upGrad earmarked USD 250 million for M&A and non-linear growth, riding strong for its mergers and acquisitions over the next seven to nine months. Recent reports indicate that upGrad would cross half-a-billion USD annual revenue run rate by March’22 and is looking to raise close to USD 400 million at a valuation close to USD 4 bn.
Highlighting upGrad’s non-linear growth strategy, Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founder, and Chairman, upGrad commented, “We continue to build a very strong, integrated, connected model in higher education across multiple geographies including Middle East and South Asia. Personally, I am a strong believer that the whole is always bigger and more valuable than the sum of the parts. Outside of cash, we see a very strong value currency in our stock to look to merge/acquire companies with exceptional founders who will join us as fellow entrepreneurs to build this out over the next decade.”
upGrad has identified specific segments as well as target companies for its mergers and acquisitions, two of which will be announced over the next 60 days. Some of these target companies are based in the MENA region.
upGrad recently announced online learning programs for UAE and Saudi professionals that are designed to accelerate careers and grow regional businesses.
Despite being a recent edtech player, upGrad has built out a strong tech platform and deep immersive learning experience with high touch points to capture close to 70% of the Indian higher education market for working professionals. This stealth approach of operating under the radar, coupled with the rare combination of founder-funded for the full first leg, has helped upGrad focus on their core vision.
This year upGrad went out for their maiden fund raise with Temasek and IFC and closed a cumulativeUSD 160 million raise, and at a valuation just south of being a unicorn. It is uncommon in EdTech for the founder group to still own close to 78% of the company leaving a lot of room for growth, capital raise, and also to use stock as a strong M&A currency.
upGrad programs are reverse engineered to meet current (and future) job demands across industry sectors. With programs in future-focused sectors such as data sciences, blockchain, machine learning and AI, upGrad’s curriculum is up to date, industry-relevant and engaging. This is underscored by a course completion rate of 80%, the highest in online learning. upGrad is amongst GSV Global edtech 50 and has been ranked amongst the Top 50 in the FT Asia-Pacific High-Growth Companies 2021.