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upGrad joins unicorn club with funds from IFC, IIFL

upGrad joins unicorn club with funds from IFC, IIFL
(From left) Co-founders Phalgun Kompalli, Mayank Kumar and Ronnie Screwvala  |  Photo Credit: upGrad
9 Aug, 2021

Ronnie Screwvala’s UpGrad Education, which focuses on higher education and imparting specialist skills to older Indians, has become the third edtech to join the unicorn club.  

The edtech said on Monday it has raised an additional $65 million (Rs 482 crore) from International Finance Corporation (IFC) and IIFL.   

This brings to a close upGrad’s ongoing round of funding at $185 million (Rs 1,373.7 crore) in equity, led by Singapore-based sovereign fund Temasek in April.  

The funding values upGrad at $1.2 billion--the third edtech unicorn to enter the startup unicorn club after Byju’s and Unacademy. Unicorns are startups valued at $1 billion or more. 

The company’s valuation has doubled within 60 days since it raised the first tranche.   

A statement issued by the company said it was on track to raise an additional $400 million at a valuation of $4 billion to fuel expansion.

“We are very focused on our path to being in the top 3-5 companies globally in edech and serving the 1 billion workforce across the age group of 18 to 60 years. We are pleased with the investor interest ever since we opened up for a fundraise, and had our maiden raise from Temasek, followed by IFC and IIFL in the last 60 days,” Ronnie Screwvala, chairperson and cofounder at upGrad, said in the statement.  

He added, “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.”  

Founded in 2015 by Screwvala, Mayank Kumar and Phalgun Kompalli, this round is the first external equity capital raised by the company.   

It is a promoter funded entity, with the founders continuing to hold over 70% stakes in the company.  

The professional skilling platform has been bullish on its acquisition strategy to grow its user base and adjacencies in other verticals including test-prep through the acquisition of The Gate Academy, recruitment and staffing platform Rekrut in 2020.   

upGrad has announced setting aside $250 million for mergers and acquisitions in July. It acquired US based KnowledgeHut earlier this month for global expansion.  

Edtech firms have been at the forefront of raising funds and driving M&A in the Indian startup ecosystem in 2020 and continued growth in 2021.