upGrad Raises $185M, Becomes India’s Newest Unicorn at $1.2B Valuation


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upGrad, Asia’s leading online higher education company, has raised $185 million in a continuous funding round led by Temasek, IFC, and IIFL  at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The funding makes upGrad India’s 21st startup that has attained unicorn status in 2021.

upGrad is an upskilling platform for professionals. It offers several courses in data science, software, machine learning, business analytics along with full-fledged bachelor degrees. It does this by tying up with leading universities and colleges in these domains.

The Mumbai-based company is India’s third EdTech unicorn after BYJU’s and Unacademy. It provides rigorous industry-relevant programs designed and delivered in collaboration with world-class faculty and industry. Merging the latest technology, pedagogy, and services, upGrad is creating an immersive learning experience – anytime and anywhere.

upGrad, founded in 2015 by Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Phalgun Kompalli, and Ravijot Chugh, offers higher education courses in collaboration with various universities. It claims to have a million users globally, of which 45,000 are paid learners.

Confirming the latest development, Chairperson and CEO of upGrad Ronnie Screwvala said,

“We are very focused on our path to being in the top 3-5 companies globally in EdTech and serving the 1 billion workforces across the age group of 18 to 60 years. We are pleased with the investor interest ever since we opened up for a fundraiser, and had our maiden raise from Temasek, followed by IFC and IIFL in the last 60 days. We will announce further updates on M&As, and unlocking value as they unfold. Yes, the last value was at $1.2 billion, but as I keep saying, we are not a fan of the tag name unicorn – for us, it is only a means to a much larger goal.”

upGrad is focused on building a great online learning experience by collaborating with the right universities and industry partners. The platform built a strong support system around the learners. Starting with the first program in Entrepreneurship, upGrad has created some of India’s largest online programs to help thousands of professionals achieve their career goals in the areas of data technology and management.

With an 85% program completion rate, a robust tech platform, an outcome-based learning approach, industry-relevant curriculum, strong mentorship, and placement support, upGrad has established its position as the leader in the Indian education system and is well on its way to accomplishing its vision of powering career success for every member of global workforce as their trusted lifelong learning partner.

upGrad’s roster of leading global universities includes Duke Corporate Education (US), Michigan State University (US), Liverpool John Moores University (UK), Deakin Business School (Australia), Swiss School of Business Management, (Geneva), IIT Madras (India), among others. upGrad’s alumni base is employed by Gojek, Paytm, Gartner, Flipkart (Walmart-acquired), Accenture, and E&Y, the company claims.

Last week, the startup acquired Bengaluru-based KnowledgeHut to venture into short-term skilling courses. It also acquired video-based learning platform Impartus in May this year. upGrad had raised $120 million from Temasek in its first external funding in April this year, followed by $40 million from IFC, and now $25 million from India Infoline Finance, raising a total of $185 million in a continuous round.

In 2020, the EdTech unicorn had acquired recruitment and staffing solutions company Rekrut India and Bengaluru-based coaching institute The Gate Academy (TGA).

upGrad has always been promoter-funded with the founder group still owning 70% plus in the company. The company is also said to be in advanced talks for a $400 million fundraise at a valuation of $4 billion.

About the Author

Author: Shalini Pathak

Shalini Pathak Shalini Pathak is a Staff Writer at EdTechReview (ETR) – India’s leading edtech media & community. She has over four years of experience in media, covering different beats. Like all writers she’s an enthusiastic reader first with a passion to create out of the box content, and an ability to write about any topic. As a part of the ETR team, she will cover the latest in the edtech industry with a focus on edtech startup stories and their funding.

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