Focus Ventures CEO Anantha Rao, an early stage investor, is planning to raise private equity to fund the expansion of a skill development company he had acquired last year.
Hyderabad-based Skill Pro is into training of under Class 12th students with a guaranteed placement in companies that partly or fully sponsor the 3-month skill development course of the candidates. This company runs 54 skill development centres in 12 states including AP, Gujarat and Odisha and had trained about 40,000 young people, according to Rao.
“I had put my own money in opening the new centres to double their number from 27 at the time of acquisition. I had also invested in the heavy use of technology that went into the content and management of these centres to make it a scalable model. Initially, I am planning to raise $5 million to $10 million (Rs 30-60 crore) to fund further expansion as we are looking at setting up 400 centres in the next four years,” Rao told Business Standard. Rao said he was looking at both domestic and overseas players for private equity.
Skill Pro follows a business model where candidates need not pay for either the training or the placement. The firm trains these candidates after entering into a tie-up with their future employers or with those who come forward to fund their training as part of the CSR activity, according to Rao. Close to 70 per cent of those joining the job market comprises the under-12 class category signifying a large requirement for skill development targeting this particular section, he said.
The training firm had placed people in basic jobs at retail chains run by various firms including Bata, Cafe Coffee Day and Aditya Birla.
About 60 per cent of training involves skill development of the candidate in a particular trade, 20 per cent in computer skills and 20 per cent in communication skills. The company plans to train 16,000 candidates this year and 30,000 people next year and has a long-term goal of training 1 million people in five years. Skill Pro invests Rs 15-30 lakh in each training centre depending on its size, according to Rao.