Founder – Ajay Shivlani
Website – The Skate Academy
The Skate Academy which was started in March 2015, in Mumbai by Mr. Ajay Shivlani has been producing International Skating Champions with each passing day! It is a self-funded academy whose vision is to create world-class academies all over India and the globe that produces international level skating champions. This academy has trained more than 1.2 lakh skaters and they have been winning accolades at the district, state, national, international, and world level championships!
Ajay Shivlani was an enthusiastic skater from a very young age. He had won a lot of national and international championships and had record-creating performances in skating! This passionate skater, along with his work and postgraduate studies, started to teach young kids to learn and master this beautiful sport of skating at the YMCA, a few private societies, and even alongside roads near Shivaji Park. His strong passion and love for this sport drove him into making this his career. Between a high-salaried career and skating, he chose his passion, skating! He thus started The Skate Academy, and ever since they have been achieving a great amount of success.
The Skate Academy
The academy imparts world-class training along with safety, fun, and humility. They aim at training students to not only make them winners but instill in them a spirit of healthy competition so that they learn and achieve in the long run. The academy is affiliated with reputed Indian skating institutes in Pune and Delhi. They also exclusively supply premier brands of skates which are in huge demand in the B to B as well as the B to C segment. They are affiliated with several Mumbai’s premier sports academies and educational institutions like The Sports Gurukul, Indian Education Society, St.Joseph’s, SportzVillage and Somaiya Sports Academy to name a few. The Skate Academy has helped the above institutions in developing Mumbai’s first-ever International Standard Speed Skating facility. They are presenters of “24 Skate for UNICEF”, which is a worldwide skate event! They also present a lot of fun activities like the Christmas party of skates, Rally on skates, etc.
· Amazing experience
They don’t work like the typical skating academies. They ensure that their students have fun during the entire learning process by organizing small group activities apart from the regular sessions
· Talented staff
The academy consists of the best team of coaches, a sports nutritionist as well as a sports counselor. A panel of sports medicine doctors, physiotherapists, and fitness instructors are also associated with the academy.
The academy has won a lot of medals and achieved at great levels. Over 1000 medals have been won so far.
The academy never compromises the safety of the student. Necessary safety gear and helmets are always provided to students before they enter the skating ground.
Shortly, The Skate Academy aims to launch about 250 centers where coaching can be provided to students in leisure and competitive sports. They want to supply hydration and nutritional supplements and provide the most comfortable and reasonable sports equipment for all activities to make lives happier!
What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this
Ajay Shivlani – After finishing my graduation, I mainly worked with media companies in the space marketing zone; M &N Publications, Tata Press and lastly with The Indian Express Group for more than two and a half years. While working I also pursued my post-graduation in Masters in Marketing Management(MMM), with the Mumbai University.
Along with work and post graduate studies, I continued to follow my childhood passion of Skating by teaching younger kids to learn and master the sport of skating at the YMCA, some private societies as well as road sides at Shivaji Park.
The sheer magic of skating and the thought of being on skates was something that gave me that sense of freedom and flight. Just 30-45 minutes of skating would take away all the stress and tiredness of a long day.
At one point, I realised that I should do what I love. What better than the youthful innocent energy of kids along with my first love ie.skating.
Brief Skating History:
As a teenager, I had already proven my merit in skating at the District, State and All India level competitions. Had also taken to adventure on skates by skating from Mumbai to Delhi then Leh to Khardungla Pass in Ladakh; both of these adventures became record creating endeavors and were registered in the Limca Book of Records as Longest Distance in Shortest Time (National Record) and Skating to the highest motorable road in the World in shortest time(World Record). Some major TV and radio channels took our interviews. Many newspaper publications also helped us become local semi heroes by covering our endeavour on regular basis. Basically skating had become a lifeline for me.
How are you performing currently?
Ajay Shivlani – We are Mumbai’s leading skate training company. More than 1.2 lakh skaters have been trained to skate effortlessly by our past and present affiliations. Many of our students have won merits at the District, State, National and International level. Some have also achieved the status of World Rankers.
We are also the exclusive dealers and suppliers for the premier brand of skates in Mumbai. Our skates are in big demand in the B to B as well as B to C segment.
We have multiple affiliations with Mumbai’s premier sports academies and educational institutions like The Sports Gurukul, Indian Education Society, St. Joseph’s, SportzVillage and Somaiya Sports Academy-whom we have helped in developing Mumbai’s first ever International Standard Speed Skating facility.
We are presenters of Worldwide skate event called “24 Skate for Unicef” other than our annual speed skating championship and other fun based events like Christmas Party of skates, rally on skates etc.
What are your plans for the funding?
Ajay Shivlani – As of now, we are self-funded and have achieved decent organic growth. However, we would like a partnership that can help us speed up with our tried and tested unique functional process. We have also designed some well thought out programs that can cater to varied age groups and can be great attraction to all those who have feet.
We are known to have a foreseeable understanding of the skating market and we have identified some line of products that we would like to introduce in the local market.
We have already proven the traction and growth potential. We would like to connect with angel networks that are interested to participate in the sports industry.
Our expertise in attracting people to our classes is proven and we also have a track record of selling precision and specific sports equipment.
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?
Ajay Shivlani – The Skate Academy was formed in March 2015 in Mumbai. Mumbai is the most expensive when it comes to real estate. We had to hire places at very high cost. But, we always believed in our potential to attract students/learners for our sport. However, there was nothing available for the professional skate training purpose. It took us loads of time and effort to convince the right people to see the long term potential in our sport of speed skating. But we did it.
What does growth mean to you and your business?
Ajay Shivlani – Playing leisure and competitive Sports is a great means to achieving the happy feeling.
We want 250 centres for training, adding more types of leisure sports coaching, providing the most comfortable and reasonable sports equipment. We need to see many more happy and satisfied faces on and off skates.
How does your product stand different from others in the market?
Ajay Shivlani – The Skate Academy ensures scientifically proven method of training is imparted in safe, fun and learning environment. All levels of participants are given multiple exposures to widen their horizon through our various tailor made and customised experiences.
Where are your start-up services spread?
Ajay Shivlani – We are based out of Mumbai and have affiliations in Pune, Delhi as well as Singapore.
We are in talks with some hydration and nutritional supplements providers that are safe for kids.
What does it feel to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel
getting up every morning and getting on to work?
Ajay Shivlani – I feel like a gardener, sowing seeds every day and nurturing thoughts to bring them to the fruit stage and further growth.
In these unbelievable times of Covid 19, Most of the people in Mumbai haven’t really been able to function since 3 months irrespective of their capability. But the wheels are continuously rotating in my mind thinking how to make things better and safe for our existing customer base. Ideating on how can we add better experience for all our present and future customers.
Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?
1. We would like to be in more than 200 locations in India with affiliations in most parts of the world. Skating will remain our core activity but we would like to add more sports and leisure activities with our proven format of training.
2. Providers of comfortable, easy to use equipment for all activities.
3. Suppliers of Hydration and Nutritional supplements.
Who support you to stand this business and how? Please share this thing
Ajay Shivlani – My wife and my family has always stood with me and allowed me to follow my passion even when I gave up my high flying salaried career. Other than that I have always had the good fortune of my core students and their parents who managed to keep me motivated by believing in my methods.