Temasek-Backed Online Education Firm UpGrad Earmarks $250 Million for Deals – Bloomberg

Online education provider UpGrad is allocating $250 million for acquisitions in the coming months to speed up global expansion, one among a slew of India-born edtech startups setting their sights on international markets.

The company will target digital learning providers with mentors and coaches as well as immersive short-form learning startups in markets like Indonesia and Vietnam and across Africa, it said Wednesday in a release. Two acquisitions will be announced in the next 60 days.

UpGrad, which specializes in higher education and upskilling courses, is nearing $4 billion in valuation, Indian newspapers have reported. That would be a jump of approximately seven times from April, when it first got external funds, raising $160 million from Singapore-based Temasek Holdings Pte and IFC Corp. UpGrad representatives declined to comment on its valuation or fundraising plans.

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India’s edtech firms are expanding to new markets as the pandemic led to a boom in online learning from regular school classes to specialized professional courses. Mumbai-based UpGrad said it has over two-thirds of the online higher-education market in India for working professionals.

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Photographer: Sujit Jaiswal/AFP/Getty Images

UpGrad was founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala, who pioneered cable television in India in the 1980s and then built a unicorn acquired by Walt Disney Co. Screwvala, 64, and his founding team own more than two-thirds of UpGrad. The startup is aiming for “an integrated, connected model in higher education across multiple geographies,” Screwvala said in the release.

The company said its target customers are the world’s more than 1 billion knowledge workers and 250 million higher education enrollees. It offers more than 100 courses, including some in collaboration with universities such as Michigan State and IIT Madras. Its courses have been accessed by more than a million users in over 50 countries.

— With assistance by Anna Edwards, and Laura Wright