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Precocious entrepreneur

Certified in the year 2000 as the world’s youngest CEO at age 14 by the media, with an entry in the Limca Book of Records in 2007, Bangalore-based Suhas Gopinath (27) has transformed Globals Inc, the company he promoted in 2000, into a respected  information technology (IT) consulting and development company, with a footprint in 11 countries and a “multi-million dollar” valuation. Globals Inc offers cloud-based applications inclu-ding ERP (enterprise resource planning) and student information systems to 150 schools in India and abroad.

Newspeg. In late March, Globals Inc launched Educube, a collaboration and learning management system which supports K-12 schools affiliated with the Delhi-based pan-India CBSE and CISCE examination boards. “Educube is a cloud-based private social learning platform enabling collaboration between students, teachers and parents, and facilitates processes, knowledge mana-gement for teachers, lesson planning, content curation, and evaluation of learning outcomes. Educube can be assessed free of charge by schools and if approved, upgraded to a per student subscription of Rs.25 per month,” says Gopinath.

Genesis. Gopinath’s entrepreneurship journey began as a freelance web designer in an internet café when he was barely into his teens. Introduced to computers in Bangalore’s Air ForceSchool, Hebbal, Gopinath manned a counter in an internet café where he familiarised himself with new e-technologies and became a self-taught freelance web designer. “It was hard work building a clients’ base as many of them backtracked when they discovered I was a class IX student,” he recalls. In the millennium year Gopinath registered Globals Inc as a company in San Jose, California investing his savings of Rs.15,000. “It was important for people to take me seriously and Globals Inc made that possible,” says Gopinath, who dropped out of M.S. Ramaiah College of Engineering to look after the business of his company. In 2006, Dr. Chenraj Jain, founder-chairman of the Bangalore-based Jain Group of Institutions, invested Rs.25 lakh in the venture to help incorporate Globals in India and establish its head office in Bangalore.

Direct talk. “Educube provides K-12 schools in India, Middle East and Africa an online forum to bring teachers, students and parents on a common platform. The application enables students to discuss notes, projects, homework, access content curated for them, and also serves as a marketplace for students to subscribe or buy content. It also has an inbuilt report designer helping schools to customise their own report cards,” says Gopinath.

Future plans. While most IT companies tend to focus attention on the private schools segment which can afford their products and services, Gopinath believes there are business possibilities within the country’s 1.28 million under-served government schools. “We want to take Educube to government-managed schools like Kendriya and Navodaya vidyalayas which have excellent teachers. For a modest per student fee Educube will facilitate the required collaborations,” says Gopinath, who plans to expand Globals’ operations to the Middle-East, UK and East Africa this year.

Wind in your sails!

Paromita Sengupta (Bangalore)

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