One of India’s unique training-ventures ‘Socialigence’ specializes in the development of Social and Emotional Intelligence through its online course and customized workshops.  Established in 2016, Socialigence is based in Indore andenables people from all across the world to develop three skills of Emotional & Social Intelligence – Awareness, Attunement, and Adaptability.  It is the brainchild of an ‘Emotional and Social Intelligence’ Expert, Dr Sandeep Atre. Through his venture, Dr Atre supports managers and leaders across all the industries and levels of hierarchy by simplifying the scientific concepts and teaching them in a relatable way for everyday utility.


The leading man, Dr Sandeep Atre  is armed with many titles- an experienced entrepreneur, a proficient writer, a noted blogger, a mentor, teacher and so on…At 41, Dr Atre holds close to two decades of extensive experience and has trained thousands of students, and professionals of more than fifty corporate and institutional clients. He is the author of two books “Understanding Emotions Logically” and “Observing Nonverbal Behaviour”. Besides, he has written many articles and research papers in compendiums and journals. He also has featured at various prestigious platforms as a ‘Management Speaker’ and has served on various advisory and editorial boards.

Recently, Dr Sandeep Atre was on the hot seat of The CEO Magazine, where he discussed the company, future plans and more.

Here are the edited excerpts. 

TCM: Kindly start the conversation by talking about the problem that your company solves and how are you different from others?

Dr Atre: Let me first talk about the problem that our company solves:

Think about it and you will realize that whether in our professional life or our personal life, most of the challenges we come across are essentially interpersonal and intrapersonal ones. To not only address these interpersonal and intrapersonal matters but to also excel in them, IQ is not enough. One needs a specific form of intelligence – social & emotional intelligence.

We, at Socialigence, offer a specialized online course based on extensive research in neuroscience and psychology that helps people develop emotional & social intelligence.

Now let me talk about how we are different from others:

I believe that in the domain of ‘training & coaching’ – whether for management, leadership, professional development, career progression, executive development, behavioural skills, learning & development, soft skills or life skills – unfortunately, most people are delivering content that is ‘common-sense dressed-up’. And while it all sounds impressive and engaging, it only provides temporary solutions. And I am a firm believer that whenever you provide a temporary solution for long, you make the problem permanent.

That’s why it is important to provide content that is firmly rooted in science. And that’s where we are different. Our course is not only based on extensive research in neuroscience & psychology but includes that science in the course and imparts it.

TCM:What inspired you to make your career in entrepreneurship and come up with this start-up idea?

Dr Atre: I co-founded a company in 2003 in ‘coaching & training domain’ which got merged with another company in 2009 and since then the merged entity has been the biggest coaching & training organization of Central India in its domain. However, this start-up idea (of Socialigence) came up specifically because of two reasons:

First, during my Ph.D., I realized the importance of specialized venturing, which I define as – to know ‘more & more’ about ‘less & less’ to add ‘more & more’ value.

Second, as a trainer I had vowed to myself that I would try to spend the first half of my career ‘touching more lives’ (i.e. reach) and the latter half of my career ‘touching lives more’ (i.e. extent).

Due to the above two reasons, I realized that after spending one and half decade training individuals, organizations & institutions on various interpersonal & intrapersonal skills, I should now focus on developing people on the all-important essential skill of all intrapersonal and interpersonal skills – i.e. Emotional & Social Intelligence.

TCM: What were the challenges in the initial phase of your entrepreneurial journey? How did you overcome them?

Dr Atre: A major challenge in the initial phase of entrepreneurial journey w.r.t. Socialigence was to reach the people it is meant to add the most value to. As it is predominantly an ‘online training’ venture, it looked logical to connect to the prospective customers in digital/online space. However, there are so many concepts vying for limited (and ever-decreasing) attention-span of people that connecting to people in/through that space has been extremely challenging.

Though that challenge remains, by keeping our connection-effort more ‘content-driven’ rather than merely ‘communication driven’, we are increasingly able to build a positioning more likely to take us into the customer’s consideration set.

TCM: Who are your clients? How do you work on your long-term relationship with your clients?

Dr Atre: Our target-segments are:

Companies: To train people across all functional areas and hierarchy-levels for excelling in intrapersonal & interpersonal aspects.

Colleges: To develop students holistically, enhance students’ employability-quotient, and improve teachers’ effectiveness.

Schools: To build a sound base for students’ mentalhealth and improve teachers’ student-connect.

Individuals: To learn the essential life-skill required to excel in the multiple personal roles.

TCM: Throw light on your team and area of expansion.

Dr Atre: We have an organizational structure built around the concept of ‘core competence’ – let everyone do what they are best at.

That’s why our organizational structure is based on a network of ‘associate agencies’. While all the core work of ‘researching, preparing & delivering’ is controlled by us, all other aspects – IT, Marketing, Video Production, Animation etc. – are managed by our associate agencies under our process-driven monitoring.

TCM: How big is the market opportunity? What is the actual addressable market?

Dr Atre: Online training is one of the fastest-growing verticals in the ‘Training & Development’ industry. The sector has woken up to the opportunities that technology offers for maximizing the spread of ‘knowledge and skill’.

Yet it is just the beginning. As customers gradually shed off their initial apprehensions, educators mature in their understanding of technological possibilities, and organizations evolve in terms of business models, we are looking forward to a market opportunity that is endless in its measure and boundless in its expanse.

TCM: What was your journey like to get where you are?

Dr Atre: I have evolved in this journey in the literal sense. Because as a trainer/coach/consultant, I have multiple contact-points with the content/material/concepts – while researching, preparing, delivering and discussing. As a result, I end up imbibing what I teach, have an opportunity to apply it in my own personal and professional roles, and validate its efficacy through first-hand experience.

TCM: What was the most difficult lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur?

Dr Atre: The most difficult lesson I have learned as an entrepreneur is that while it is relatively easier to uphold the concept of ‘customer-centricity’ in your thought and conduct, it is far more complex to have ‘everyone connected to you’ equally and continuously driven by that concept in every day-to-day choice.

TCM: What next for the company? What do you see happening in the company industry in 2019-20?

Dr Atre: The coming year is exciting for us.One of our specialities is that our online-course has globally applicable content yet India-centric customization e.g. the language of course is conversational (a mix of English & Hindi, with English subtitles). Next month, its English dubbed-version will also be available; and then we will create versions in major regional and international languages.

TCM: What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs who are excited about venturing into the same domain?

Dr Atre: In the ‘training, coaching & consulting domain’, one should not dive unprepared and then learn at the cost of clients. Rather, one should enter with a strong research-base and a striving for specialization.

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