Amutha Saravanan- Co founder & COO of Da Vinci Group
Passionate about the education system Amutha Saravanan along with her co founder and husband Saravanan Manokorum established Da Vinci Group with an aim to empower children of today to become leaders of tomorrow. Amutha started her first business Amooo’s – an original (www.amooos.com) and then co founded Da Vinci Group (www.davincisg.com) in Singapore based on a field of study called Neuroeducation, a subset of Neuroscience. “After staying in the job for 4 years, and doing enough ground work for Da Vinci Group, in 2015, I quit my corporate job to go full-time into Da Vinci Group together with my life and business partner.” she says.
She did her Masters in Social Sciences, Psychology by Research and focused on a sub-specialty called Clinical Neuropsychology. She worked in SingHealth, the largest health cluster in Singapore. Wanting to try something else totally different and learn business skill set she joined a senior level executive search firm in the CBD area.
Her interest lies in art and Japanese language, as well as discovering about the human brain. Amutha has also won the championship in the Secondary, Junior College and Open categories of the Japanese Speech Contest, which is an annually held competition organized by the Japanese Cultural Society, the Japanese Association, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Japanese University Graduates Association in Singapore. She along with her team thrives to make learning fun for everyone.
Here are some insights about Ms. Amutha and Da Vinci Group shared with the team of ABT.
Tell us about the journey of Da Vinci Group and its evolution.
Da Vinci Group (DVG) is a premium educational and training services provider. As an enterprise committed to social transformation through education, DVG has developed a methodology based on research in neuroeducation. We set up environments for participants where their creativity is triggered using clay, process drama, jazz music and dance as a platform. More than providing information, we take them on a journey to discover possibilities through their experiences. The novel design of our program fuses exciting content with mediums where we focus on not just learning but the growth of a person as a whole.
Da Vinci Group (www.davincisg.com) officially started in 2012. Sara (Saravanan), our CEO and I were doing research on the tenets of Neuroeducation, which is a subset of Neuroscience while being in our corporate jobs. In 2015, both of us went full-time into the business simply because being neither in or out weren’t doing the idea that we had any justice. We had to be totally in or totally out. We chose totally in, and that’s when the real journey began with both of us and our 1.5 year-old son in tow. 2015 was really a year for proof of concept for all the various pillars we had, Da Vinci Education, Da Vinci Consultancy, Da Vinci Silver Line and Da Vinci Foundation. The great news was Neuroeducation and NeuroCeramics, what we created is applicable for everyone from 18 months to the elderly. We also won our first key accounts with preschools under Da Vinci Education in 2015. In 2016, we built up traction, had our first few hires. All through this we were still a home office. I remember having 8 to 10 people coming in everyday to our home and taking a spot to work. In 2017, we started focusing on Da Vinci Education, Da Vinci Consultancy and KlayKit – our product pillar. In 2017, we also had angel investors on board, we moved from a home office to our current location. We have been having some big conversations around licensing and franchising our curriculum now.
Who is your inspiration and why?
I have come across so many people through this journey. It is difficult to name one person. All our supporters are my inspiration. Without them cheering us on and speaking about our work, we can go nowhere in keeping the possibility of making learning fun alive. I think about the support we have had when the going gets tough. I think about what our mentors have said and I think about our A-team that makes everything happen to bring our cutting edge curriculum to the world. They are all my inspiration.
What circumstances inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Well, it was never on my mind actually! I felt consumed by the fact that our education system isn’t equipped for the future and I felt blessed that we had an idea that would create a paradigm shift in how we look at education using evidence to shape our curriculum. It would have been such a shame to have not done anything about it to bring the idea to implementation. If we weren’t going to do it and make a difference, I couldn’t expect someone else to.
What is that one milestone in your life that makes you feel happy and proud?
Having my son! Him coming into being was the start of me realising that I should be doing something that would have a lasting impact in the world. And we haven’t looked back since. I tested NeuroCeramics with Dronan (my son) at 18 months. Amooo’s – an original (www.amooos.com) took a turn to Belly Pots and Baby Prints because of him. Our airline version of the KlayKit was tried and tested by Dronan. He gives me power and strength to keep going because he is so resolute in my moments of hesitation.
Did you face any challenges and how did you overcome it?
Oh yes, all the time! Execution, operations, business development, creativity, manpower, cash flow, the list goes on – running a business is such a life-changing growth journey. I overcome it on a moment by moment basis and choose that this is the life I choose to live. Sometimes it is hard to choose, however I usually come around quickly enough. I think it is all about my perspectives on things. We could have folded many times in the last 5 years and chosen to go back to a regular job, we didn’t because we knew what we are creating is bigger than us. I have learnt not to be afraid to ask for help, be bold in my requests and be in communication even when I don’t want to be in communication. That is how for the most part we have overcome our challenges. Grit and perseverance is what I am training myself in.
If you were to do one thing differently what would that be?
I wouldn’t do anything differently. Everything has happened in the way it has happened and will happen in the way it needs to happen because we need to learn. I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences. Although I may not see how all the dots connect at this point, I am certain that things will triangulate and I trust that I have to keep taking actions to ensure that what I have created, that is Da Vinci Group to create a paradigm shift in education, becomes a reality in the near future.
What would like to achieve in the next coming years?
I want Da Vinci Group to be global and for our work to touch the lives of everyone we come across. I am a stand that we are the next Google or Facebook. 🙂