Saranjit Sangar, CEO at upGrad: ‘How I Went From A Marketing Analyst To CEO’

Saranjit Sangar

upGrad is a global higher edtech leader focussed on delivering outcome-oriented higher education and upskilling solutions. upGrad’s vision is to power career success for every member of the global workforce as their trusted lifelong learning partner.

We aim to bridge the gap between working professionals and rapidly evolving industry requirements to help fill the digital skills gap. We started our journey with entrepreneurship programs in 2015 and since then have expanded our portfolio to service the future of work across sectors including technology, data science and machine learning. We currently support more than 1 million learners across 85 countries globally.
upGrad's Competitors, Revenue, Number of Employees, Funding, Acquisitions &  News - Owler Company Profile

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Founded in early 2015, upGrad has emerged as a key global player in edtech. Within a short span of 6 years, upGrad has impacted more than 1 million total registered learners across 50+ countries. The idea was borne out of India in response to an emerging higher education crisis. For every individual in India, there are three individuals who have not gone to, or enrolled in higher education. We noticed that lack of access was the primary challenge, followed by affordability, and so we saw an opportunity to develop an online learning platform that would overcome these challenges.

We started our journey with entrepreneurship programs in 2015 and the mission to provide something different to what was already available on the market. We saw a gap for a deeply personalised learning experience that was solely focused on providing the very best career outcomes. This led us to create upGrad’s 360-degree learning solution, which combines our innovative tech platform with the best, industry-ready course content and deep personalisation. We now offer 100+ online courses across diverse disciplines including Tech, Data and Law.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

In 2020, upGrad grew by 100% in revenue, tripled its course offering, hit the ball out of the park on global MBAs, scaled its university partnerships, grew its global team, crossed 1 million learners, delivered 10 million hours of learning, and closed 3 acquisitions.

In 2021 we are already growing leaps and bounds. We have combined forces with Rekrut India, a 100% subsidiary of upGrad, and enabled 2,500 successful career transitions just in one quarter (Jan-March 21) – at an average salary hike of 50%. We also announced a 135% rise in the repeat and referral enrolment in Q2 compared to the same quarter last year.

What can we hope to see from upGrad in the future?

We recently announced our M&A and non-linear growth strategy. We have earmarked USD 250 million for M&As over the next 7-9 months, with a big focus on growth across the UK and Europe. We continue to build a very strong, integrated model in higher education across multiple geographies and we are poised to accelerate upGrad’s growth in this market and beyond.

We have also recently raised a cumulative USD 160 Million from Temasek and IFC and plan to use the fresh capital to further strengthen our teams, scale our global market operations, bolster our technology and product capabilities, expand our graduate and post-graduate degree portfolio, and scale up operations to achieve our USD 2 billion revenue goal by 2026. This shall further reinforce upGrad’s position as a global higher-edtech leader emerging from India.

With this recent success providing further growth for our company, we are committed to help drive more meaningful career outcomes for our learners as we build the careers of tomorrow. Watch this space!