Pavan Allena started his first business venture when he was in college, an Internet of Things-based school bus tracking system called Fleetalytics, which evolved into a logistics and driver analytics firm. In his interactions with students, he was surprised at regularly being asked about his business model, the technology involved, financing, and so on. “I looked into their curriculum to see if it had changed, to see what sparked this curiosity. But it was the same state board or CBSE syllabus,” says Allena.
That’s where the idea of Metamorphosis was born—a company that teaches entrepreneurship to students of Class 6 and above. “I think you can start introducing the basics of business to students from Class 1—it need not be the complex elements, but simple things like what is a bank, what is money, and so on,” he says. “From Class 6, however, they do have the maturity and inclination to look at real-world business ideas. We are constantly amazed by the kind of ideas they churn out—in cutting edge AR/VR and so on.”
Allena exited Fleetalytics in 2017 and founded Metamorphosis in July that year. Now, he has a team of 21, and takes his courses to 40,000 students—online and in schools. Since Covid-19 hit, however, lessons have moved online and the team has set up a ‘virtual school’ for entrepreneurship, which Allena says has helped streamline their processes and offerings. The company uses case studies to teach how to set up a business, starting with ideation, identifying a problem, and how to convert it into a business opportunity.
Allena himself had to learn the principles of leadership young and fast. “It was a challenge initially, because people are always more comfortable reporting to experienced managers,” he admits. “But soon, the team understood my vision, and that’s why it’s gratifying for me to be on a list of Great People Managers.”
Allena says his managerial style is simple: Of not running a single-decision company. Employees at all levels are expected to contribute to decisions, and each month there is a ‘Metapreneurs’ meeting, where Allena addresses individual challenges, career journeys, and explains the company’s financial situation. “Transparency is key,” he says.
Since the Covid-19 lockdown, Metamorphosis has instated a flexible timings policy, conducts virtual meetups every morning, and social events such as a Netflix binge.
“We’re so comfortable discussing both professional and personal challenges with Pavan, especially since the team is of a similar age group as our founder,” says Shashi Kumar Reddy, the company’s creative head. “What’s great about Pavan is that he treats everyone equally, no matter what level they are at. One thing that stands out is that he takes the trouble to understand each task and learn how to solve it himself. It’s a wonderful leadership quality, because then your manager knows exactly how long something will take, or how best to approach it.”
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(This story appears in the 09 October, 2020 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)