Edtech Unicorn Club
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UpGrad enters Edtech Unicorn Club

UpGrad is among the scores of Indian edtech startups that has reported skyrocketing growth, here’s deep insight on Upgrad and it’s entry in edtech unicorn club.

January 28, 2022

By Tanu Kapoor

Career Expert & Blogger


upGrad is South Asia’s largest online higher edtech company offering 100+ courses in collaboration with top-notch global universities like Duke Corporate Education (US), Michigan State University (US), Liverpool John Moores University (UK), Deakin Business School (Australia), Swiss School of Business Management, (Geneva), IIT Madras (India), IIM Kozhikode (India), and others. Founded in 2015, the international edtech leader has impacted over 1 million total registered learners over 50+ countries across the world. With an 85% program completion rate, outcome-based learning approach, industry-relevant curriculum, finest university credentials, strong mentorship, and steadfast career support, upGrad has solidified its position in India and globally. upGrad differentiates itself in driving meaningful career outcomes for its learners, in terms of career transition, acceleration or elevating professional confidence. UpGrad, a Bangalore-based startup that specializes in higher education and upskilling courses, hit a valuation of $1.2 billion with a $185 million funding round Monday as global investors plow record capital into firms in the world’s second-largest internet market.

Singapore’s Temasek led the financing round while the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and IIFL participated. The first tranche of this unnamed round — about $120 million — was completed in April this year at a valuation of over $600 million.

“We are pleased with the investor interest ever since we opened up for fundraise and had our maiden raise from Temasek, followed by IFC and IIFL in the last 60 days,” said Ronnie Screwvala (pictured above), co-founder and chairperson of upGrad, in a statement.

Six-year-old UpGrad, which in recent months has pushed for expansion in international markets, offers students over 100 courses in data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, finance, programming and law in collaboration with universities such as Michigan State University, the IIT Madras and IIT Delhi, and Swiss School of Business Management, Geneva.

More than a million users from over four dozen nations have accessed the platform’s courses, the startup said. On its website, UpGrad says it has over 62,000 paid students. These courses cost between $3,300 to $6,750 and run for six months to two years.


UpGrad is among the scores of Indian edtech startups that has reported skyrocketing growth in recent quarters as students move online following the shutting of schools due to the pandemic.

UpGrad is the 21st Indian startup to become a unicorn this year, up from 11 last year. In recent quarters, high-profile investors such as Tiger Global, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Falcon Edge and Temasek have doubled down on their bets on India.

This year, upGrad has already made two acquisitions, including upskilling platform KnowledgeHut to mark its foray into the short-duration professional courses segment, and video-learning solutions provider Impartus to provide digital learning tools to education institutions and colleges.

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.

Upgrad has risen to fame owing to its fantastic marketing strategy and for providing the convenience of pursuing a degree entirely online. But is the company merely a good show and no hustle? Any ed-tech platform that makes our work easy and efficient is indeed a good platform, and upgrad fares well in that area. However, many other platforms serve a similar purpose like upgrad, such as Simplilearn, Udemy, EdX, NPTEL, Learnbay and many more. So let us analyse what makes upgrad soo different from the others and by the end I will be suggesting some alternatives that in my opinion are as good as upgrad or even better.

Upgrad is a Mumbai based startup founded in 2015. Its subsidiaries include Impart Innovations, The Gate Academy, Fairmont Technologies, Rekrut India Private Limited and Knowledgehut solutions. Upgrad is a platform that provides UG and PG Programs for professionals and basic level learning programs for beginners.

About the courses

  • Upgrad has courses currently in demand and is very much trending in the industry, such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, Blockchain, Digital Marketing, Software Management.
  • Diplomas, PG degrees, certificate courses are all the options you get at upgrad, making it a seamlessly good platform that you may invest into.
  • However, there are few to no domain elective courses on the platform, which may be a problem for people from varying backgrounds and want to stick to their roots.
  • What's more, there are stage based programs, and everyone will have to learn whatever the platform provides regardless of their work experience. This might be a problem for anyone who has significant experience in the course subject but wants to learn and dig in more.

Collaborations and partners

  • Upgrad has good ties with numerous reputable organisations such as IIT-Bangalore, IIT-Mumbai, MICA, BITS Pilani, NMIMS, the University of Cambridge, Deakin Business School, Liverpool John Moores University and more.
  • This means you can get courses from these universities effortlessly once your application is approved.
  • You will also get alumni status from these universities.


  • Upgrad is expensive. Executive PG in Data Science costs 3.00 lakhs for 12 months years with an additional cost of 5000, from IIIT Bangalore including the registration fee and exam fee.
  • This, when compared to regular college, is way higher considering the requirements of the general public.
  • Scholarships are available for deserving students and for those who register early.
  • EMI options are available.


Ugrad has 5 subsidiaries, each that serve different purposes. Therefore, it is questionable to have different platforms for each domain. Furthermore, it can become cumbersome for anyone looking for courses and can't find them on one platform. Nonetheless, let's take a look at these companies and what they do.

  • Impartus Innovations pvt ltd
    • It is an e-learning platform that specialises in Automated Lecture Capture, Learning Management systems; Video aided learning, Blended Learning, Personalized Learning, Distance Learning, Corporate Training, Learning and Development, Lecture Capture, Flipped Classroom, and Virtual Classroom.
  • The gate academy
    • It is a coaching centre solely meant for GATE coaching for engineering students. It was founded by alumni of IISc and IITs who were GATE toppers themselves.
  • Fairmont Technologies
    • The company offers software publishing, consultancy and supply, which is further classified into Software publishing, including production, supply and documentation of ready-made (non-customised) software, operating systems software, business & other applications software, computer games software for all platforms.
  • Knowledgehut Solutions
    • It is yet another upskilling platform offering online courses that are outcome driven. They also provide a similar to work kind of learning experience where you will be given real world problem-solving training in tech companies.

These features show that Upgrad is indeed highly renowned and has been doing well in the ed-tech industry if you want to entirely focus on your learning and do it at your convenience by learning from home, not to mention that you get a degree from the most prestigious school all over the world.

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