Klay school was established in 2011, Founding Years (formerly VBHC Education Services), through its twin brands of KLAY and The Little Company, provides Early Child Education & Daycare services to working mothers in order to enable them to get back to work.
The Idea behind Klay Schools…
Priya Krishnan was a mid-career student at London Business School and mother of a 9 month old Arjun and was expecting her second child, whilst also keeping up with her professional career, took the help of child support system available locally. The idea of KLAY School struck her, when she thought that working mothers’ struggle in India would be similar.
After completing her MBA, she connected to industry professionals from different domains and simultaneously recruited people for leadership roles from experienced industry professionals as well as organizations such as TeachForIndia.Before that, she played a long innings as an IT Professional having led the European Operations at MPhasis Software.
Starting with their first center at Whitefield Bangalore, Klay School’s primary focus was to build a community connect and to provide parents, especially those returning from abroad & the expat community, the high quality child care system that although prevalent in the west, was largely missing in India. During those initial stages, they quickly realized that the audience was not just these high income expats/parents returning to India but also in large measure, the local communities seeking a premium childcare service of world class standards.
The biggest challenge in their early years for Klay School was to find the personal connect within the local communities and then as they expanded across regions, ensuring consistency in quality and operations so that a child gets the same environment at KLAY regardless of the city in which he/she resides. For this, it was also critical to setup an easily replicable training module for teachers and align the leadership team on their collective mission.
An added challenge from a community perspective was to address the stigma attached to putting one’s child in a daycare and redefine the concept as a nurturing and conducive environment for the child as well as the mother.
Growth and Revenue. .
Initially seed funded by VBHC (Value and Budget Housing Corporation), the company raised its series A funding from Kaizen Private Equity in 2013, and another Series B round in 2016 from Peepul Capital.
Their initial growth simultaneously saw an increasing corporate interest towards diversity & inclusion initiatives. With a strong retail footprint, they were ideally positioned to meet this growing demand. They acquired ‘The Little Company’, a Mumbai based premium corporate day care brand in 2014, which scaled them up and helped gain a substantial corporate credibility. Along with the acquisition came 11 years of operational experience and a longstanding client base which further helped build a formidable standing in the space for them. It was quite a growth for them upon the acquisition.
“Over 5 years, our top line has more than doubled each year, with an overall CAGR of 182%. Our center foot print has also nearly doubled each year and we currently stand at 44 centers PAN India.” said Priya Krishnan
The Team Behind Klay School…
Priya Krishnan, CEO
Priya is an MBA from London Business School and has worked in various leadership positions with Anderson Consulting and Mphasis across Singapore, New York, London and India.
Aditya Khurana, Head of Strategy, M&A, Key Accounts
Aditya Khurana did his Masters from XLRI Jamshedpur & started his career with ITC. After 6+ years with Citibank & Avendus Capital, he decided to follow his passion for education & joined The Little Company as one of its Directors. Aditya has completed his B.Ed. in Early Childhood Education & Care from New Zealand Tertiary College and now heads Strategy, M&A and Key Accounts for the merged entity o Founding Years Learning Solutions.
Shruti Madhavan, Head of Operations
Shruti is an MBA with a Sales and Marketing specialization and has over 16 years of experience in the Sales & Operation domain. She has worked with companies such as Titan, Unilever, Revlon and 24 Mantra Organic and now her passion towards early education has inspired her to join Klay.
Dhiwakharan Naidu, Head of Human Resources
Dhiwakharan is an HR professional with over 23 years of corporate human resource management with intensive experience in knowledge based industries and brings with him immense Change Management experience in M&A business scenarios. A post graduate in HR from Madras School of Social Work, he has been a member of ’Country & Global’ leadership team in various organizations. He has led the HR function in corporate such as Nokia Networks, Capgemini, 3M & EDS.
Fahim Saleem, Real-Estate and Procurement
Fahim is an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management, Manila. He worked with Accenture and Hewlett-Packard before joining CB Richard Ellis and immersing himself in Real Estate industry, thus being an ideal lead for site identification & projects.
Anant Srivastava, Marketing
Anant is an MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and has over 6 years of experience in Business Process Consulting and Early Child Education. Anant has also freelanced as a professional photographer with a certification from the London School of Photography and also takes vocational trainings on the subject with local NGOs.
Malini Bharadhwaj, Curriculum Development
Malini with an MBA and a couple of International Certifications in Early Childhood Education, has over 13 years of experience in early childhood education and academic research across USA and India. She now heads the Curriculum Development for the organization.
Neha Myer, Head of Corporate Business Development
An MBA Grad, Neha comes with over 9 years of experience in Retail Operations at India & Dubai, working with leading organizations in the consumer electronics and lifestyle verticals. A year after the birth of her son, Neha joined KLAY where she first managed Centre Operations after which joined the Corporate Business Development Team.
How It Works…
KLAY Prep Schools & Daycare is operated like a regular Preschool & Daycare setup offering as its USPs, services such as Live CCTV Streaming to Parents, best in class Teacher Child Ratios, Extended-hours Daycare facility, among other things.
The B2B model works in 2 different ways – Onsite & Offsite. The Onsite model, under the brand of The Little Company, requires a centre to be setup at the location of the corporate client. In case of unavailability of space at the client premises, a near-site centre is set up to facilitate the requirements which can be shared across multiple clients.
The Offsite model functions by way of a corporate underwriting and a predetermined number of seats at their centers or by subsidizing the Daycare fees to be incurred by the parent.
The focus for the company in the future is to ensure high quality and symmetrical service experienced by customers across geographies. To ensure non-dilution of quality, they operate only on a Company Owned Company Operation i.e. non-franchise model. This strategy helps to ensure operational consistency while also not losing the personal touch with parents.
There is two pronged revenue model for the firm: Retail & Corporate. The retail model is operated like a brick & mortar setup and the corporate model generates revenue via the management fees that they draw.
Talking about future, Priya says, “We will be increasing the number of centers to 200 in the coming years, entering new cities like Pune and Chennai. We are also looking at expanding our footprint in Dubai and will be entering Singapore or Hong Kong market through an acquisition.”
Read more on education