Ronnie Screwvala’s upGrad looks to snap up ed-tech companies
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UpGrad Education Pvt. Ltd, an education-technology firm that offers online learning programmes for working professionals, is looking to make up to three acquisitions in the current financial year.

Mumbai-based upGrad said in a statement it has identified potential acquisition targets and is in active discussions with them. However, it did not disclose their identities. These companies are active in the online degree, post-graduation and higher education segments.

upGrad said it has set aside Rs 50 crore (nearly $7 million at current exchange rates) for these acquisitions.

“Our specific interest for targeted companies are those that can fast-track our ambitions in the degree programs or add a whole new line of online programs to our existing range,” company co-founder and executive chairman Ronnie Screwvala said. upGrad is looking to add capabilities in areas such as law, finance and medicine, he added.

The development comes at a time when interest in ed-tech ventures has risen as a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus, has led to a shutdown of schools and colleges across India.

upGrad isn’t new to making acquisitions. In July last year it had acqui-hired CohortPlus, an online community for product managers and data science enthusiasts. At the time, Screwvala and upGrad co-founder Mayank Kumar said the move would help the company in reaching a wider audience base.

Prior to that, the company in 2018 acquired Acadview Software Pvt. Ltd, an online job skilling platform for undergraduates. In 2016, the company had acqui-hired learning platform Pyoopil Education Technologies Pvt. Ltd, marking its entry into the corporate training segment.

upGrad was set up in 2015. The ed-tech company says it targets professionals with online courses in areas such as entrepreneurship, digital marketing, data analytics and product management. Apart from Screwvala and Kumar, its co-founders include Ravijot Chugh and Prabhav Phalgun.

In January 2018, VCCircle reported that upGrad was planning to raise $40 million (around Rs 266 crore then) in its first round of external funding. Till then, the company had been internally funded by Screwvala's proprietary arm Unilazer Ventures, which he set up in 2012 after selling UTV to Disney.

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