SmartBridge: Bridging the Gap between Academia & Industry

  Amarender Katkam,    Founder

Amarender Katkam, Founder

Passion! It is what drives people to do the extreme, invokes a strong feeling of enthusiasm for something. And it is this passion to teach people, educate them about inventions, and motivate them to think different that fuelled the thought behind instituting SmartBridge. After seven years of his professional journey as a Control Engineer (5 Years in Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. + 2 Years in PL Engineering), Amarender Katkam discovered that there is a huge gap between the industry expectation and the readiness of the student to deliver the work. After understanding various methods followed by foreign universities to bridge this gap, he finalized a business model to address the same old problem in a different way. This marked the beginning of SmartBridge. Later to scale the business in 2015, it included few HNI’s to the company and built a strong team to deliver the programs in various colleges across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

SmartBridge functions with the core objective of bridging the
existing gaps between prevailing industry standards and what the academics offer to the graduates while passing out of university. It offers suitable skill deployment and training to the young talent before boarding their first job. The business models revolve around the conceptsof Learning by Doing, Experiential Learning Methods, Innovation Quotient, amongst others. “As the industry is moving towards emerging technologies IoT, AI, Data Science, Robotics, we picked up IoT as our immediate technology domain to build the skills,” says Amarender. SmartBridge has trained more than 4000 students, 200 faculty members during the year 2016. It has trained more than 6000 students, 400 faculty members on IoT during the year 2017 and more than 10000 students on emerging technologies during 2018.

Innovative Programmes
For the students of engineering, the company offers TekHack - a three day program in which first 1.5 days students undergo training on respective technology and next 24 hours they develop the solutions to problem statements in the Hackathon model, Rapid Prototyping Event - a five day program with three days training on technology and 36 hours of Hackathon to build deployable solutions to the problem statements, Winter & Summer Practice Schools to build tech profiles to the students and NextGen Labs, a curriculum for establishing the emerging technology labs in the campus and enable them with training the faculty.
“In the last academic year, more than 10k students participated in our programs. Many of them have cleared their technical interviews with companies; few of them have got placed in their choice of the domain (IoT/AI/ML) because of their extensive training through our programs. Many students have won prizes in hackathons organized across India and globally. We have motivated few students who had shown interest in building innovative products mentored them to start their own startups,” he informs.

The Growth Story
Since inception, SmartBridge has registered a growth of 200 per cent every year. It started with few colleges in Hyderabad and is now connected to more than 275 engineering colleges across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. It has direct business from reputed institutions, deemed universities, state technological universities.

In the coming years, the team has strategized to get repetitive business from its customers – both in the B2B model and B2C model. “Creating programs in line with academic requirements will help us to sell our services easily to our customers. We are expanding our footprint across various states by organizing the hackathons on emerging technologies, working with various startups and companies to get problem statements and connecting them to the student developers,” he concludes.