upGrad wants its learners to succeed — no matter where they are on their career journeys. Whether a learner is 18 years old and is looking for an online degree program that promotes job readiness or is a mid-career professional looking to refresh their skills, upGrad is committed to bringing value, at every life stage, to people who seek to learn, says Myleeta AgaWilliams, upGrad’s international chief executive officer.

upGrad’s integrated approach, which includes partnering with over 300 universities globally, seems to be working. The India-based ed-tech company closed three deals last quarter, including the merger of Harrapa Education, a $210 million funding round and, most recently, the acquisition of Centum Learning.

What do these recent moves mean for the future of upGrad? And what factors have led to upGrad’s notable success since its founding in 2015? Let’s dive in.

Making Moves

Traditionally, upGrad has operated in a business-to-consumer (B2C) capacity, meaning that its offerings (i.e., higher education degrees, internships, courses for working professionals and more) were designed to support individual learners rather than enterprises.

upGrad’s B2C strategy certainly helped the company build its status as a reputable learning provider. However, to remain competitive in today’s evolving ed-tech landscape, Mayank Kumar, upGrad’s co-founder, knew the company needed to explore business-to-business (B2B) offerings as well. That’s where Harrapa Education and Centum Learning came in.

By merging with Harrapa Education, an online learning provider also based in India, upGrad was able to tap into its clientele of over 100 mid- to large-sized organizations. In addition, Harrapa Education’s soft skills and leadership development courses would round out upGrad’s portfolio of primarily technical training offerings.

Undoubtedly, the merger further solidified upGrad’s position in the ed-tech market. Just one month later, the company secured an investment of $210 million, the largest transaction noted in the third quarter of 2022. With this fresh funding, the company announced that it would grow its team from 4,800 to 7,600 employees within three months, making it one of the largest full-time ed-tech faculties in the world.

With its newly secured capital in place, and an expanding workforce on the horizon, upGrad was well positioned to make its next move (again, just one month later) — acquiring Centum Learning.

The acquisition of Centum Learning, a talent development provider with expertise in training entry- to mid-level employees on distributed teams, meant that upGrad would be better positioned to cater to India’s many large, multinational organizations looking for a one-stop solution for training, Kumar says.

By joining forces with Harrapa Education and Centum Learning, upGrad was able to grow its B2B presence while also building out its capabilities in two key areas — leadership development and the ability to train a large, distributed workforce.

Future Goals

It’s certainly been a busy few months for upGrad, and the company has no plans of slowing down any time soon.

In order to achieve its ultimate goal of building a fully integrated lifelong learning platform, and to set the company up for success long term, Kumar says that upGrad is focused on three “buzzwords” moving forward:

    1. “Lifelong”: upGrad is designed to support learners throughout their career journeys and hopes to see repeat learners coming back for more development as their needs evolve.
    2. “Outcomes”: upGrad aspires to help learners achieve career outcomes, whether it’s landing one’s first job after college, securing a promotion or moving into a new field altogether. To ensure learners’ success, upGrad has roughly 5,500 mentors available to share their real-world expertise and to offer individual support.
    3. “Global”: Moving forward, upGrad hopes to build its global footprint and expand its presence, with a specific interest in the U.S. and European markets.

Today, learners need ongoing training and development perhaps more than ever before. Integrated solutions like upGrad ensure that learners don’t have to navigate their career journeys alone, but rather with the help of a trusted learning partner that can offer guidance and support, every step of the way.

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