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UpGrad graduates to unicorn batch with $1.2 Bn valuation

Ronnie Screwvala’s edtech startup upGrad has attained a unicorn status after raising fresh funds from Temasek, International Finance Corporation and IIF. The company has raised $185 million at a value of $1.2 billion, upGrad said in a press statement.

With this, upGrad becomes the third unicorn in the edtech space, joining Byju’s and Unacademy. 

“We are pleased with the investor interest ever since we opened up for a fundraise, and had our maiden raise from Temasek, followed by IFC and IIFL in the last 60 days,” said Screwvala, co-founder and Chairperson at upGrad.

Unlike Byju’s and Unacademy, upGrad is an upskilling platform for professionals. It offers several courses in data science, software, machine learning, business analytics along with full-fledged bachelor degrees. It does this by tying up with leading universities and colleges in these domains. 

It’s worth noting that Byju’s is also entering the upskilling space with the acquisition of Upgrad’s main rival: Great Learning. Byju’s acquired Great Learning for $600 million last month. Entrackr had exclusively reported about the acquisition on July 24.

According to upGrad’s press release, it’s also in conversations to raise another $400 million at a staggering valuation of $4 billion. If the talks translate into a deal, Upgrad’s valuation will surpass that of Unacademy which was valued at $3.44 billion when it raised $400 million led by Temasek.

Byju’s leads the pack in terms of valuation and fundraising. At present, it’s the highest valued startup in India with over $16 billion in valuation.

As compared to Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu, upGrad’s founder group including Screwvala owns 70% of the company as they bootstrapped the company initially. 

The fresh round also makes UpGrad the 21st startup that has attained unicorn status in 2021. Last month, Droom claimed that it reached a valuation of $1.2 billion whereas OfBusiness had raked in $160 million led by SoftBank at a valuation of $1.6 billion.

Entrackr had exclusively decoded OfBusiness’ Series E round on July 31. 

Akin to other edtech companies, upGrad has been witnessing a surge in users due to a disruption caused by the pandemic. While the impact of such spurt in platform’s usage could be gauged when the company would file FY21’s annual financial statements, it recorded a 90% jump in its operating revenue in FY20. 

According to Fintrackr, upGrad had enrolled 12,930 paid learners during FY20 and posted operating revenue of Rs 162.3 crore. Its losses shot up by 82% to Rs 79 crore during the period from Rs 43.4 crore in FY19.

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