The year was 2003. Praveen had just completed his B.Com from the famed Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. He was 98 kgs, wore his hair long, and did not want to go to SCMS-Cochin. His logic? The other prominent B-school that he’d cracked had lesser number of students, and therefore lesser competition. His mother ofcourse would have none of it.
“A complete transformation happened to me at SCMS-Cochin -physically as well as mentally. I dropped 30 kgs, picked up discipline… and earned friends for life. You see, knowledge is something you can gain anytime you want; SCMS-Cochin helped me get my attitude.”
An attitude, that saw Praveen Premkumar awarded as the ‘Best Student – Allround’ of his batch.
When Praveen passed out of SCMS-Cochin in 2005, the Indian economy was seeing the beginning of the boom in Telecom sector. Praveen had cracked an on-campus placement at SCMS-Cochin with BPL mobile; taken over by Hutch within the first few months of his joining. After a short stint as Management Trainee – Marketing, Praveen made a big switchback to BPL, as Deputy Manager – Brand and Communications. Praveen was a part of the core team that launched Loop Mobile India. In 2009, he climbed a couple of rungs up the corporate ladder as Manager- Marketing with Virgin Mobile India. It was during this year-and-a-half long stint of launching Virgin Mobile that an opportunity seemed to beckon him from an altogether different field.
“We all know how dismal India is when it comes to our standings in Human Development Index. Last year we were 130, and this year we have slipped to 132 – below countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and numerous African nations as well. It is well known that matters are going to grow worse if the lack of basic Education persists. It is with this will to make a difference that I shifted to iDiscoveri, as Senior Manager- Marketing. I was entrusted with the responsibility of handling the brand XSEED. Having been in Telecom for a long time, handling an education brand was challenging as well as exciting. The target consumers were different, and the entire marketing strategy had to be more focussed to get more bang for every buck! Blind Marketing seldom works in Education.”
For the next year-and-a-half Praveen handled all aspects of marketing of XSEED – from planning to design to execution of ATL, BTL, Digital, Events and PR. The more he got into it, the more he realised that the problems of Basic Education needed to be addressed at the Parents’ level. Entrepreneurship had sown its seeds in Praveen.
“By June 2012, a few of us got together to launch Parentune.com, a Proparenting community empowering parents to do more for their child. You can’t upload ‘pics’ and expect ‘Likes’, but you can connect with other parents from across the country, interact with them as well as the onsite experts, and seek solutions on anything and everything under the sun with respect to child development. It seems to be picking up now, with parents themselves creating content.”
Praveen advises his youngsters to turn entrepreneur only once they have complete faith on their idea, and have a decent support system. On your own it is a bit more difficult to execute the idea. He acknowledges that the major part of his support system, in terms of friends and mentors, comes from SCMS-Cochin.
Partner and Head – Advocacy,
Parentune.com Alumni Batch 2005, SCMS-Cochin