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TalentSprint to raise Rs 20 cr to expand iPEARL

K Rajani Kanth  |  Chennai/ Hyderabad 

TalentSprint, a Hyderabad-based skill development and training company, is planning to raise Rs 20 crore through a combination of venture capital and private equity participation to scale up its iPEARL (Interactive Platform for Remote Employability and Learning) remote classroom initiative.

The three-year-old company is currently in negotiation with a couple of VC and PE players and is expected to close the deal by March 2012. Three iPEARL virtual classrooms are already running in Andhra Pradesh – in Anantapur, Prakasam and Guntur districts each with 40 students on a pilot basis, while the company is shortly going to open one in Bhubaneswar.

“Our idea is to have around 100 colleges across the seven regions that we have identified – Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal and the National Capital Region – plugged into the system in the next 18 months,” Santanu Paul, managing director and chief executive of TalentSprint, told Business Standard.

iPEARL, for which the company is in the process of filing for three patents, is a platform built using frugal engineering that allows master trainers at urban locations to conduct life-size, fully-interactive experiential classes with remotely-located trainees in other urban or rural locations. It also allows assignments and assessments to be managed through a web-based learning management system, leading up to certifications and placements.

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has extended a Rs 10-crore ‘venture debt’, to be released in three tranches with the last being Rs 3 crore in 2013, to TalentSprint to build iPEARL The interest rate is 6 per cent with a repayment period of 7 years starting 2013.

Paul said the company was adopting a two-vertical strategy. “With studies showing that the IT and ITeS will create 5 million jobs in India in the next 10 years, and an equal number for the banking, financial services and insurance segment, there will be a huge dearth of ‘readily-deployable’ talent. That is the opportunity we are setting our sights on,” he added.

Stating that the company was aiming at addressing 5 per cent of this population, which translates to 500,000 professional in the next 10 years, Paul said that would not be achievable only through the traditional classroom model.

“In the last three years, we have completed 3,000 trainees. Reaching the scale of half-a-million trainees will be made possible only through technology (iPEARL),” he said, adding the company expected 20 per cent of its training to be delivered through traditional and the remaining through the virtual model in a 10-year period.

TalentSprint has also floated a subsidiary company, TenXLabs Technologies, which provides frugal engineering solutions. The subsidiary offers a three-month internship programme to those TalentSprint’s graduates who come from middle-of-the-pyramid colleges and take a longer time to be recruited post their three-month training. The company pays a stipend of 5,000 per month to these trainees besides giving a certification of ‘real live’ work at the end of three months.

TalentSprint recorded revenues of Rs 6 crore last year and expects to close the current financial year with Rs 15 crore. “In the next three years, we should get to a point of Rs 100 crore, primarily on the back of our iPEARL initiative. And at any point, 30 per cent revenues come from the subsidiary,” Paul said.

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First Published: Sat, January 07 2012. 00:08 IST
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