Zeba Zaidi Adeeb: Changing the Landscape of Sports in India with Her Passion

Zeba Zaidi Adeeb ,Managing Partner

Zeba Zaidi Adeeb

Managing Partner

“Becoming an entrepreneur was completely an accident for me,” proclaims ZebaZaidi Adeeb– one of the most successful sportspreneurs of today and co-founder of Volano– a sportainment company and pioneer of the participative sports events in India. This chapter of her life began in 2011 when Zeba returned to India having spent 14 years overseas after having worked in the sales vertical across organisations spanning multiple geographies and industries. Having lived and worked overseas had inculcated a deep love of participative sports in her and upon her return she realised that although Indian’s too had a deep rooted love for sport, once we began our corporate career, playing sports automatically took a back seat. This was partly due to the work- life imbalance but also due to the lack of proper opportunities and adequate resources such as venue, equipment and teammates. Sensing a business opportunity in this space gave rise to the desire to create something unique, and thus Volano was created to fill this gap.

With Volano, Zeba combined her business acumen, and passion to take the risk and move opposite of the trend of professional sporting leagues. Zeba crafted unique opportunities into the amateur space by combining active sports and entertainment. Moving forward, she organized India’s first and largest obstacle running series in the Devils Circuit, which now has a community of over million. A unique form of running, Devils Circuit has proved to be extremely popular with not just participants but also marketeers. With Maruti Suzuki Swift coming on board as a Title sponsor from 2015 on wards, brand DC has truly established itself as a premier property in the
world of amateur sport. The annual prize of 2 Swift cars given to winners at the end of each season is not only the biggest prize in amateur sports in India but also the most prestigious.

Inspired by a clear vision, competent partners and a great team, Zeba’s entrepreneurial journey has been a challenging yet fulfilling learning experience

Soon after the success of Devils Circuit, which now has a n annual presence in 8 cities, Volano launched their first TV series The Swift Devils circuit Challenge which aims to identify India’s Fittest Corporate Team. This TV show is currently in it 3rd Season (being broadcast on Colours Infinity) and sees some of the biggest organisations in the Country participate and vie for the Title.In the offing this year is a version of this for Colleges that will see some of the most prestigious colleges from around the country fight for glory!

Learning from Past
Straddling through highs and lows, Zeba constantly re oriented her self to adapt with emerging technologies and has created multiple successful brands constantly thinkin her domain. She is a thriving entrepreneur who learnt from her previous failures and kept on moving ahead. She elucidates, “I started my first venture when I was 24 years old and in a one year I had scaled the company into generating a top line of multi million pounds. By the time I was 26,I was bankrupt”. Her previous entrepreneurial experience helped her to realize the Dos in a business and to embed the similar work culture ðics in Volano, while her failure taught her the Don’ts.

As a power house of talent, Zeba deems that continuous growth &success in business depends only on creating a strong and passionate team. She has been proving this by building a culture of respect & camaraderie that allows maximising the potential of each employee, motivating employees to constantly think
out-of-the-box and bring new ideas. As part of this ethos, she hosts one offsite seminar annually, where all employees brainstorm and open to express their wild and whacky ideas. She later whittles those ideas into workable propositions and executes the ones that make business sense. Zeba has been successful in retaining clients and providing them with a once in a lifetime experience with each edition of her property.“For us, the experience we offer to our customers is the only measure of success and this concept of working towards making someones day/month or year is a part of our DNA,” she added.

Passionate Entrepreneur
The greatest challenge that Zeba faced as an entrepreneur was ensuring a high reach within her targeted community on a startup budget. According to her, the main aim of the marketing is to establish communication, engagement and connect between a brand and its potential customers. Zeba found social media platform to be the best fitment for marketing and most localised targeted approach to reach the customer base. She avers,“As we grew, we moved towards a more all encompassing media mix of both traditional and non-traditional media but our media mix has remained skewed in favour of social media channels”.

Inspired by a clear vision, competent partners and a great team, Zeba’s entrepreneurial journey has been a challenging yet fulfilling learning experience. Zeba defines a role model as a person who doesn’t quit, continues to pursue her passion and lead a successful life. Zeba is passionate about what she does and therefore never feels the need to switch off from her work.Her life revolves round her 2 children who according to her are her biggest stress busters. Zeba with her startup experience advises all budding entrepreneurs, “First figure out why you want to be an entrepreneur. If your first answer is money then stop right there and go back to doing a job. Being an entrepreneur is essentially the equivalent of baptism by fire. If you have the passion and the right attitude, go for it”.