upGrad Success Story- India's Largest Online Higher Education Company

upGrad Success Story- India's Largest Online Higher Education Company
upGrad success story

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations.

With exponential growth in the number of internet and smartphone users in India, turning online to get one's tasks done is now mainstream. Education too falls under this umbrella. Online tutoring has many benefits such as economical courses, flexible schedules, and 24/7 access to get doubts and queries cleared. This has made online learning popular among all age groups. upGrad, a Mumbai-based startup, is bringing the best out of the online education segment.

upGrad has tied up with world-class institutes to facilitate access to career-oriented courses and assist Indian students and working professionals who want to upgrade their careers.

StartupTalky interviewed upGrad founder Mayank Kumar to know how the startup was founded, and how it is helping students and professionals to pursue higher education online. Read on to know about upGrad's business model, revenue model, founders, challenges, funding, growth, and the story of its success.

upGrad - Company Highlights

Startup Name upGrad
Headquarters Mumbai
Founders Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Phalgun Kompalli, and Ravijot Chugh
Sector EdTech
Founded 2015
Parent Organization UpGrad Education Pvt. Ltd
Website upGrad.com

upGrad - Startup Journey
upGrad - About
upGrad - Industry Details
upGrad - Founders And Team
upGrad - How it Started?
upGrad - Mission and Vision
upGrad - Name, Tagline, And Logo
upGrad - Courses
upGrad - Business Model And Revenue Model
upGrad - Funding And Investors
upGrad - User Acquisition
upGrad - Startup Challenges
upGrad - Competitors
upGrad - Acquisitions
upGrad - ESOPs
upGrad - Advisors And Mentors
upGrad - Revenue And Growth
upGrad - Partnership
upGrad - Campaign
upGrad - Layoff
upGrad - Awards
upGrad - Future Plans


upGrad - Startup Journey

upGrad Startup Story
upGrad Startup Story

upGrad - About

upGrad Education Pvt. Ltd. is an online higher education company that provides programs in the areas of data, technology, and management to college students, first-time job seekers, and working professionals and empowers them to reach their peak potential. These programs are designed in collaboration with top-notch universities like IIIT-B, BITS Pilani, MICA, Cambridge Judge Business School, and many others.

To enhance the learning experience further, a comprehensive ecosystem has been built which includes, but is not restricted to, one-on-one mentoring, peer-to-peer learning, industry networking, and expert career guidance. This ensures a holistic approach to gaining the maximum out of the programs offered.

"We, at upGrad, had always believed in the potential of online education being able to transform careers. Hence, the development and adherence to the company’s vision statement since its inception in 2015 - ‘Building careers of tomorrow’," said Ronnie Screwvala, upGrad founder.

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upGrad - Industry Details

As per an IBEF report, the higher education market in India stands at $102 billion. If we consider the online higher education market, it stands at $247 million and is expected to grow by 8X to reach $1.96 billion in 2021. Techavio’s industry research report pegs the online education market in India to be worth about $18 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of around 20% over five years.

The total enrollment in higher education in India has been estimated to be 34.6 million, the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education is 24.5% for the age group of 18-23 years, and distance enrollment constitutes about 11.05% of the total enrollment in higher education programs. The perception of recruiters towards online degrees in India has also changed since UGC permitted eligible universities to offer degree courses online. This decision is a revolutionary step toward propelling the online education sector in India.


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upGrad - Founders And Team

upGrad learning platform was founded in 2015 by Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Phalgun Kompalli, and Ravijot Chugh.

upGrad Founders
upGrad Founders

Ronnie Screwvala | Co-founder & Chairman, upGrad

Ronnie Screwvala is the chairman of upGrad. Ronnie is a well-known personality in the Indian television industry and the founder of UTV Group (now known as Walt Disney India), founder trustee of Swades Foundation, founder of Unilazer Ventures, Board of Advisor AIESEC India, and the founder of RSVP Movies. He has been featured on Esquire's List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century and ranked 78 among the 100 most influential people in the world on the Time 100 (compiled by Time Magazine, 2009). He was also listed among 25 Asia’s Most Powerful People by Fortune Magazine and titled the Jack Warner of India by Newsweek.

