Jagadeesh Kanna, Founder at Vaayusastra Aerospace
Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Jagadeesh Kanna: Vaayusastra Aerospace is basically a combination of knowledge I acquired from two fields Aeronautical engineering and Theatre arts, live performances, the experience I got from theatre training transformed me into a totally a different personality.
When I was a full time actor I faced two issues one is revenue generation and other is lot of free time for a workaholic like me this free time forced me to create something which could help me to overcome my stress and anxiety and also solve my revenue problems.
So I started conducting workshops on Aeronautics with paper planes as I know how to make 80 varieties of plane with different structural and aerodynamic properties learnt during my masters.
During one of the session my theatre trainer Yog jeppe suggested “why don’t you add some mythological story to this, we can find so many stories with flight connect” the first story is Daedalus and Icarus story from Greek mythology.
It was well received and children started ask for similar stories, the journey started there. When the feature film I acted released this workshop model started to receive more attention. One of my friend told me IIT Madras will support innovative ideas. I reached out to IITM RTBi mentioned about the idea but I did not had any business plan or knowledge of how to start a business. Team RTBI and IIT Incubation cell started to train with their mentor clinics. After 6 months process we created a basic business plan. Then after the interview process we got incubated under RTBi. Most mentors reviewed and told vaayusastra method is not scalable or won’t generate revenue in the interview round. I got emotional and shouted for their feedback thinking they never going to call me back again. I got call from RTBi Team to meet Ashok jhunjunwala, I was thiking its going to be some advice session but ashok sir agreed to take us in after listening to the idea. After 3 years we are now grown up into a 1 crore turnover business with 15+ full time aeronautical engineers and 30+ part time theatre artist.
Great Companies: What are the various Services provided by Vaayusastra Aerospace
Jagadeesh Kanna: Airscience workshop for children of Age group – 5 to 14 yrs : A combination science + story + Hands on science experiments, it’s a in person classroom program segregated into 3 age groups 5-7, 8-10, 11-14 – each age group has 9 levels
Airscience advanced level program for college students & 15+ age category : Focused on hands on learning experience for college students under electives Vaayu – Basic Aerodynamics for all
Vimaan – anything flies below 15km range, UAV, Drone, Aircraft structures etc.,
Agni – 15km to 160km – Rocket technology, re-entry vehicles
Akash – 160km and above – satellites, space crafts, orbital vehicles etc.,
Adhisaya Parimana – 3D printing for all the above categories
Trigger the spark – an online outreach program –
10 days program with 9 modules in it for 5 to 14+ age group
Basic Aerodynamics – an online outreach program for 15+ age group
Exclusive program for pilot aspirants “The Pilot show / How to become a pilot / Pilot ground classes”
Great Companies: What makes Vaayusastra Aerospace different from competitors?
Jagadeesh Kanna: Most of competitors who do knowledge transfer as main work using hands on experiments focus 14+ age group or make it totally into science based education which gives an impression it’s something very technical to learn.
What vaayusastra do is break down the concepts from age 5 in a story telling format with easy and replicable science models in home. We also combine their school science curriculum in the session to make it useful for their school education as well.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Jagadeesh Kanna: There are challenges in training the Aeronautical engineers and Theater actors, offline delivery have to be improvised depends on the students unlike online recorded sessions, trainers have to understand children psychology and make them feel comfortable and we make sure children treat out trainer as their friends.
We don’t mention these as struggle these as challenging.
The struggle we actually face is convincing the investor to understand this model, they usually say “they can’t predict its scalability or its impossible to scale it up” sometime it make me feel depressed to hear this even after showing three years of growth and even during pandemic company performed well with online modules reaching out 8+ countries
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Vaayusastra Aerospace?
Jagadeesh Kanna: In Next five years we are planning to cover every district in south India or at-least minimum all over Tamilnadu with our offline programs and plans to go around the world with our online modules. Our franchise model for offline programs ready which we will be launching very soon.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Jagadeesh Kanna: If you have a good team which can understand your vision and ready to travel with you we can achieve anything. But as founders or Team leads we also have to consider about employee personal growth that can be as simple as enhancing their skill sets, encouraging their unique talents, providing basic platforms to expose their talents etc., basically it helps to build trust factor inside the team.