March 8, 2018
Skyepack, offering alternatives to college textbooks, receives up to $814,000 in incentives to create jobs in Indiana
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Skyepack Inc., a Purdue-affiliated company that offers an affordable alternative to college textbooks, announced plans Thursday to expand operations in Indiana, creating up to 51 new positions by 2022.
Brady Kalb, Skyepack’s CEO, said the digital content curation and delivery platform company, which recently moved into the Kurz Purdue Technology Center in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, will receive up to $814,000 in incentives.
“These incentives will be very helpful as we move into our next hiring phase,” Kalb said. “It also will help with employee training.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Skyepack up to $725,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.
"Indiana is committed to fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem where companies like Skyepack can scale up their business and create jobs for Hoosiers," said Elaine Bedel, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. "It's evident that Skyepack continues to find a winning solution here in Indiana, taking advantage of our state's business-friendly environment, growing tech sector and skilled workforce supported by world-class universities."
Skyepack is receiving $89,000 from Tippecanoe County.
“Tippecanoe County is honored to be able to partner with Skyepack and offer them job training funds for their expansion,” said Tom Murtaugh, president of the Tippecanoe County Commissioners.
To support increased demand and planned growth, Skyepack plans to invest nearly $295,000 in its Tippecanoe County operations and create up to 51 new, high-wage jobs. The company has already added three team members toward its goal and is hiring for positions in management, product development, sales and marketing. Interested applicants may apply online at https://www.linkedin.com/company/skyepack/
Skyepack was created with the goal of cutting textbook costs for students at universities nationwide by creating a web and mobile platform that is more engaging and helpful to learning than other options, and by providing services to faculty to help them break away from the traditional textbook ecosystem. The goal was to create a digital tool that could deliver custom instructional material that used media beyond just static text and images. That includes interactive features, video, embedded course discussions, customized HTML, student feedback and question-and-answer functions. The average course material price is $35.
“We work with faculty to first understand their course, what they are teaching and what the key objectives are. Then we learn about their assessment strategy, the teaching methodologies they are using and other aspects of the class,” Kalb said. “We also work to understand the needs of students. The needs of the students at Purdue, for example, are different from the needs of students at Ivy Tech. So we take all of those things into account.”
Skyepack, which was nominated for a TechPoint MIRA Award that recognizes the “Best Tech in Indiana,” helps make high-quality education more affordable with an innovative approach, Kalb said.
Skyepack stays in touch with faculty and can make changes when necessary.
“They might say, ‘Hey, this great discovery just happened and we want to include a paragraph.’ We’ll add that for them,” he said.
Skyepack has instructional designers who work directly with a faculty member to help them transition their courses from using expensive traditional textbooks to something more engaging and affordable for students while professors can tailor material to their needs and retain copyrights to their materials.
Skyepack works with traditional face-to-face classes, with online classes or blended classes.
Skyepack curates its content from four sources:
- Open educational resources material freely available for anyone to use.
- Content created by the instructor, which could include textbooks, PowerPoint slides and other material.
- Content Skyepack custom creates for a class with its team of writers, copy editors, media designers and videographers.
- Copyrighted material from third parties that Skyepack licenses.
“There’s a lot of frustration with the traditional textbook publishers because faculty need to re-think their courses every time a new edition is released, which is often every two years. They hear from students and parents about the rising costs of textbooks and they hear from college administrators who hear the complaints. The professors really don’t have many good options. That’s where we come in.”
Kalb said that working with Skyepack allows professors to spend more time on instruction and research, rather than wasting valuable time dealing with a traditional publisher.
Skyepack currently works with instructors at more than 60 campuses across the country, including Texas A&M, California State, Illinois, and Iowa State.
About Purdue Research Park
The Purdue Research Park is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation and is the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The Purdue Research Park manages the Purdue Technology Centers in five sites across the state of Indiana with locations in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The more than 260 companies located in the park network employ about 5,000 people. In 2016, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities co-named the Purdue Research Park a top recipient for an Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about leasing space in the Purdue Research Park, contact 765-588-3470 or click Purdue Research Park.
Purdue Research Foundation contact: Tom Coyne, 765-588-1044, email@example.com
Sources: Brady Kalb, 765-323-8568, firstname.lastname@example.org
Indiana Economic Development Corporation: Abby Gras, 317-232-8845, email@example.com