Mayank Kumar | Co-founder & MD, upGrad

Mayank Kumar is the Managing Director and leads the overall operations at upGrad. Before his upGrad stint, Mayank was the VP of Education at Bertelsmann- Europe’s largest media and education conglomerate—where he oversaw the education strategy and its multi-million dollar investments in India. He also served as a Board Member of iNurture—India’s number-one provider of industry-specific academic programs.

Mayank holds a Bachelor's degree from IIT Delhi and an MBA from the Indian School of Business. He received the coveted BWDISRUPT 40-under-40 Achiever of the Year Award'17 by BW Businessworld. Before joining Bertelsmann, Mayank was a Senior Principal at The Parthenon Group where he advised clients in the education sector on market potential, growth and market entry strategies, investment decisions, revenue & profit uplift strategies. He participated in deals worth USD 1 billion flowing into the education sector and worked with clients from China, South-East Asia, Middle East India, and South America. He also worked at the Tata Strategic Group, advising Tata’s strategic direction.

Ravijot Chugh | Co-founder, upGrad

Ravijot Chugh heads career services, product, design, content, delivery, and student success divisions at upGrad. Ravijot was at Housing.com as a product lead and then at the Parthenon Group where he advised multiple companies and private equity investors on due diligence, market-entry, and growth strategy in the education sector of emerging markets across Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. He also co-founded a social travel startup called 36hrs. is headquartered in San Francisco. Ravijot Chugh holds a Bachelors's degree in Computer Science from IIT-Delhi and was part of the Forbes Asia 30 under 30 cohort of 2018.

Phalgun Kompalli | Co-founder, upGrad

Phalgun Kompalli is the head of sales and marketing at upGrad. He heads university partnerships and customer acquisition in addition to sales and marketing. Before UpGrad, Phalgun was a Principal at The Parthenon Group—an education strategy-consulting firm—where he was involved in advising large education conglomerates and investment funds on their growth and investment strategies in the education sector. Phalgun has done significant work in the field of higher education and technology-enabled learning across India, the US, Brazil, Africa, and Southeast Asia. He worked at Opera Solutions before his Parthenon stint. Opera Solutions is an analytics firm providing consultation to Fortune 500 companies on their revenue and cost optimization initiatives through data analytics. He completed his Bachelors in Technology from IIT Delhi.

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UpGrad Team and Workforce

upGrad has a workforce of 3800+ employees. The company has strengthened its senior leadership team to capitalize on potential opportunities in the online education sector.

Over the last two years, the startup has developed a holistic digital education experience for working professionals and college students for upskilling and reskilling. We are happy that the new senior leadership brings diverse and rich learnings for upGrad to unlock the immense potential in the online education space and understand the Indian learners. We will continue this growth momentum, offering innovative opportunities for the working professionals and students to equip themselves with the new-age skills for the workforce of the future - Ronnie Screwvala & Mayank Kumar, Co-founders of upGrad.

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upGrad - Work Culture

upGrad’s vision revolves around ‘building careers of tomorrow’. The learning experience it delivers is at the core of its business. The upGrad team constantly strives for excellence and has a high degree of passion and pride in whatever it does. Some of the main highlights of upGrad's work culture are:

  • It is committed to building the careers of tomorrow: People working with the company have a sense of job satisfaction and a feeling of doing something special since their contribution has the power to improve the customer/learner’s life and career.
  • It supports innovation: As an ed-tech company, upGrad believes that technology is the future. That's why the employees are constantly motivated to take up innovative initiatives across various functions.
  • Open culture: The leadership team is highly approachable, the structure is flat, and employees are encouraged to take up initiatives.
  • Promote upskilling: Being a company that endorses upskilling, upGrad spurs its employees to take up its courses at discounted rates for staying relevant with changing times.

The key traits of upGrad's work culture are centered on:

  • Long-term thinking with clinical execution.
  • Empathy and impact.
  • Accountability and ownership.
  • Delivering excellence.    
"We at upGrad always look for passion in an individual, be it for work or outside work. The individual may be passionate about running, social work, movies, music, traveling, etc. For us, passion demonstrates how driven an individual is & how diligently they follow their passion," said Mayank Kumar, co-founder of upGrad.

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upGrad History - How it Started?

