Education technology company upGrad on Monday said that it has raised a total of $185 million valuing the company at $1.2 billion post money, making it the latest entrant to India’s coveted unicorn club—which are basically privately-held companies that have reached a valuation of $1 billion, or more. The funding announcement comes close on the heels of larger edtech player Unacademy raising $440 million at a valuation of $3.44 billion.
Singapore’s state-owned investment company Temasek, International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private sector investment arm, and IIFL participated in the fund raising, the company said in a statement.
“We are very focussed on our path to being in the top three to five companies globally in edtech and serving the one billion workforce across the age group of 18 to 60 years. We are pleased with the investor interest ever since we opened up for a fund raise, and had our maiden raise from Temasek, followed by IFC and IIFL in the last 60 days,” said Ronnie Screwvala, chairperson and co-founder, upGrad in a statement.
According to data from Venture Intelligence unicorn tracker, upGrad is the 22nd unicorn this year so far.
The six-year-old edtech startup is reportedly in talks to raise $400 million at a valuation of $4 billion. Started by Ronnie Screwvala along with Mayank Kumar and Phalgun Kompalli, upGrad has over one million registered learners in the higher education space from over 50 countries including India.
According to a recent PwC India report, big-ticket funding in the growth stage helped startups such as Meesho, PharmEasy, and ShareChat achieve the status of unicorn during the first half of this year (January 1 to June 15). The report further added that 17 companies raised funds in the range of $100 million to 500 million during the period under review. Late-stage deals recorded during the first half of 2021 also attracted top dollar, including India’s largest edtech company Byju’s raising $785 million and food-delivery platform Swiggy raising $800 million in funding.
Armed with tailored strategies and deep pockets, companies such as Byju’s, and Unacademy are fighting to occupy a larger chunk of the edtech pie. Last month, Byju’s acquired Singapore headquartered Great Learning, a major player in the professional and higher education segment for $600 million. Bengaluru-headquartered Byju’s has also earmarked a further $400 million of investment into the higher education segment.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting businesses across sectors, edtech companies in India have been ruling the roost in raising funds from global investors since early 2020. Edtech was the most funded sector last year with Byju’s alone accounting for $1.4 billion in funds raised.