Home » Market Spotlight » From Startup to Giant: UpGrad’s in-depth growth analysis 

From Startup to Giant: UpGrad’s in-depth growth analysis 

Witness UpGrad’s growth from a bold idea to a billion-dollar reality. Ready to see how they aced the ed-tech space?

upgrad company

Imagine an educational platform that breaks down barriers and opens doors to career success. That’s UpGrad in a nutshell – an ed-tech powerhouse founded in 2015 by visionary Ronnie Screwvala and a team of IIT alumni. 

The company is one of the top companies in the ed-tech sector, with UpGrad’s valuation of  $2.25 billion. Its mission? Offering innovative online programmes that teach skills needed for today’s careers, unlike outdated traditional courses. 

In this analysis, we will discuss how UpGrad started its journey, its current market scenario, and plans for going public. 

Also read: Rise of the education sector in India: Potential and top stocks to invest 

How did the UpGrad company start?

Ronnie Screwvala and UpGrad go hand in hand. Though only a few individuals know it, Ronnie Screwvala is not just one of India’s successful film producers and entrepreneurs—he also launched UpGrad, the leading ed-tech platform, after collaborating with IIT alumni.

UpGrad, a digital education platform that Screwvala launched in 2015 to offer affordable and high-quality educational resources, is currently valued at more than USD 2.25 billion. 

Screwvala created UpGrad to close the gap between conventional education and industry demands, observing the rising need for continuous development of skills and knowledge. He co-founded UpGrad with three other IIT grads—Mayank Kumar, Phalgum Kompalli, and Ravijot Chug.

With UpGrad, individuals may pursue advanced degrees focused on digital marketing, data analytics, and other subjects. Also, the site has partnerships with several universities, including MICA.

Business model

UpGrad is based on a direct business-to-consumer (B2C) business model, in which the customer pays upfront to participate in the programme after being accepted. The company generates revenue from other businesses by providing training for its staff as part of its enterprise business.

The price structure of UpGrad is designed to emphasise the importance of student placement. Learners are only required to pay 50% of the programme fees if they receive employment after the training. In India, this price model has never been used before.

Startup challenges

UpGrad faced many difficulties, just like any other company. The biggest one was the negative perception of online learning’s legitimacy. The majority of the population believes that online learning is ineffective. It was challenging for UpGrad to demonstrate otherwise through its services, client experiences, and success stories.

The second challenge was convincing recruiters that an online education might be just as demanding as an offline one. Lastly, UpGrad priced its products lower than its offline competitors but higher than its other competitors online. Making the programmes’ value propositions clear to the students was a huge challenge.

Also read: The startup saga: Tracing the growth of India’s entrepreneurial landscape 

UpGrad today

UpGrad has grown significantly since its establishment, drawing millions of students and collaborating with top universities throughout the globe. With many examples of students changing their jobs and accomplishing their professional objectives, UpGrad’s influence goes beyond statistics. 

Additionally, UpGrad and Invest India have partnered on the StartUp India initiative by the Government of India. StartUp India is UpGrad’s new learning programme, which is a free course for entrepreneurs. 

The goal is to use structured learning to support entrepreneurs in taking their ideas and businesses to the next level. Throughout a comprehensive 4-week programme, the programme provides lessons on crucial aspects of starting up by 40+ prominent Indian founders.

The unicorn in ed-tech, UpGrad, reported a 96% increase in income from ₹608 crore to ₹1,194 crore for the fiscal year that concluded in March 2023. 

upgrad company

However, losses at the Mumbai-based firm increased to ₹1,142 crore in FY23 from ₹684 crore the year before, a 67% increase. 

UpGrad had also carried over an additional deferred collected revenue of ₹443 crore into FY24, citing a realignment of revenue.

While paid learners increased by 54% in FY23, UpGrad’s total learner base has surpassed 10 million. In addition, the business claimed to have a strong enterprise play, managing 1,110 clients in FY23 and projecting at least 75% of those clients to be retained in FY24.

UpGrad’s achievements

UpGrad has grown remarkably well, more than doubling in size at the start of FY21. The company accomplished the impressive feat of drawing in more than one million students in just five years.

More than ten thousand students graduated through UpGrad in 2022. The company has a strong network of 300 direct university partners worldwide as of FY23.

Moreover, as proof of its broad influence and reach, UpGrad collaborates with 20,000 recruitment partners and 30,000 corporate partners. UpGrad’s educational services have improved the lives of 7 million students in more than 100 countries, making an impact on the world.

The company’s impressive $2.25 billion valuation, which establishes it as a major player in the educational technology industry, serves as evidence of its success.

Funding and growth

Ronnie Screwvala has raised ₹212 crore to increase the company’s worth and fuel further investment. At this moment, UpGrad’s valuation is at USD 2.25 billion, or more than ₹18,690 crore.

According to upGrad, existing backer Temasek provided ₹81 crore, and co-founder and chair Ronnie Screwvala provided ₹212 crore. Minority stakeholders took up the remaining portion of the rights issue. UpGrad has raised USD 555 million, excluding the most recent fundraising, through multiple funding rounds since 2021. 

Future outlook 

Mayank Kumar, the managing director and co-founder of UpGrad, has stated that the company intends to go public with a share offering in roughly two years. 

The business will file for an IPO when it hits certain benchmarks, including $750 million in revenue. It will additionally keep an 80% gross margin and a 15% net margin.

UpGrad primarily targets India and does up to 95% of its business online. The company plans to list in India once it is prepared to join the public market. To support online development, UpGrad has set aside ₹100 million to establish one hundred offline learning centres.

Also read: Here’s everything you should know about RK Swamy’s IPO 


UpGrad went from a small startup to a billion-dollar company. This huge growth shows the big profits investors can make by backing great business ideas early on. UpGrad saw the demand for online courses that teach job skills and partnered with top universities to meet that need. 

As UpGrad rapidly expands its model of training students for future careers worldwide, it becomes an attractive investment for prospective investors. 

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