Recently, we had been discussing how the year 2021 has proved somewhat fortunate for the startups. Even after going through the worst of times, coming from the deadly virus, the startups are now in a good place. They have been receiving funding and many of them have got the Golden Ticket. Yes, it can be referred to as the Golden Ticket, a big achievement, when the value of the startup is more than USD 1 billion and is gifted with the status of a “Unicorn”.
The year 2020 only saw 11 unicorns in a year, and 2021 currently being in the month of August has already seen the rise of 20 Unicorns, and today, we are going to discuss the 21st Unicorn.
The startup, UpGrad as announced on August 09, 2021, has received funding of 185 million. This round of funding was led by Temasek, which is a Singapore-based holding company owned by the Government of Singapore. International Finance Corporation which is of World Bank and IIFL were the participants of this round of funding. The value of the startup after this round of funding has become USD 1.2 billion, thus becoming a unicorn.
About the Unicorn startup
Founded in 2015 in Mumbai by Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Ravijot Chugh, and Phalgun Kompalli, UpGrad is India’s largest online higher education company. It provides various courses and specializations to choose from with the following features-
1:1 Industry Leader mentorship
The strong learner support team of more than 100 members
The strong placement team of more than 50 members
The University partners of the startup are – BIMTECH Birla Institute, MICA, Jindal Global Business School, OP Jindal Law School, OP Jindal Global University, SVKM NMIMS Deemed to be University, DEAKIN University, Chandigarh University, Duke University, IMT, Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, IIT Madras, and many others. The courses offered by the startup are in various fields like Marketing, Data Science, Machine Learning, Bachelors Degree, Business Analytics, Art, Health, Blockchain, Management, Law, Commerce, Software, and Technology.
One of the attractive features of the platform is that if the student is not sure of the domain in which he or she has to do the course, then the student can opt for the free courses. The track record of the startup shows that its platform has more than 10,00,000 registered users. The users doing courses on the platform of the startup have witnessed a hike of 50% in their average salary, with the highest salary offered to the students of the platform is INR 73 lakh per annum. The alumni of the platform are currently employed in various big names of the industry like Amazon, Accenture, ESPN, Ola, Myntra, Microsoft, Flipkart, Jio Digital Life, VISA.
About the investor- Temasek
Temasek Holdings Private Limited, normally called Temasek, is a state-owned enterprise, which is owned by the Government of Singapore. Founded 47 years ago, on June 25, 1974, Temasek, as of March 31, 2021, owns and manages, a net portfolio of around USD 381 billion. The investment company is working in Asia with more than 60% of it is exposed to the developed economies. The portfolio of the company covers four major areas before making any investment- Digitalization, Sustainable Living, Future of Consumption, and Longer Lifespans. The main investment areas of the company include- Consumer, Media and Technology, Life Science and Agri Foods, and Non-Bank Financial Services.
The company is different from a sovereign wealth fund because it invests mostly in equities, is the owner of many assets, and pay taxes like any other commercial investment fund. With its headquarters in Singapore, and Lim Boon Heng as the Chairman of the company and Ho Ching as the Executive Director and CEO of the company, it has 13 offices across 9 countries in the world.
The locations of its offices in Asia are- Mumbai, Beijing, Hanoi, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Singapore, whereas outside Asia, the locations are- London, Brussels, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo.
The subsidiaries of the company are – DBS Bank, Singapore Airlines Capital, ST Engineering, SP Group, Mediacorp, Certis Group, SMRT Corporation, Singtel, Subrana Jurong, Vertex Holdings, and Alvogen. The company as of 2021 has more than 800 employees working for it. The Government of Singapore besides holding Temasek is also holding GIC Private Limited. It is a sovereign fund that manages around USD 440 billion of assets.
About the ed-tech sector in India
The COVID 19 saw a tremendous increase in the rise of the ed-tech sector. With the students at home, technology had to be used to carry out the smooth functioning of the education system of the country. The Indian ed-tech system has more than 4500 startups and is currently valued at USD 700 million. The year 2020 saw the lockdown, and during that period, i.e. April and December 2020, the ed-tech search increased by 60% on the Indian internet.
The top ed-tech startups currently operating in the country are- Awign Enterprises, Class plus, Doubtnut, Masai School, Pesto, and many others. The education startup, Byju’s has become the most valuable unicorn startup in the country with a value of USD 16.5 billion, and a less known fact about the company is that it was the first Edtech company in the country.
What does UpGrad have to say?
The co-founder and chairman of UpGrad, Ronnie Screwvala made a statement saying that the startup is pleased to see the response from investors since it has opened for funding. He further told the investors who have invested in this round of funding, which was Temasek, IFC, and IIHL. He even said that any updates on Mergers and Acquisitions will be announced. He further added that the startup is not affected by the tag of the unicorn, as they have a much larger goal and aim.
The startup is growing at a good rate and we wish it nothing but a bright future ahead.