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Ronnie Screwvala Backed UpGrad Goes Big

Ravi Sharma | January, 01 2020

Ronnie Screwvala is a first generation Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist. He pioneered Cable Television, built a Media and Entertainment conglomerate (UTV Software Communications) that partnered with News Corp, 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company and Bloomberg and later in 2012 he divested the company to Disney for an enterprise value of 1.4 billion.

And now Ronnie Screwvala backed start-up upGrad has planned an ambitious Rs 175-crore branding and marketing campaign in 2020.

Dealing in 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.

With Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Ravijot Chugh, and Phalgun Kompalli as co-founders, 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.

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” said Screwvala. 

Ronnie has been named on Esquire's List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century and ranked 78 among the 100 most influential people in the world on the Time 100. He was also listed amongst 25 Asia’s Most Powerful people by Fortune Magazine and titled the Jack Warner of India by Newsweek.

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