Mayank has vast experience in the education industry, both as an advisor and an investor. He observed the benefits of low infrastructure costs and a large student base in reducing the price of procuring education via the online channel. These factors led to online courses being 53% cheaper than the offline alternatives. Owing to the flexibility of time, schedule, etc., online education is a convenient mode of learning. As a result, many online education companies have sprung up to cater to the huge scope of online courses.

Although there were companies in the K-12 segment and platforms providing MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), none of them provided formal education coupled with a comprehensive learning experience. Mayank foresaw that the requirement for online learning would be much higher for technical certifications given the increase in the working population at that time. Again, none of the existing companies completely tapped into the online higher education space. This led to the idea behind upGrad which was subsequently launched in 2015.

“We first built a content team which has now grown by 5 folds. They created subject matter from scratch, collecting and collating industry trends and university curriculum. We quickly developed a tech team that focuses purely on the smooth functioning of our online platform. Since then we have always focused on building a great online learning experience by collaborating with the right universities like BITS Pilani, IIIT-Bangalore, Cambridge Judge Business School of Executive Education, etc. We also have collaborations with some of the industry's best such as Google, Flipkart, Gramener to name a few in order to create a cohesive and practical learning experience,” says upGrad owner Mayank Kumar, explaining the inception phase of the company.

Starting with its first program in entrepreneurship, upGrad has created some of India’s largest online programs to help thousands of professionals and college students achieve their career goals in the areas of data, technology, and management.

upGrad - Mission and Vision

"Making our learners achieve their desired outcomes," says upGrad mission.

upGrad vision - "Powering career success for every member of the global workforce as their trusted lifelong learning partner."


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“Interestingly, we had registered the company under the name of UEducation when we started. Very soon we conducted an exercise with an external agency to determine our brand name and logo. Through that exercise, we came upon the name - upGrad,” adds Mayank.

According to Mayank, two key reasons behind choosing the name 'upGrad' were:

  1. It had a smart twist.
  2. It had a nice connotation to the word “graduation”.

upGrad is all about upgrading lives and careers by offering graduation and post-graduation programs.

upGrad logo
upGrad logo
Narrating the concept of the company's logo, Mayank says “Development of the brand logo was an interesting exercise too. While we looked at multiple options - we liked the existing one where G was in upper-case and highlighted. The shape of the ‘G’ resembles the refresh icon. Hence the logo represents that upGrad is about enabling a refresh for your life and career.”

upGrad - Courses

The online courses offered by the upGrad learning platform include MBA, IT Courses, Data Science, Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, Software, Blockchain, Insurance-related courses, and more. upGrad has a structured educational program for every phase of a person's career right from college to professional employment.

In line with its vision of ‘building careers of tomorrow’, this Mumbai-based startup inspires college students to take the initial steps towards their professional journey. It focuses on getting them job-ready. The courses prepare students to crack the recruitment processes for different roles through aptitude training, resume building, and mock interview prep sessions. Along with the paid/premium courses that upGrad offers, where the company extends numerous degrees and certifications from a wide variety of courses across the country and abroad, it also offers numerous upGrad free courses ranging from Data Science, Technology to Management.

upGrad has also launched programs with a guaranteed job for those who are seeking their first employment stint. The program offers a guaranteed job upon successful completion of the program. On the other hand, working professionals have the advantage of going back to the university through upGrad's immersive learning platform without the need to quit their jobs. On course completion, the learners become alumni of the partner university. They also get to attend on-campus hackathons and graduation ceremonies.

upGrad also provides solutions to enterprises seeking the upskilling of their employees. In FY 19-20, upGrad entered into a partnership with 2 of India’s leading IT services companiesInfosys and Wipro. These are multi-year deals and have a strong repeat element. With this, the company has established a strong position in the enterprise ecosystem.

The upGrad team has also introduced a concept called 'upGrad basecamp'. This is a unique concept wherein the learners get a chance to network and engage in peer-to-peer learning through offline meetups. They also receive career support which involves resume building, career landscaping, mock interviews, interview guarantees, and more. The ‘Just in Time’ Interview Prep by upGrad helps learners with last-minute interview preparation, guiding them through key concepts before interviews, and mentoring them through the joining process.

