Chirag Palande, founder, SchoolHandy: A father whose concern turned him into an entrepreneur
India- the third fastest growing landscape for start-ups worldwide nestles a hot start-up season fostered by essential nutrients like Lofty valuations, hot cash and a million dollars in seed rounds. The current economic environment is unwrinkled, volatile and aggressive longing for a fresh dynamism of approach. The new trend- innovation and creativity has become talk of the town demanding businesses to be fit, young, lean and flexible, and eager for deploying new things to delight the customers. Today’s entrepreneurs are stretching their muscles to produce new ideas and pioneer new products. Questing out an astute entrepreneurial doesn’t come with Google maps to find the depot to initiate one’s business. What if an intersection is waiting somewhere? The same was on the dot that weaved the entrepreneurial journey of Chirag Palande. This time the inkling didn’t approach in a garage; it was a dinner table discussion with his wife. Being a responsible father of two daughters, he was brainstorming to get more involved in their academic progress. Chirag further elucidates,” We were discussing the basic issues we had- the communication gap between schools and parents, which was prevailing despite the digitization ease. That led us to the Eureka Moment of SchoolHandy. It’s not just an app; it’s an educational value bridge between the school and the parents that enables effective and better communication to an improved academic performance of your child. SchoolHandy, just as the names suggests, is a handy school app that’ll do all the management for schools, so they can focus on what they are institutionalized upon- teaching.”
A serial entrepreneur at heart and the founder of numerous successful ventures like Gift Box, which is into corporate gifting and Mobaccs, an e-commerce platform which houses private label electronic gadgets, Chirag’s expertise has been acknowledged across the gifting industry and his noteworthy stints at companies like Sodexo and Network TV18. The latest addition, SchoolHandy is sailing smoothly on the quest of digitally adding value to the education system of the country.
The CEO Magazine’s Editorial staff spoke to Chirag in line with SchoolHandy’s affairs and its journey ahead.
Falling in love with the problem and then questing out an entrepreneurial journey is not a bed of roses. But, here you are today as a successful entrepreneur. What sets SchoolHandy apart from its competitors?
SchoolHandy is a home to a gamut of services for an efficient schooling experience. Personally, I find the ‘Live School Bus Tracking’ feature extremely helpful. I feel at ease knowing that my children are safe en route their way to school. Child Safety is a growing concern in India at the moment, this feature acts like a guardian angel watching over my kids. Apart from that, we have hosts of services like Emergency Alerts and Notifications for parents, One-to-One Chat Platform for quick resolution of queries, RFID based attendance system to eliminate time-consuming roll call systems, Real-time updates on forum discussions, online fee payment, and much more yet to come down the line.
Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in modern technologies?
It’s what you call ‘survival of the fittest’. But in the business landscape, it goes as the ‘survival of the smartest’. If you don’t evolve along with the ever-evolving world, you’re bound to be left behind. In this world of the technology-driven living, schools can’t be overlooked. The teaching institutes of India need a major overhaul when it comes to technology, and SchoolHandy is absolutely about that. I, myself am, a firm believer of the ‘Padhega India tabhi toh Badhega India’ doctrine. But, in order for India to grow, it needs to sprout not just by quantity, but by quality too. As we say, not just be book-smart, be street-smart, and I plan to be a catalyst for this impending change. SchoolHandy makes each teacher and each parent a ‘smart teacher’ and a ‘smart parent’ by harnessing technology.
What landmark did SchoolHandy create since its inception?
We are quite new to this whole idea, so we’re yet to go live with School Handy services. However, we are running beta programs with 2 private schools which are expected to go live by October 2018. Personally, I feel it as a huge success to have this app up and running on the Play Store with all the functionalities tailor-made to suit all schools across various boards like SSC, ICSE, CBSE and IB. Earlier, I used to just wonder about how convenient it would be if I could have a platform where I could engage with my child’s teachers to talk about his development. And now, with this app, I feel like I did hit a home run. Fingers Crossed!
What do you want to accomplish in future?
Hailing from a humble background, I have a habit of setting realistic goals for myself. I have a vision to expand to at least 100 schools in the next 3 years. I plan to see SchoolHandy as a part of every school’s management system. A much-needed communication bridge between school and parents would no longer be just a wish.
Give us a word that describes you the best.
Share your favourite piece of being an innovative leader.
Being an innovative leader has made me capable of envisioning innovation in the smallest of things- that’s how SchoolHandy was born after all. I truly believe that change is the only constant and one should keep reinventing themselves and their surroundings to be successful in the long run.
What is one piece of advice you think would help entrepreneurs most?
I’d like to share an advice that I myself find very true in testing times- When the world says it’s a bad idea, that’s when you need to believe in it the most.
Thank you so much for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us, and good luck in growing your business.