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Ronnie Screwvala Planning ₹50 Crore Investment In Acquisitions For His Online Education Venture UpGrad

Accel India, cash, startups, fund of funds

The education sector in India is ripe with tremendous opportunities. Particularly with the increased internet penetration in the country, there is an immense scope of online education and digital learning.

Media veteran Ronnie Screwvala’s venture UpGrad is one such online learning hub which was launched last year and is focussed on working professionals. Screwvala had invested $16 million (about ₹100 crores) in the company initially.

And now to further boost its platform and widen its reach, the company is planning to acquire three companies reportedly based in India and the US.

Over the past one month, our strategy has shifted to actively looking for acquisitions, and we are eyeing 2-3 segments.

said Screwvala who is expecting to spend about Rs 50 Crore on these acquisitions.

He declined to disclose the details of the companies but the companies include an Indian company focussed on data-driven methodologies for running through CVs; a US-based startup working to develop personalised adaptive learning technology; and another company in the area of executive education.

The first two companies are expected to help UpGrad develop its own full stack product whereas the third acquisition will help in acquiring more customers.

UpGrad is one of its kind online learning platform as unlike other online websites offering various courses, UpGrad functions as a digital university in itself. There is a selection procedure for getting enrolled in its courses and the fee structure at UpGrad is also at par with similar full-fledged programs in the universities.

For instance, a three-month course can cost around Rs 30000-50000 while a 12-18 months program can cost more than a lakh rupees, although the fee structure varies according to different programs and other factors.

UpGrad offers academically rigorous programs designed with the help of both academicians and industries. It initially began with an entrepreneurship course and is planning to come up with new courses in digital marketing, product management and data analytics.

The company is targeting revenues of around Rs 250-300 crore in the next couple of years. It also plans to enter newer markets in Asia as well as in Vietnam, Australia, and Singapore.