A key USP for upGrad is its mentorship; the very fact that the startup spends money on mentoring while others find a course and put it online. Some other differentiators are its tech platform, interactive interface, and content—all of which have been created from scratch by its team.

The company has also teamed up with Agora.io, the leading voice, video, and live streaming platform, to launch upGrad Live platform. It is built to replicate a real-time classroom learning experience for enrolled students by providing greater interactivity, real-time doubt resolution, in-class concept checks, and session analytics to gauge live session performances.


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upGrad - Business Model And Revenue Model

upGrad is largely built on a direct B2C model of business wherein the consumer enrolls in the program (post receiving an admit) and pays upfront for the enrollment. For its enterprise business, the company receives payment from companies for training its employees.

upGrad’s program pricing reflects its commitment towards getting students placed. 50% of the program fees are collected from the learner only if they get placed after the program's completion. This pricing strategy is the first of its kind in India.

upGrad - Funding And Investors

The company has raised $668.2 million till now in 7 funding rounds, with the most recent round on March 29, 2023, totaling $30 million from investor Ronnie Screwvala.

Here are all the details of the 7 funding rounds that UpGrad has seen so far:

Date Series Amount Investors
March 29, 2023 Venture Round $30 million Ronnie Screwvala
August 8, 2022 Venture Round $210 million ETS Global, Bodhi Tree and Kaizen Management Advisors
June 16, 2022 Venture Round $225 million Lupa Systems, Educational Testing Service.
August 9, 2021 Venture Round $65 million IFC, IIFL and Temasek
April 26, 2021 Venture Round $120 million Temasek Holdings
April 14, 2021 Venture Round $9.3 million Unilazer Ventures
August 12, 2020 Debt Financing $6.69 million IIFL Asset Management

upGrad - User Acquisition

For the first 100 customers, upGrad used several offline events to promote its initiative. The founders personally spoke to the learners. Prospective learners had to share their video profiles and SOPs (Statement of Purpose) before enrolling. They were then given 2 weeks of learning content for free. Only after experiencing the free content was the payment option made available to them.

“We had expected that initially, 50-60 learners would enroll, but 100 ended up enrolling in the program. It was one of the most exhilarating and humbling experiences for us,” recalls Mayank.  

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upGrad - Startup Challenges

Like all businesses, upGrad encountered multiple challenges. The most significant one was the stigma surrounding the credibility of online education. There is a general perception that online education is frivolous. upGrad had to prove otherwise through its product, customer experience, and success stories; and this was a tough job.

Getting recruiters to accept that online education could be as rigorous as offline education was the next hurdle. Finally, when it came to product pricing, upGrad priced itself at a discount to offline competitors, but at a premium to other online competitors. It was an uphill task to explain the value proposition of the programs to the learners.

“The entire task of building a higher education brand is made more arduous by the prevailing consumer mindset around education. Education in India is considered by many as a time-bound, one-time activity, post completion of which one starts working and does not go back to studying again. It is a mammoth task to change the mindset of the people by convincing them that education has no age limit, lifelong learning is the new mantra and need of the hour for all” - Mayank.

upGrad - Competitors

The top competitors of upGrad are -

However, there are certain features that set upGrad apart from its competitors. One of the main USPs is the hand-holding provided to each learner. This practice is called ‘student mentorship’ and the team behind it is known as ‘Student Success’ at upGrad.


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upGrad - Acquisitions

upGrad's total acquisition count is 16 companies to date. upGrad acquired Centum Learning in an undisclosed deal, which is the latest acquisition on September 15, 2022.

Here's the table mentioning all the acquisitions that upGrad has seen so far.

Acquired Date Price
Centum Learning September 15, 2022 -
Exampur August 1, 2022 -
Harappa Education July 22, 2022 $37.54 million
WOLVES India July 14, 2022 -
INSOFE May 2, 2022 $33 million
Work Better January 10, 2022 Undisclosed
Talentedge December 6, 2021 Undisclosed
Global Study Partners November 29, 2021 Undisclosed
KnowledgeHut August 3, 2021 Undisclosed
Impartus Innovations May 24, 2021 $20.22 million
Rekrut India December 15, 2020 Undisclosed
The Gate Academy November 24, 2020 Undisclosed
CohortPlus July 4, 2019 Undisclosed
AcadView October 29, 2018 Undisclosed
Pyoopil Education Technologies Pvt Ltd October 17, 2016 Undisclosed

upGrad - ESOPs

upGrad conducted its maiden ESOP on July 13, 2021, and in it, the company promised the liquidity of an amount close to $29.5 Mn (Rs 220 crores). The maiden ESOP of upGrad has formed a large ESOP pool of around 13% of the enlarged equity base and is planned to benefit both the early and promising team members of the company. The inclusive ESOP scheme boasts of having over 600 team members, who share the growth story of the company, consisting of 37 early team members.

