Chennai Angels invests in education Start-up Skyfi Labs

Skyfi will use the funds to expand its reach to cover 1000 new colleges, increase and refine the course offerings and enhance back-end technology.

March 24, 2014 12:26 IST | India Infoline News Service
South India’s best known angel network The Chennai Angels (TCA), today announced an investment in  Skyfi Labs (Skyfi), a Bangalore based education products and services startup. Spark Capital, a leading full-service investment bank headquartered in Chennai has also co-invested in Skyfi. This round of investment was led by Padma Chandrasekaran, a TCA investor member and Vijay Radhakrishnan of Spark Capital.
Skyfi will use the funds to expand its reach to cover 1000 new colleges, increase and refine the course offerings and enhance back-end technology.
Pavan Ponnaganti, Founder and CEO of Skyfi Labs, launched the company in 2010 with the objective of enabling Indian engineering college students to get practical, hands-on training. Skyfi has so far trained over 25000 students from more than 150 colleges via both, short term (2-3 days) courses in areas such as robotics, aero-modelling, web and mobile app development, civil engineering as well as SLATE, which is offered in partnership with engineering colleges across eight semesters of an undergraduate program. Skyfi uses its brand courses AerotriX, Civil Simplified, Roboversity and Code Instruct to deliver these programs.
India graduates over 1 million engineering students every year from around 3500 colleges. Only a small percentage of them are equipped with appropriate practical skills. Skyfi’s praxis focused programs delivered by highly skilled trainers leveraging pre-packaged content and kits for each student, aims to address that gap. Students are rigorously assessed and given certificates at the end of a course. Skyfi worked with corporate partners like Altair Engineering to develop course content and Boeing to conduct student competitions.
Pavan, an IIT Kanpur engineering graduate who worked at JP Morgan before starting Skyfi, said “We are very excited to partner with The Chennai Angels. While the funding is no doubt useful, the connections, credentials and mentoring that the members of TCA bring are the real plus. Our mission is to equip Indian engineering graduates with the right combination of praxis and theory and TCA’s investment will help us do that. We have already begun benefiting through the advice and networkings provided by individual TCA members and hope to scale far more rapidly than we would have otherwise.”
Vijay Radhakrishnan, Chief Financial Officer of Spark Capital said “We were impressed with the young and dynamic Founding team that Skyfi possesses and the relevance of its offerings, which seek to buttress the formal education that engineering students undergo with a very practical, application-oriented and hands-on approach to learning about how-things-work.”
Padma Chandrasekaran said “India’s future lies in quality education with a practical as well as theoretical focus. Skyfi Labs has a well defined business model to deliver high quality practical education at scale to engineering students. We look forward to seeing them succeed.”

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