New investment to support iSTAR to expand its operation across the country
15 June 2015. Bangalore, India: Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund), India’s leading venture seed fund supporting startups innovating for the masses, announced a new round of investment into its portfolio company iSTAR Skill Development Private Limited.
iSTAR is a skills training company that provides undergraduate students with training to make them readily employable. In many colleges, up to 85% of the graduates are unable to get desired career outcomes due to poor pedagogy, outdated content and lack of industry relevant training. iSTAR addresses the skills gap by employing trained faculty to deliver a tailor made curriculum to make the students job ready, with typical employment rates over 80%.
iSTAR raised their first round of funding in Apr ’13 from Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund) when they were present in 15 colleges serving 1,500 students with 12 trainers in the state of Karnataka. In the two years since their first investment, they have expanded their footprint to 150 colleges across 3 states and 17 districts with 150+ trainers for 17,000+ students. iSTAR will be using the new funds to expand operations to additional states across India and to invest further in their technology platform.
Issues of employability remain prevalent in India, as formal qualifications are often not a sufficient indicator of skills
India is expected to be home to a skilled workforce of 500 million by 2022. About 12 million persons are expected to join the workforce every year. This talent pool needs to be adequately skilled. Various steps are being taken towards meeting the above objectives, such as, the formulation of the National Skills Development Policy, delivery of Modular Employable Schemes, upgradation of existing institutions through World Bank and Government of India funding, as well as improving of training institutes. Given the significance of skill development as well as the quantum of funding involved, there is the overarching need for quality structures to be in place, especially from the perspective of successful implementation.
iSTAR plans to expand its operations across the country and to execute a skill development project for the Department of Higher Education, Government of Kerala. “We are excited at the growth prospects, particularly with a very conducive regulatory environment and policy push around skilling.” said Surga Thilakan, co-founder of iSTAR.
“With nearly 20 million undergraduate students in arts and science, iSTAR’s training program has the potential to train a student in a remote location and provide opportunity that she otherwise could not reach.” said Will Poole, managing partner at Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund). “We are excited to provide follow on funding to iSTAR to help them accelerate growth and become attractive for future rounds of funding.
iSTAR is a skill development company engaged in providing high quality employability training and placement services to college students. Its founders are alumni from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) with extensive experience in Banking, Financial Services and Technology industries. iSTAR has been an early pioneer in addressing India’s skill challenge and has been recognized by the Government of India’s National Skill Development Corporation as a Partner Institution and received the prestigious Power of Ideas Award in the Social Enterprise Category in 2010. More about iSTAR >
About Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund)
Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund) is the leading venture seed fund supporting startups innovating for the masses in India. Unitus invests in healthcare, education, mobile commerce & value-added services, marketplaces & e-commerce, retail & distribution, agriculture, and water & energy sectors. Founded in 2012, Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund) is part of the Unitus Group, a premier financial services group operating in India and other emerging markets since 2000. Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund) is based in Bangalore and Seattle. More about Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund) >