The company further increased its employee stock option program (ESOPs) pool by 28% in the middle of November. upGrad, which has earlier spoken of 17,25,810 options (UPGRAD Education-Employee Stock Option (New) Scheme, 2015) has now made it 22,25,810. This also resulted in lifting the pool’s value by 29%, to Rs 427 crore, which was last reported at Rs 331 crore.

UpGrad's new ESOP options are estimated to be valued at Rs 244 crore ($30 million) according to Fintrackr, while the overall value of the company's employee shares is roughly Rs 2,058 crore ($260 million)  as of reported news in March 2023.

upGrad - Advisors And Mentors

Emphasizing the importance of knowledgeable advisors for an entrepreneur, Mayank says, “There are many acquaintances who have been helping me, guiding me as I go along the journey. As an entrepreneur, you tend to dive deep into execution and thoughts, thereby sometimes failing to look at the bigger picture. It is always good to meet with well-wishers, bounce off ideas and get an outside-in perspective.”

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upGrad - Revenue And Growth

In a short span of around 5 years, the startup claimed to have onboarded over 21,500 paid learners and has impacted more than 370K individuals globally, making it India’s largest online higher-education company based on gross revenue generated from the Indian market in FY18-19.

In the period when the impact of COVID-19 was at its peak, upGrad onboarded over 100 colleges and universities onto its platform to pave the way for blended online learning as the future of education.

upGrad has been successful in achieving its target unicorn status on August 9, 2021, by raising around $185 million in a round led by Temasek, IIFL, and IFC at a valuation of $1.2 billion.

Here are some of the prominent growth highlights of upGrad:

  • The company is an ed-tech unicorn and stands as a competitor of the highest-valued Edtech company in India, Byju's
  • upGrad has witnessed a 100% growth at the beginning of FY21
  • The company also has over 45,000 paid students
  • It has crossed a milestone of acquiring 1 million learners in just 5 years of its operations
  • upGrad claims to have 10,000 graduates in 2022.
  • upGrad has 300 direct global university partners as of FY23.
  • It has 20,000 recruitment partners and 30,000 corporate partners.
  • The company claims to have provided learning to 7 million students in more than 100 countries.
  • The company's valuation is $2.25 billion.
  • As per upGrad website, it has provided jobs in 10,000+ companies.

UpGrad launched UpGrad Foundation

UpGrad has announced the launch of UpGrad Foundation on April 4, 2022, which is a philanthropic initiative of the company and will serve as a non-profit arm of the edtech company. As per the recent reports, the company has already devoted Rs 50 crore to train the teachers, support decent mentorship and coaching, and conduct career counselling sessions, scholarships, internships, and online student exchange programs.

Financials

upGrad operating revenue has increased from Rs 679 crore in FY21 to Rs 679 crore in FY22, while company losses have increased from Rs 211 crore in FY21 to Rs 627 crore in FY22.

upGrad Finanacials
upGrad Finanacials

upGrad Expenses

upGrad total expenses increased from Rs 514 crore in FY21 to Rs 1,300 crore in FY22.

Expenses FY21-FY22 FY21 FY22
Advertisement promotion Rs 205 crore Rs 424 crore
Employee benefit expenses Rs 161 crore Rs 383 crore
University fees Rs 47 crore Rs 126 crore
Information technology expenses Rs 13 crore Rs 49 crore
Legal and professional fees Rs 12 crore Rs 43 crore
Content delivery cost Rs 37 crore Rs 124 crore
Others Rs 39 crore Rs 151 crore

EBITDA

The company's financial performance in FY21 and FY22 is worrying. It had a poor EBITDA margin of -58.72% in FY21, which deteriorated to -85.12% in FY22. Per rupee of revenue throughout the two years, operating expenses grew from Rs 1.57 in FY21 to Rs 1.91 in FY22.

