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Featuring Indians who have made a mark. . . from Garamchai.Com >> Features >> Krishnan Ganesh, The outsourcerer

If you want to see where Indian outsourcing is going, keep an eye on Krishnan Ganesh

“WE ARE addressing the bottom of the pyramid,” says Krishnan Ganesh, an Indian entrepreneur, of his latest venture, TutorVista. It is a phrase that cheekily calls to mind the mass poor in his native country—but TutorVista, an online tuition service, is aimed squarely at customers in the developed world. Mr Ganesh founded the company in late 2005 after spotting that personal tutoring for American schoolchildren was unaffordable for most parents. His solution is to use tutors in India to teach Western students over the internet.

The teachers all work from home, which means that the company is better able to avoid India's high-wage employment hotspots. TutorVista further hammers home its labour-cost advantage through its pricing model. It offers unlimited tuition in a range of subjects for a subscription fee of $100 per month in America (and £50 a month in Britain, where the service launched earlier this year) rather than charging by the hour. Tutors are available around the clock; appointments can be made with only 12 hours' notice..

It is too early to gauge the impact of the service on educational outcomes, says Mr Ganesh, but take-up is brisk. TutorVista has 2,200 paying subscribers at the moment (most of them in America) and hopes to boost that figure to 10,000 by the end of the year. The company is expected to become profitable in 2008. Even cheaper pricing packages are on the way. Launches of the service are planned for Australia and Canada. Mr Ganesh is also investigating the potential of offering tuition in English as a second language to students in South Korea, where high rates of broadband penetration make the market attractive. Get that right, and China looms as an even bigger prize.

Mr Ganesh is gambling that the benefits of offshored services can be sold directly to consumers. Building trust for an unknown Indian brand is the biggest difficulty he faces. Having reassuring local managers fronting his operations in America and Britain certainly helps; so too does the fact that TutorVista's teachers are experienced hands, with an average age of 45 (many of them are retired). Quality control is vital: sessions are recorded and parents, student and teacher share a monthly call to discuss progress. As for the thorny problem of accents, Mr Ganesh points out that much of the communication is non-verbal—teachers and students write on a shared virtual whiteboard.

Mr Ganesh has a habit of spotting the next stage in the evolution of India's outsourcing industry, and his own career encapsulates its rapid development. He started in 1990, just as the Indian economy was being liberalised, by founding IT&T, a computer-maintenance business serving local firms. It was a brave decision. Capital was scarce and Mr Ganesh tackled cashflow problems by getting companies to pay their maintenance premiums upfront. Red tape proliferated and it took 26 clearance permits and nine months of battling to get IT&T up and running. Entrepreneurs were regarded with suspicion, even in their own homes. Mr Ganesh says the strongest opposition he encountered was from his mother-in-law, who had blessed his marriage to her daughter because of his stable job in corporate planning.

By the time he stepped down from a hands-on role at the company in 1998, IT&T had 400 people, 16 offices and a turnover of 200m rupees ($4.8m). His next role, a two-year stint as the boss of a telecoms joint venture between Britain's BT and Bharti Enterprises, was more conventional. But before his in-laws could start to relax, the entrepreneurial itch flared up again. Realising that the internet would enable India to become a provider of outsourced services to overseas firms, Mr Ganesh and his wife founded a firm to offer technical support via e-mail for customers of dotcom start-ups. That market never materialised but the new firm, CustomerAsset, survived by becoming a call-centre business serving “old-economy” Western firms. It was acquired by ICICI, a business-process outsourcing firm, in 2002 for $22m.

TutorVista's backers include the Indian arm of Sequoia Capital, a stalwart of Silicon Valley. Employees are more willing to consider joining start-up firms. Regulation is lighter, too. The paperwork required to set up TutorVista was completed in two weeks. But the improved business climate also has drawbacks—rivals are better funded and there is more competition for talented people. Presumably Mr Ganesh's success has, by now, overcome family opposition? “We have a saying in India,” he responds. “Behind every successful man is a devoted wife—and a very surprised mother-in-law.”

Source: The Economist

Log in to learn - The Hindu

Students in the U.S. and U.K. don't burn the proverbial midnight oil anymore. Teachers in India do it for them.

Bangalore is now home to another outsourcing industry — Knowledge or Education Process Outsourcing (KPO) that offers "anytime, anywhere education on any subject". Whatever the name may suggest, it simply implies having an online tutor across the seas to help do projects, homework, study for exams, take tests and have difficult lessons explained. Much like what your tuition teacher did when you were in school — only he or she came home or you went to theirs. Virtual classes today cut across continents that may separate teacher and student.

Tutor Vista is a Bangalore-based KPO that has been e-tutoring over 500 students in the U.S. and U.K., specially in subjects that are in great demand — Math and English. Science, apparently, comes third! Its youngest student at present is a six-year-old and the oldest, a 42-year-old studying for his GMAT. So whether it's school or a competitive exam for entry into college like the SAT and GRE, there's demand for one-to-one coaching.

Outsourcing tutors: Another view

Last week CNN/Money ran a column about Indian entrepreneur Krishnan Ganesh, founder of online tutoring company Tutor Vista. Tutor Vista seeks to provide students in America and the U.K. with affordable tutors via the Internet, with a world-is-flat twist: all Tutor Vista’s tutors are based in India.

Ganesh contends that parents and students (he’s signed up a mere 2,000 thus far) are pleased with the service, but the column elicited a strong response from George Cigale, CEO of rival

Tutor Vista is a Powerful online tutoring tool

As a teacher I often get asked for recommendations of good tutors. Although we have a few moderately qualified tutors in our little town, the prices are expensive and out of reach for most parents. In small towns like mine effective online tutoring is the best option available. Up until recently I would recommend Sylvan Online, but the cost was high and although it was a good system, I do not feel it was the most effective. I recently discovered what I feel is the best deal in, not only online tutoring, but in tutoring in general. It is called Tutor Vista at

Yes, you can outsource your homework to India

Indian entrepreneur Krishnan Ganesh is out to prove that consumer services can be outsourced just the way business services are.

NEW YORK (Fortune) — Few large corporations need to be convinced of the benefits of offshore outsourcing. Many U.S. companies have fully embraced the outsourcing of customer call centers, software troubleshooting, and even medical diagnoses to workers in India and other emerging markets as a way to cut costs and take care of business when most of America is asleep.Now, Indian entrepreneur Krishnan Ganesh is out to prove the advantages of outsourcing to a different and more skeptical audience: American parents and students.





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