IndiaKhelo.com – The Next big thing in Sports…because we all love sports
Do all top IIT graduates leave the country for huge pay packages overseas? That’s what the proponents of the proverbial “brain drain” would have us believe. Mr. Prashant Pitti, a 2005 batch alumnus of IIT Madras, Mr. Varun Gupta a pre-final year student of the same institute, Mr. Vaibhav Tandon an alumnus of IIT Roorkee, and Mr. Kaushik Sathupadi a 2005 batch alumnus of Chennai University, seek to dispel this view. IndiaKhelo.com, a start up, is their claim to fame. In a drastic reversal of the trend, Prashant left an extremely well-paying job in Chicago to come back and work in India for the betterment of Sports. Kaushik is also their Technology Head and his expertise has helped in create the biggest possible start up in 3 months.
IndiaKhelo is India’s first dedicated Sports Portal. It is being incubated at IIT Madras, with Padmashri Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, a renowned professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering at IITM, being its mentor. Dr. Jhunjhunwala’s team and IITM are providing logistic and technical support to the company. They have teamed up with a stalwart in this field by their tie-up with the Mahesh Bhupathi team tennis academy.
The founders of IndiaKhelo firmly believe that the difference between the USA’s 110 and India’s 3 medals at the last Olympics is not one of talent, but rather one of opportunity. The aim of the company is to improve India’s sports culture at the grassroots level – by providing opportunities to students in schools and colleges to both improve and display their sporting prowess. They plan to achieve this through their website – IndiaKhelo.com
Each school or college affiliated with IndiaKhelo will have its own profile page, where it can record the results of all inter class and inter school matches. Apart from this, teams can be made by any group of people, and they can then use the portal to challenge other teams. Based on their performances, both teams and players will be given Performance rankings (via a clever algorithm developed by Prashant, which takes several factors into account). What’s more, once a person is a member of IndiaKhelo, he can use the portal to find other players of similar skill and mindset, and a team can be formed from those people as well. In this way, people of diverse backgrounds and means will be brought together to achieve a common goal – to play a sport to the best of their ability.
Match statistics are analyzed and representatives of IndiaKhelo and the coaches, point out the areas the sportsperson needs to work on. One of their most innovative initiatives is the report card facility that measures their performance and gives them institute as well as national rankings. This way the students know where they stand and are motivated to work harder to move up the ladder. This adds to the overall impact of a concerted and coordinated effort for the improvement of the sportsman.
The founders of the company have showcased their idea and business plan at several of the largest entrepreneurship related events across the country, including proto.in at Bangalore, one of the biggest events of its kind in India. The general response from the entrepreneurial fraternity has been very encouraging, with the company receiving great reviews from many of the guests at proto.in. Varun and Vaibhav were also invited as a guest speaker at a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Student Entrepreneurship Society, held on the 8th March 2009 at IIT Madras and at Startup Saturday in Bangalore.
In the long run, IndiaKhelo plans to have its arms in every nook and corner of the nation – after all, who knows where the next MS Dhoni or Baichung Bhutia live? For a start, however, the company is targeting four cities – Chennai, Bangalore, Dehradun and Delhi. The expansion process will be slow and steady, and will take time. As Varun says, “The world outside is a battlefield, and you have to be a courageous warrior there to survive and to bring a change.”
Once the system is well in place, the company also plans to organize tournaments which will be known as Indian Regional Leagues(IRL). This way, skilled players who don’t get a chance in tournaments such as, say, the Ranji Trophy for Cricket, have an alternative platform to display their skills. It promises to be an uphill fight, but the company’s founders are full of enthusiasm. As Bruce Springsteen once famously said, “You can’t start a fire, worried about your little world falling apart”. That’s exactly what Prashant, Varun, Vaibhav and Kaushik are doing – giving up the security that a well-paying job would provide, so that they can do something beneficial for their motherland.
Please contact Varun Gupta at firstname.lastname@example.org, +91-9444005774 in case of any query or if you are interested in contributing to the cause.
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