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Exclusive: UpGrad in talks to raise new round at $2.5-3 Bn valuation

The edtech windfall continues. Ronnie Screwvala’s UpGrad—higher education startup— is in talks with new and existing investors to raise a fresh round that will push the company’s valuation by more than two-fold, according to three people aware of the details of the transaction.

This comes less than a year since its last round when it mopped up $185 million from ​​Temasek, International Finance Corporation and IIF at a valuation of $1.2 billion and forayed into the unicorn club.

“UpGrad is in talks to raise around $200-250 million led by Alpha Wave along with existing investors such as Temasek,” said one of the sources on the condition of anonymity.

UpGrad is an upskilling platform for professionals which offers courses across data science, software, machine learning, business analytics along with full-fledged bachelor degrees. The company has tied up with leading universities and colleges in these domains. 

The company makes the majority of its revenue from charging a commission on the fee collected by universities.

“UpGrad will be valued in the range of $2.5 to $3 billion. Talks are going on and [the round] may go beyond $250 million,” said the second source who also requested anonymity. 

To be sure, the deal may or may not go through.

During the previous round, UpGrad said that it was in talks to raise another $400 million at a valuation of $4 billion. If the new deal goes through, UpGrad’s valuation will get closer to SoftBank-backed Unacademy which was valued at $3.44 billion during its latest round in August.

UpGrad has declined to offer comment on the story while queries sent to Alpha Wave did not elicit an immediate response. We’ll update the post in case the firm responds.

In the upskilling space, UpGrad competes with the likes of edtech behemoth Byju’s. The Bengaluru-based company ventured into the upskilling space via its acquisition of Great Learning. Entrackr had exclusively reported about the acquisition in July.

Like the top-funded edtech companies including Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu, UpGrad had also acquired several startups including Talentedge, Study Partners, Work Better, Knowledgehut, Impartus Innovation, Rekrut India, The Gate academy, Cohort Plus and Impartus in the past couple of years.

UpGrad, which is also eyeing to go public in two years, saw an 86% increase in its operating income to a little over Rs 302 crore during FY21 from Rs 162.34 crore in FY20. According to Fintrackr, its annual expenditure grew by 112.8% to around Rs 514 crore in FY21 from Rs 241.5 crore in FY20 and posted a loss of Rs 211 crore during the last fiscal year.

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