Poonacha received B.Tech degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from KREC (now known as NITK) Surathkal in 1978, M.Tech and Ph. D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1981 and 1987 respectively. He is a Senior member of IEEE.
He has been working in Signal and Image processing and digital communication areas for the past 24+ years which includes 10 years at IITB and 14 years in industry.
He was a faculty member in the EE Department at IIT Bombay between 1986 and 1996. During that period he taught PG level courses in the area of Digital communications, Adaptive signal processing and Neural Networks and worked as Principal as well as co-investigator on MHRD projects by government of India. He was with Sasken from 1996 to 2002. At Sasken he became Vice President of its R&D division in 2001,responsible for R&D initiatives and patents in the area of 4G wireless, MPEG7 and Software Defined Radio (SDR). He was also a member of the management council at Sasken in 2001. Prior to that, he was the head of 3G wireless program at Sasken responsible for development of 3G protocol stack and baseband. Before joining Epigon he worked as a Senior Technologist at Texas Instruments, Bangalore. He worked as Chief Technology Advisor and Director at Epigon Media Technologies from 2003 to 2011.At Epigon he worked on development of H.264 codec, Worldspace hybrid radio receiver, DAB receiver and OFDM based modem development.