How Skill-Lync is shaping the engineering future in India

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. SuryaNarayanan PaneerSelvam, Co-Founder at Skill-lync.


  1. How was the idea of Skill Lync born?

One thing led to another, it was after Sarang and I completed our Master’s,  we realised that whatever we had learned during graduation did not help us land a job, or even keep up with our Master’s coursework. This pushed us to find a solution that would make it easy for other graduating engineers to skill-up, and become more employable.

We started creating small videos on YouTube during our post-graduation and tested multiple learning modules. By 2015, we started selling our courses to US colleges, providing value-added courses, as well as started conducting live sessions. Once the colleges started to pay, we realised that there is a potential in the market which led us to collaborate with about 12 colleges from Chennai, who paid around Rs 5,000 for each student. By the end of 2015, we had more than 300 students with us. Both Sarang and I decided to quit our jobs then and return to India to focus on building Skill-Lync.

However, now, amid COVID-19 we have partnered with more than 50 colleges and corporations to provide these courses.Our mission is aligned with the Govt. of India’s clarion call of building a skilled economy as there is a shortage of high-quality engineering talent in the country that can help India ride the next industrial wave. There is a need for credible platforms such as ours created on the back of academia and the industry to ensure that the students garner the right skill set to work on the next-gen, disruptive automotive technology.

Today, we have collaborated with more than 300 colleges and corporations to provide these courses. Skill-lync’s mission is aligned with the Govt of India’s clarion call of building a skilled economy as there is a shortage of high-quality engineering talent in the country that can help India ride the next industrial wave.

2. How does it help engineering students become industry ready?

Skill-Lync has been able to establish itself as a credible partner for organisations looking at building an upskilled talent pool. We have exclusive paths to get students trained in cutting-edge content upskilling for high-quality jobs. Students from more than 80 countries have enrolled on Skill-Lync, including geographies such as the U.S., UK, UAE, Germany, Australia, Canada among others with more than 300 corporates partnerships such as Cyient, Renault-Nissan Technology Business Center India (RNTBCI), TATA Elxsi, Expleo, Segula Technologies to provide job offers to engineering students after the completing the course.

Additionally, Skill-Lync has been on an upward growth trajectory regardless of the pandemic, offering solutions that cater to the upskilling and reskilling aspect, hence it augments the skills needed for engineers to stay relevant in accordance to latest technological disruption across industries.


3. What are the other sectors you feel needs upskilling?

In a country like India having 1.3 billion population, upskilling is required in almost all sectors but mostly it is required in education, tech sectors, healthcare , BFSI, IT, retail and so on. The need for employees to constantly upskill has only steadily increased especially after Covid-19. The lockdown has turned into a necessity because of the sudden rise in online platforms offering upskilling courses.


4. Will Skill-Lync look at expanding its sectors beyond the engineering sector?

We want to dive deep into the engineering sector first and make Skill-Lync a top platform for all engineering sectors that can provide upskilling courses to make students industry ready. There are a few industries which might be our next focus point when it comes to upskilling, but at the moment, we are only looking at core engineering.


5. How has the brand grown over the years?

Over the years, Skill-Lync has expanded globally. The platform till now has upskilled over 30,000 students from 80 countries across India, Middle East, North Africa A (South East Asia), the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. Since inception, we have seen growth, and we want to bring robust results for the next two quarters to work toward our growth playbook. Till now the company has partnered with 350 companies, including Nissan, Renault, Mahindra, and Tata Elxsi, for student placements. If I talk about the target, we want to see 30% of revenue coming from other geographies within the next two years, which currently is at 12%. Covid19 has pushed many more students to look at online resources to skill & upskill themselves. We saw a 20% uptick concerning student interests.


6. How is the company making a dent in India’s $15 billion edtech industry?

There are several driving factors that have helped Skill-Lync stand out in a deeply cluttered ed-tech market. We operate within the higher education segment of the edtech industry that has seen a 75% increase in its user base, with the market size now comparable to other subdivisions such as K-12. Within higher education, Skill-Lync has carved a niche for itself wherein we are reimagining the Indian engineering education ecosystem. Our demand is augmented by the fact that despite being the 4th most opted domain at the undergraduate level in the country, the engineering curriculum & the institutions have a disconnect between what the industry demands and what the students are being taught.


7. Why is there a need to embrace upskilling in the world

The lockdown resulted in a sudden rise in online platforms offering upskilling courses. Many businesses have adopted new trends requiring frequent updates, particularly during the pandemic, encouraging people to upskill and re-skill to stand out.

For instance, the automotive industry is going through a significant change, driven by sustainability and an increasing base of conscious consumers. In addition to our coursework, we offer first-hand experience of building engineering models  from scratch, thus providing a holistic view of the future of the automotive industry. Our main goal was to help the students gain insights into the future of the automotive industry which not only helps them understand challenges but provide the experience in making real products. A team of 10 students and technical engineers had built a full-scale in-house SUV prototype called -Lyncer S1. With this SUV creation, our only aim was to give more practical and hands-on knowledge to the students.


8. What are some of the benefits for Skill-Lync students?

Our courses are designed to make engineers industry-ready across core engineering domains such as mechanical, electrical, civil, computer science, electronics and biomedical engineering. We do a complete industry mapping, identifying the market gaps and the roles that corporates are looking to fill and empanel experts from Fortune 500 companies curating courses that are project-driven, thus offering deep engineering expertise to the students. We provide mock interviews for students before they face the industry experts for the job.  We customise our curriculum to meet the learning outcomes that are specially curated as per the industry demand. We have built an in-house Electric Vehicle to help its students gain insights into the future of the automotive industry. The vehicle was built by a team of 6 in-house experts at Skill-Lync in collaboration with professionals allowing students to gain first-hand experience in building EV and EV prototypes independently.


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