Online higher education firm, UpGrad has acquired Work Better, a Mumbai-based enterprise training provider brand, and has onboarded the latter’s entire workforce, including chief executive Swapnil Kamat.
The acquisition, according to Mayank Kumar, co-founder and Managing Director of upGrad, would facilitate his firm to achieve its goal of becoming one of the world’s leading integrated life-long-learning tech companies. This acquisition was finalized by upGrad for Business, the ed-tech firm’s business-to-business (B2B) division.
Swapnil Kamat, the founder of Work Better, and his entire workforce will join upGrad For Business (a B2B arm), bringing with them 300+ corporate clients and 250+ trainers. Work Better will merge with upGrad and be renamed upGrad Work Better after the acquisition, with the goal of providing tailored education for employees and businesses. “Enterprise L&D (learning and development) is coming of age now. This synergy, hence, is aptly timed,” Kumar added, without disclosing the size of the acquisition.
Minaxi Indra, President of upGrad For Business in a statement said, “The rise of multifunctional roles which require new-age subject knowledge is constantly pushing medium and large-sized organizations to re-think their L&D strategies not just for skilling their talent pool but also for retaining them.”
Work Better, which was founded in 2008, offers a wide range of services, including sales training, corporate communication, customer service, leadership development, and professional effectiveness. It has more than 300 corporate clients and 250+ trainers to whom it provides training solutions. Work Better’s business aligns well with upGrad’s B2B arm, which provides outcome-based learning modules that are personalized to the company’s priorities.
In the last two years, the education industry has seen a remarkable transition. This isn’t confined to the K-12 sector. Consistent capital inflows and subsequent M&As distinguished the year for ed-tech startups, with the space as a whole witnessing 31 M&A deals, accounting for 15 percent of the total 206 M&A deals in the startup ecosystem. BYJU’s alone acquired ten startups, with Unacademy coming in second with five buyouts.
Work Better’s acquisition comes just a month after upGrad bought another B2B ed-tech platform, Talentedge, to strengthen its presence in the higher education industry. UpGrad bought Rekrut India, a recruitment and staffing solutions company, and The Gate Academy (TGA), a coaching institute in Bengaluru, in 2020.
UpGrad, founded in 2015 by Ronnie Screwvala, Phalgun Kompalli, Mayank Kumar, and Ravijot Chugh, provides higher education courses in partnership with several universities. It claims to have a million users around the globe, with 45,000 of them being paid students. It joined the unicorn club in August 2021 after raising $185 million from Temasek, Singapore’s International Finance Corporation. The ed-tech unicorn expanded its employee stock option plan (ESOP) pool by 28 percent in November 2021, from 17.25 lakh options to 22.25 lakh options.