FY21-FY22 FY21 FY22
EBITDA Margin -58.72% -85.12%
Expense/Rs of operation Revenue Rs 1.57 Rs 1.91
ROCE - -308.91%


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upGrad - Partnership

upGrad has signed Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador

upGrad has announced that its brand ambassador would be none other than the Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan. The veteran actor will help lift the brand value of upGrad with the help of exclusive endorsements and advertising of the services of the platform and will emphasize the necessity of ‘lifelong learning’ for everyone.

Startup India Learning Program

In 2017, upGrad in collaboration with 'Invest India' developed the 'Startup India Learning Program'. 'Startup India Learning Program' is a free online entrepreneurship course by Startup India.

The approach of attracting consumers also included partnerships with entrepreneurship-focused publications to spread the word around. For increasing the customer base, they focused on some subject-specific channels to attract learners. It partnered with universities to launch the next set of programs. Those partnerships also helped scale the existing programs.  

upGrad has tie-ups with the following educational institutes:

  • International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-B).
  • Birla Institute of Technology and Science.
  • Pilani (BITS Pilani).
  • MICA.
  • Duke Corporate Education (Duke CE).
  • Cambridge Judge Business School.
  • Institute of Management Technology (IMT Ghaziabad).
  • HDFC Life for insurance-related courses.
  • IIT Madras, for certification course on Machine Learning and Cloud.

NITTE (Deemed to be University)

In order to help B.Tech students with the additional Full Stack Development (FSD) Specialization to power their skill competencies, upGrad and NITTE (Deemed to be University), Mangalore have launched a partnershiped in May, 2023.

JIS University

To offer a Master of Business Administration in Digital Marketing, JIS University and upGrad Campus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August, 2023.

Mumba Masters

upGrad partnership with Mumba partners in June, 2023 and with this partnership they will entry into the sports market is an effort to further develop and increase the brand's presence on a worldwide basis.

upGrad - Campaign

upGrad Ad-Campaign

upGrad - Star India Deal

upGrad has signed up for a high-value deal with Star India. This enabled upGrad to run its ad-campaign "Sirf Naam ki Nahin, Kaam ki Degree" across television and Hotstar (OTT platform) throughout the IPL 2020 (Indian Premiere League). The move was initiated to expedite the adoption of technology and online education.

This is upGrad’s first major sports association and the first onboarding of an ed-tech player on Dream IPL 2020.

“IPL is the most opportune occasion to reach out to individuals reminding them about the urgency to upskill and prepare themselves for the forthcoming competitive world. Our strategic partnership with Star will enable us with the right platform, thereby helping us reach out to a larger set of audience residing in the remotest corners of Bharat,” said Arjun Mohan, CEO, upGrad.

In 2019, upGrad unveiled its first ad campaign featuring actor Vicky Kaushal. The film breaks the myth of online education being ineffective by showcasing how impactful the online education space is and that it is as good as traditional offline education.

upGrad Campaign

The second campaign was based on the insight that Indian working professionals are in a state of inertia where they feel that they do not need to go back to learning once they have a job. These films ought to make customers realize that they have no choice but to learn and upskill themselves to remain relevant in today’s day and time. The campaigns shed light upon upGrad's unique online power learning approach and demonstrated its influence along with the role it can play in the positive transformation of an individual's career. It further intends to establish the fact that in this fast-changing world of technology, new-age skills at the workplace are coveted and that upskilling is a necessity.

upGrad - Layoff

Harappa Education, which upGrad acquired, laid off 30% of its staff in the first round of layoffs that took place in July 2022.

According to several press sources, UpGrad has let go of 60 employees about 30% of its workforce. In March 2023, the startup ecosystem experienced layoffs due to a lack of venture financing.

upGrad - Awards

Being a reputed name in the space of online education, upGrad has been recognized and awarded by many prestigious bodies.

