Abstract: The iDiscoveri case provides a background for discussion of several issues encountered by many start-ups and early stage companies: learning from early mistakes, the importance of a competent and committed team, scaling up to service a huge market, possibilities of technology to enhance the product/service, and the challenge an entrepreneur faces in redefining his role as the business grows.
Since its founding in 2002, iDiscoveri had developed a progressive system of teaching methods and classroom materials that was markedly improving elementary school education for children in India. By mid-2012, more than 650 public and private schools had adopted the system; some 400,000 K-7 students were using iDiscoveri’s materials. Equally important, the fast-growing business had demonstrated scalability, was cash-flow positive, and was nearly profitable.
Looking forward, founder Ashish Rajpal saw no impediment to his intermediate goal of reaching one million students. But one million was a tiny fraction of India’s 300 million elementary school students. There were millions more in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Could the company scale up to the point of meeting the needs of these larger populations?
Rajpal also wondered about his future role at iDiscoveri. He had been deeply involved in every aspect of the business since its founding. He knew this would have to change, but who had the ability and sense of mission to carry the company to a higher level?