Ronnie Screwvala-backed start-up upGrad lines up big plans for 2020

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In its bid to tap the growing online higher education market in India, media entrepreneur and former UTV founder Ronnie -Screwvala backed start-up upGrad has planned an ambitious Rs 175-crore branding and marketing campaign in 2020. 

Comprising both online and offline mediums, including television, digital and print, the campaign is aimed at creating awareness around upGrad’s online higher education programmes in the data, technology, and management domains among its potential learner group i.e., working professionals and their influencers. 

Co-founded by Screwvala with Mayank Kumar, Ravijot Chugh, and Phalgun Kompalli, upGrad has been marketing itself as an online university for working professional offering postgraduate certificates, diplomas, and degrees in association with leading domestic and international higher education institutes. 

With offerings in collaboration with some of the leading campuses, including Cambridge University, Duke University, BITS Pilani, MICA, IMT, and NMIMS, among others, upGrad offers online higher education programmes that working professionals can enrol while continuing their day job, at costs that are at times one-fifth similar offline programmes on campuses.

Of the Rs 175-crore, Rs 100 crore will be spent on the offline medium and Rs 75 crore on digital in a sustained campaign spaced throughout the year, said Screwvala.

To date, upGrad has been offering online higher education programmes, ranging from six months to two years, in a price bracket between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 4 lakh. 

In the last three years, upGrad has grown to garner 20,000 paying learners, thereby earning an average revenue per user upwards of Rs 3 lakh. Now, according to Screwvala and Kumar, the Rs 175-crore marketing campaign is not only aimed at attracting more paying learners, but will help grow the overall online market in the higher education space in India.

“What we did in the last three years was substantially digital oriented. We need it to be a 360-degree (orientation). So far, whatever we spent, almost 50 per cent was to build the market and create awareness,” Screwvala told Business Standard.

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