‘upGrad scouting for M&As, to raise funds’

‘Eyeing firms in Africa, Mexico, U.S.’

upGrad Education, an online higher education company, is scouting for large acquisitions in the higher online education space in Africa, Mexico and the U.S. to become a global company based out of India, its founders said.

To fund these big international merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities, the company is in talks with investors, they added.

“Right now, it [fund raising exercise] is ongoing,” said co-founder and chairman Ronnie Screwvala. “We will be raising funds for the next round of M&A deals, mostly international.

Elaborating, co-founder and MD Mayank Kumar said, “In Africa. we are looking [to acquire] the largest online higher education company and one of the top two such players in Mexico.”

“In the U.S., we are looking for the largest coding platform, and planning to grow in that market through the partnership model with universities,” he added.

In India, upGrad had acquired five companies in the past and this time the acquisitions would be in the international markets.

With its business model finding traction among job-seekers, mostly working professionals paying ₹2-3 lakh for an online course intending to specialise and upgrade to achieve higher pay packages, the company is targeting to double its annual revenue run rate in six months.

“In September-end, our annual revenue run rate was $210 million, which is projected to grow to $450 million to $500 million in March 2022. The recent acquisitions and international operations are helping,” Mr. Screwvala said.

Besides India, upGrad had operations in eight foreign countries, where the company would further grow its base, he added.

In the last six months, the company had raised $185 million from Temasek, IFC and IIFL, valuing it at $1.2 billion.

Currently, 20% of the company’s revenue comes from international operations, which is projected to grow to 50% in two years, they added.

upGrad, which is focusing on life long education of people, said its data science, machine learning, online MBA, technology, digital marketing and law courses are finding more demand.

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