  • In 2016, it was selected as the official education partner for the Government of India’s ‘Start-up India’ learning program. Through the program, upGrad offers entrepreneurship-based courses in 2 languages—Hindi and English—to the budding entrepreneurs of India.
  • In 2017, Mayank Kumar, the co-founder and CEO of upGrad, was recognized as the Achiever of the Year by BW Disrupt (Business World) at its 40 under 40 events.
  • In 2017, the startup was featured in the list of ‘Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in India’ by Fast Company.
  • The company received the ‘Best Education Brands’ award by the Economic Times and made it to LinkedIn’s ‘Top 25 Startups’ in 2018.
  • Two of the co-founders, Ravijot Chugh and Phalgun Kompalli, are listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30 class of 2018.
  • In 2018, upGrad’s Machine Learning Program - PG Diploma in Machine Learning and AI in association with IIIT Bangalore, was ranked as the #1 Course on Artificial Intelligence in India by Analytics India Magazine.
  • The company has also been awarded the ‘Best Tech for Education’ by IAMAI in 2019.
  • The company won the Best Excellence in Learning Award from Brandon Hall Group in 2021.
  • upGrad won Best Advanced in Creating a Learning Strategy in 2022 by Brandon Hall Group.
  • Company won Learning Provider of the Year Siver  winer in 2022.

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upGrad - Future Plans

As part of upGrad's strategic initiative, the company has declared in April 2020, with an aim to increase the learners' headcount and revenue, that it will focus on 4 major strategic initiatives:

  1. To launch 35 new diverse online programs in the coming years.
  2. All the 90 online programs upGrad offers would have a start date of every month rather than every quarter as done previously, to cope with the growing demand.
  3. To become the first in India to disburse university-approved degrees through blended, online degree programs.
  4. Strengthen its global footprint by targeting the 40-million-strong South Asian migrant population worldwide.
  5. To add another 26 offline experience centres on top of the 26 centres that are already launched  

In the next 5 years, upGrad aims to train and build the careers of over 1 million learners and expects its impact to reach at least 5 million working professionals associated with it in a cascading effect. This growing ecosystem, in the long run, will serve as the momentum for establishing it as India’s largest online higher education company with a strong focus on employability.

The company is all set to revolutionize the online learning experience and enhance the employability quotient of its learners.

"Distance learning has been the precursor to upGrad, while augmented learning will be the successor. As a virtual university, we want both students and educators to benefit from embracing new technologies for higher education. Universities on the other side of the globe have been quick to adopt new-age technologies. It’s time our country picked up the pace, as upGrad’s online power learning experience is as good as offline, if not better." - Mayank Kumar.

Ronnie Screwvala stated that the number of students aligned to the platform will rise to 3 million by the end of FY23. Besides, he also indicated that the edtech platform is targeting $500 million in gross revenue for FY23. An IPO seemed ahead for the unicorn edtech company in the next 2 years, going by its statements of Ronnie.  

"We are in active discussions. There are some interesting opportunities in these times and some great entrepreneurs too, and we are excited to bring those companies into upGrad as we look at growth this year," said Upgrad

UpGrad is planning to acquire US-based edtech Udacity as per various reports from June 2023.

FAQs

Who are the founders of the upGrad learning platform?

upGrad was founded in 2015 by Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Phalgun Kompalli, and Ravijot Chugh.

Who is Upgrad's CEO?

Arjun Mohan is the CEO of upGrad.

When was upGrad started?

upGrad was founded in 2015.

Who are the top Competitors of upGrad?

The top competitors of upGrad are Coursera, Edureka, Simplilearn, and Unacademy.

How much is upGrad's  operating revenue?

upGrad's operating revenue was recorded at Rs 679 crore in FY22..

Is upGrad free?

Some of the courses offered by upGrad are free. To make the most out of upGrad's features, you should register for upGrad's paid programs.

How is upGrad login done?

You can conveniently login to the upGrad learning platform simply by signing up at the upGrad website/app, and then proceeding to Log in to the same.  

What are upGrad free courses?

Along with the paid/premium courses, upGrad also has a collection of upGrad free courses, where the students and professionals can learn almost everything from Data Science to Technology and Management without spending anything.

What is the upgrad mission and vision?

The upGrad mission and vision are:

"Making our learners achieve their desired outcomes." - UpGrad mission.

"Powering career success for every member of the global workforce as their trusted lifelong learning partner." - UpGrad vision.


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