Indian edtech firm upGrad to scout for acquisitions after Temasek’s $120m investment

Photo: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Edtech startup upGrad on Monday said it has raised $120 million from Singapore-headquartered investment firm Temasek and that it will utilise the fresh funds for international expansion and acquisitions.

This is the first external funding raised by the edtech company that is in the business of providing higher education. Mumbai-headquartered upGrad has broken even, reporting revenue of Rs1,200 crore for 2020-21. The six-year-old startup now aims to scale up operations to achieve $2 billion in revenues by 2026.

“upGrad plans to use the fresh capital to further strengthen its team, scale its global market operations, bolster its technology and product capabilities, pursue M&A (merger and acquisition) opportunities, expand graduate and post-graduate degree portfolio in India, and scale up operations to achieve its $2 billion revenue goal by 2026, thereby reinforcing its position as a global higher-edtech leader emerging from India,” it said.

Entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar and Phalgun Kompalli owned UpGrad offers job-linked online degrees, diplomas and certificate courses in collaboration with top Indian and global universities. It has over 100 courses and partners universities like the Michigan State University (US), Liverpool John Moores University (UK), Deakin Business School (Australia), Duke Corporate Education (US), Swiss School of Business Management, (Geneva), IIT Madras, IIM Kozhikode, among others.

“We welcome Temasek in our mission to power career success for each and every member of the global workforce as their trusted LifeLongLearning partner and drive meaningful career outcomes. This capital will further fuel our commitment towards global expansion as well as deeper India penetration, as we march forward with our goal of making India the teaching capital of the world,” the three co-founders said in a joint statement.

Credit Suisse acted as the exclusive financial advisor to upGrad, and Rajaram Legal acted as legal advisor.

After the disruptions caused by covid-19, online education has picked up in India and worldwide, giving a fillip to edtech players both in mainstream and ancillary education space. This, in turn, had given a boost to upGrad and the company recorded a revenue growth of 100% last year. It claims that it has garnered 1 million “learners across 50+ countries.”

The start-up earlier this month had said it was aiming at 25% revenue growth in the April-June quarter of 2021-22.

Indian online education market has been in a sweet spot over the past couple of years, and more so after covid-19 disruptions, and firms like UpGrad, Byju’s have been doing brisk business. The Centre has announced enabling policies over the last few months for formal online education in the higher education space.

The article was first published on livemint.com.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.