Founded and established in 2015, UpGrad has successfully appeared as India’s biggest online higher education brand. Within only five years, upgrad reshaped around 1 million individuals worldwide.
Headquartered in Mumbai (Maharashtra, India), upGrad is also placed out of Bengaluru (Karnataka, India). upGrad provides online programs in the areas of Data Science, Technology, Management and Law to college students, working professionals, and companies. These programs are created and composed in collaboration with top-notch universities like IIT Madras, IIIT Bangalore, MICA, NMIMS Global Access, Jindal Global Law School, Duke CE, Deakin University, Liverpool John Moores University and others.
upGrad ranked as India’s No.1 startup, as per the LinkedIn Top Startups 2020 list. This is the third time in a row that upGrad has been featured in the top startup list by LinkedIn. The edtech major received the title award of ‘Best Education Brands’ by Economic Times in 2020 for the second time, post winning the same title in 2018. Due to its world-class learning platform, the brand made it to the prestigious GSV Global EdTech 50 List 2020. upGrad won the ‘Best Communication and Teaching Platform’ in the Education Innovation Awards 2020 by Entrepreneur India and earned the ‘Best Tech for Education’ title by IAMAI in 2019.
upGrad – Founders And Team
upGrad was established in 2015 by four founders Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Phalgun Kompalli, and Ravijot Chugh.
Ronnie Screwvala | Co-founder & Chairman, upGrad
Ronnie Screwvala is a first-gen entrepreneur who established Cable TV in India, created one of the largest toothbrush production operations, and went on to create a Media & Entertainment conglomerate; UTV – traversing Television, Broadcasting, Digital, Mobile and Motion Pictures, which he divested to The Walt Disney Company in 2012 Demonstrating an inherent ability to blend creativity with commerce, Newsweek termed him the Jack Warner of India, Esquire ranked him one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st Century and Fortune as Asia’s 25 most powerful.
Mayank Kumar | Co-founder & MD, upGrad
Mayank Kumar is an education expert and succeeded entrepreneur, one of India’s brightest minds driving the edtech revolution. Mayank is the Co-founder & Managing Director of India’s largest online higher education organisation – upGrad, which within an extent of 5 years, has reshaped nearly 1 million students worldwide.
Ravijot Chugh | Co-founder, upGrad
Ravijot Chugh graduated from IIT-Delhi in Computer Science and was listed in Forbes Asia 30 under 30 in 2018. He manages career services, product, design, content, delivery, and student achievement sections at upGrad. Ravijot was placed at Housing.com as a product lead and then at the Parthenon Group where he directed multiple companies and private equity investors on due persistence, market entry, and growth strategy in the education division of developing markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. He also co-founded a social travel startup called 36hrs.in from San Francisco.
Phalgun Kompalli, Co-founder, upGrad
At present, Co-Founder at upGrad, Phalgun Kompalli is an Indian entrepreneur from Mumbai. Before upGrad, Phalgun was a Principal at The Parthenon Group, an education strategy-consulting firm. He was associated with advising extensive education conglomerates and investment funds on their growth and investment tactics in education. He has done notable work in the field of higher education and technology-enabled learning over India, the US, Brazil, Africa, and South-East Asia.
upGrad – Business Model/USP
upGrad is primarily a direct B2C company wherein the consumer enters the program (post getting an admission) and pays upfront for the registration. For its enterprise market, the company accepts payment from corporations for training their 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.
An important USP for upGrad is its mentorship; the real point is that the startup uses money on mentoring while others find a course and set it online. Some other differentiators are its tech platform, interactive user interface, and most importantly, content—all of which have been designed from basic by its team. The team doesn’t collect the content and compile it. About 60-70% of the upGrad’s curriculum comes from lecturers or mentors who bring in their real-life practices to the students. Once registered, learners can easily log on to learn.upgrad.com and access the course they opt for.
upGrad History – How it Started?
Although there were firms in the K-12 division and platforms catering for MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), none of them presented formal education coupled with a complete learning experience. Mayank envisioned that the necessity for online learning would be much higher for technical certifications, given the addition in the working culture at that time. Again, none of the present companies wholly drilled into the online higher education sector. This led to the idea behind upGrad that was consequently started in 2015.
Mayank has broad knowledge and experience in the education industry, both as an advisor and an investor. He perceived the advantages of low infrastructure costs and an enormous student base in lessening the price of obtaining education by the online channel. These factors began with online courses being 53% cheaper than offline options. Owing to the elasticity of time, schedule, etc., online education is a suitable learning method. In conclusion, many online education companies have hopped in to fill a wide gap of online courses.
Beginning with its first entrepreneurship program, upGrad has produced some of India’s greatest online programs to help thousands of professionals and college students achieve their career aims in the areas of data, technology, and management.
upGrad – Funding And Investors
upGrad’s founders contributed the primary funding. The first investment phase went into building the learning experience, product, content, etc. The following step of the investment is meant for formulating larger awareness amongst users and corporate entities.
For the very first time, in April 2021, upGrad raised its first external equity funding round since being founded in 2015, driven by Temasek.
upGrad reached unicorn status with the latest investment on August 9, 2021, where the business was backed by Temasek, International Finance Corporation, and IIFL. The company is now valued at $1.2 Billion.
The company is aiming to touch revenue worth $2 Billion by 2026.