for whom sports is a passion and who were struggling to find normal corporate jobs
What problem or problems does CoachDirect solve?
The service and process improvements we bring to the current ecosystem which is vastly disintegrated are:
Systematic coaching plans, monthly reports and individual assessments each quarter for all sports that we coach.
Web portal and Android App where our customers can track their progress and payment information
We conduct periodic internal and external tournaments or sports events to motivate our customers and the general public to engage in sports
Background verification of all coaches to ensure they come from the relevant sports background and training them to ensure there is standardized and continuous service without one-man dependency
What gives CoachDirect the competitive edge?
The USPs of CoachDirect include quality services at most affordable pricing, optimum usage of technology in customer experience and fast decision making
Who are your customers?
Our typical target groups are as follows:
Schools where we do coaching as part time consultants, gated communities and sports clubs with existing sports facilities where do provide sports coaching, businesses and Corporates where we engage staff in wellness programmes.
We also work with young urban population who are interested in participating in sports events such as tournaments, marathon runs and our latest edition is life coaching for anyone seeking help in resolving personal issues and achieving their goals.
What does your company need in order to grow?
CoachDirect is looking for the following to enable further growth: Global partnerships to market our services better and investor/partner for marketing spend and to further accelerate growth in new markets
What is your growth strategy?
Diversification through our new Life and business coaching services and market penetration in our existing sports and wellness coaching as there is still a lot of growth potential.
Where are you looking at expanding to?
For sports, wellness coaching and sports events we are looking at expanding to major Indian metro cities. For life and business coaching we want to expand globally.
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
Promote and establish our new service offering of Life and Business Coaching, go online for some appropriate sports coaching activities, restore physical coaching and events as and when Covid situation is back to normal and penetrate existing markets better through our USPs.
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