upGrad, India’s leading online higher platform, is planning to expand its base by focusing more on tier III towns.
The Mumbai-based start-up, which has serial entrepreneur and media baron Ronnie Screwvala as one its founders, presently gets 60% of its users from tier I cities. upGrad claims to have a 40% share in India’s online higher education segment. The platform now plans to partner with local universities in different parts of the country to capture the tier III market.
upGrad offers 23 programmes divided into three different segments of data, management and technology. It aims to provide 75 programmes in the next five years and grow the number of partnerships with the universities from 10 to 30.
“The higher online education market is in a very nascent stage in India with very few players. We have roughly 40% of the market share. We expect to grow and hit Rs 750 crore in revenue this year,” said Mayank Kumar, Co-Founder and Managing Director, upGrad.
Kumar said the platform is looking at tripling the revenue next year on the back of multiple programme additions. The platform claims that in the last two years, it has achieved 6X growth in revenue.
Talking about the factors that have helped fuel the growth, Kumar said, “It is purely the kind of products that we are offering while partnering with various universities in relevant areas of data science, digital marketing and management. Also, we just don’t provide programmes but the entire learning experience.”
The company witnesses roughly about 60% of its enrolments from metro cities, 30% from tier II and 10% from international students, contributing to the total revenue in the same ratio. Currently, upGrad has a base of 21,000 paid learners and 370,000 free learners.
Marketing strategy to expand base
To expand its base, the platform has set aside Rs 100 crore as ad budget for TV and Rs 75 crore for digital. upGrad will also spend big on print.
The company under its marketing plan focuses on four strategies: online digital marketing; organic marketing through its YouTube, Facebook video content; on the ground activations, and lastly through its own proprietary app.
“This year, we will spend more towards TV and use this channel to expand our presence. A lot of our audience is not on digital right now. We will spend Rs 100 crore on TV and Rs 75 crore on digital.”
Kumar said the company’s marketing strategy has been an important growth driver along with the improved product offering.
upGrad has Starcom as its media agency and Tilt Brand Solutions is on board for creatives, along with Tatvic for digital marketing.