The name Skillveri can be read in two classical languages, Tamil and Latin. In Tamil, the name stands for acquiring skills with utmost passion. In Latin the name stands for the right or authentic skill and veri being the root word for verify, said Sabarinath C, CEO of Skillveri, a Chennai-based start up.
Founded by Sabarinath C and L Kannan, Skillveri, which pioneered India’s first welding simulator, is helping in addressing India’s skill gap.
“The growing skill-gap, in a context where 1.5 crore people enter the workforce every year, made us recognise that the usual approach to skill development for employability is not going to work. This challenge could be addressed only by disruptive technology, ” he told FE.
The start up provides technology-enabled tools – simulators- for training and skill improvement in domains that call for manual dexterity. These tools are targeted at entities engaged in skilling, such as training institutes and industries.
Adoption of these tools enables the entities to save on consumables and trainer-costs, leading to a payback period that is less than a year. Importantly, it leads to measurable improvements in performance of the trainees, which is otherwise not possible to do in conventional methods, he said.
Skillveri has been training youth for well-paying aspirational manufacturing jobs and going forward it expects to expand from its current manufacturing focus to four new industries and six geographies in the future.
The company was incubated out of the Rural Technology Business Incubator of IIT Madras, from where it received collateral-free soft-loans. Subsequently, Ankur Capital invested `75 lakh as seed round, followed by `8 crore invested jointly by the MSDF (Michael and Susan Dell Foundation) and Ankur Capital as a Series-A round.
He said lack of skills is a problem similar to garbage on the streets – everyone recognises it, but everyone thinks someone else should do something about it. Making people recognise that it is within their means to address the problem, that they can do it profitably – rather than as a charitable activity – bringing about this change in mindset is the biggest challenge.
“We have a set of mature offerings, in the welding domain, whose market penetration we plan to increase. Although we have over 90% market share, the addressable market is 10 times larger – our biggest competitor is non-consumption,” he said.
Simultaneously, Skillveri is diversifying into new offerings that capture other skill-domains where there is a large and unmet need. An offering for spray-painting simulator is in Beta stage and being used by well known paint manufacturers like Berger and Nerolac.