Ed-tech startup UpGrad eyes acquisitions in FY21 to boost growth

Ed-tech startup UpGrad eyes acquisitions in FY21 to boost growth
16 Apr, 2020

Mumbai-based UpGrad Education, which owns an eponymous ed-tech platform, is in the process of acquiring at least two to three startups offering online learning, especially in the higher education space.

UpGrad has set aside $7 million (around Rs 50 crore) to fund these acquisitions, the company said in a statement without divulging further details. It added that some of the discussions are at a primary stage.

“Our specific interest for targeted companies are those that can fast track our ambitions in the degree programs or add a whole new line of online programmes to our existing range such as finance, law or medicine,” Ronnie Screwvala, co-founder and executive chairman of Upgrad said.

UpGrad offers postgraduate and higher education certification courses in data science, technology, management to college students and professionals. The platform has partnered with universities such as Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), BITS Pilani, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad, Deakin University and Liverpool John Moores University. 

Founded in 2015 by Screwvala, Phalgun Kompalli, Rajivot Chugh, and Mayank Kumar, UpGrad claims to have 21,500 paid users. 

Since inception, UpGrad has acquired online job skilling platform Acadview and acqui-hired two startups, online corporate training platform Pyoopil and online community for product managers CohortPlus.

On April 1, UpGrad appointed Byju's former CEO Arjun Mohan as its Chief Executive Officer.

The announcement comes at the time when ed-tech startups remained unscathed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Given that online edtech are few of the sectors that are least affected with the overall slowdown...we think that the non-linear growth via acquisitions would be a good way to go now,” Screwvala said.

Since the lockdown, ed-tech companies have gained traction despite a significant slump in overall funding activity of startups.

In April alone, Vedantu raised $13 million in a Series C round from Beijing-based Legend Capital and Omidyar’s Ohana Holdings and Quality Tutorials-owned online classroom platform Lido Learning closed its Series B funding round at $7.5 million. Lastly, Camp K12 raised $4 million in a seed funding round from Matrix Partners India and SAIF Partners.