Bangalore-based iSTAR Skill Development, a skill training startup, has raised about $1.5 Mn (INR 10 Cr) in Series A round of funding led by Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and existing investor Unitus Seed Fund.

Earlier in June, 2015, the company had raised its Seed fund from Unitus. Prior to that, it had received early funding support from the National Skill Development Corporation and the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, IIM Ahmedabad.

Founded in 2010 by Sreeraman Vaidyanathan and Surga Thilakan, iSTAR, provides skill training and recruitment services to undergraduate students from arts and science colleges across India.

In simple words, iSTAR addresses the skills gap by employing trained faculty to deliver a curriculum in order make the students job ready.

Since 2013, iStar has expanded its arms across South India, and has grown from 50 colleges to 150 colleges across 3 states and 17 districts, with over 150 trainers for 17,000+ students.

“With this funding, iSTAR’s tech investments will dramatically increase their operational efficiency and at the same time deliver even more compelling student learning experiences” said Will Poole, co-founder & managing partner of Unitus Seed Fund. The startup plans to utilise the funds to expand their college footprint across 10 states, for investment in technology and elearning platforms and to build new content.

Millions of graduate students are unable to find employment opportunities. The skill deficit is largely due to absence of a skill orientation in higher education curriculum and poor practical orientation to the method and practice of teaching. Currently, India faces a major challenge of imparting “employable skills” to its growing workforce over the next few decades. By 2020, the country is expected to face a shortage of 13 Mn medium-skilled workers, posing a big impediment to labor-intensive sectors.


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