India-focused early-stage investor Unitus Seed Fund has further invested an undisclosed amount in its existing portfolio company iSTAR Skill Development Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-based vocational skills training provider, according to a press release.
The company, which offers training to undergraduate students to make them employable, will use the fresh funds to expand operations to more regions and execute a skill development project for Kerala government’s Department of Higher Education, it said.
“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.
iSTAR was set up in 2009 by Thilakan and Sreeram Vaidyanathan, both graduates from IIM-Ahmedabad. Prior to starting iSTAR, Thilakan was working with the global investment bank Goldman Sachs while Vaidyanathan worked with the global technology behemoth Microsoft.
iSTAR partners with colleges to equip business and commerce students with specific skill sets to make them employment-ready after graduation.
It also provides career counselling and job placement support to students to accelerate their job search process.
iSTAR had raised first round of funding from USF in April 2013 when it was present in 15 colleges serving 1,500 students with 12 trainers in Karnataka. Since then, the company has expanded its footprint to 150 colleges across three states and 17 districts with over 150 trainers for more than 17,000 students.
USF, a part of the impact investment organisation Unitus Group, was co-founded by international early-stage investors and entrepreneurs Dave Richards and Will Poole. The company invests in healthcare, education, mobile commerce & value-added services, marketplaces & e-commerce, retail & distribution, agriculture, and water & energy sectors.
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