UpGrad announced that it will purchase a 100 percent stake in Global Study Partners, Australia’s largest study abroad firm, for $16 million, recording the ed-tech startup’s first foreign acquisition.
UpGrad, in a statement, said it will invest an additional $10 million in Global Study Partners for future growth. The buyout of Global Study Partners by UpGrad will strengthen the company’s presence in the ‘study abroad’ market, which it claims is one of the fastest-growing in the world.
Global Study Partners (GSP), which was founded by Elaine Starkey, in 2015, is a two-sided platform for international students with a network of over 600 institutions across Western countries which include Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The company has more than 1,300 recruitment partners, including education and migration agents, test preparation centers, schools, as well as alumni clubs, among others. GSP in a statement said, it will end the current fiscal year with a gross merchandise value (GMV) of $10 million, and the GMV is expected to quadruple in 2022.
Ronnie Screwvala, Chairperson and co-founder of UpGrad commented on the development saying, “As an Integrated EdTech leader-we span the entire gamut of a learner’s need from the age of 18-50 and in that, Study Abroad is a key growth initiative for us; not just out of India which is one of the two largest markets but also for our learners internationally. GSP coming into UpGrad’s fold will be a needle mover for us to attain a headstart in being a global leader in this segment too.”
The Mumbai-based unicorn cited a Redseer report which suggests the number of Indian students seeking higher education abroad is experiencing exponential growth, outpacing domestic student enrollment by six times in the last three years. The report also says more than 770,000 students end up choosing overseas higher education in 2019.
UpGrad estimates that this surge will accelerate further, with the number of students seeking higher education abroad more than doubling to around 1.8 million by 2024. It also believes over 8 million students will spend up to $85 billion on online higher education outside of the United States as online courses become more available because of pandemic-related restrictions.
The startup has been on an acquisition spree, it bought upskilling platform KnowledgeHut and video-learning solutions provider Impartus for around $35 million and $20 million, respectively. Last year, UpGrad announced the acquisition of The GATE Academy, a competitive test prep platform, marking its first push into the sector.
UpGrad announced last week that it will merge its three subsidiaries – UpGrad Campus (formerly Impartus), UpGrad KnowledgeHut (formerly KnowledgeHut), and UpGrad Jeet (formerly The GATE Academy) – into a single parent organization to pursue an integrated approach.
The same week the ed-tech firm expanded its employee stock ownership plan (ESOPs) pool by 28 percent, from 17,25,810 options to 22,25,810 options (UPGRAD Education-Employee Stock Option (New) Scheme, 2015). The fresh pool’s worth increased by 29 percent, from Rs 331 crore to Rs 427 crore.
UpGrad became the third Indian ed-tech unicorn in August after securing a total of $185 million from Temasek Holdings, IIFL, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) at a valuation of $1.2 billion.