UpGrad, an online education startup co-founded by entrepreneur-cum-private investor Ronnie Screwvala, has appointed former Bluestone.com executive Anshul Khandelwal as marketing head.
Khandelwal will report to UpGrad managing director Mayank Kumar and would also be responsible for positioning and branding at the company.
Before joining UpGrad, Khandelwal worked with jewelry e-tailer BlueStone as vice president of marketing. He has also worked with 3M’s healthcare division, Mahindra & Mahindra and GlobalLogic in the past.
UpGrad, owned and operated by U Education Management Private Limited, is an online higher education platform founded by Screwvala and Kumar along with Ravijot Chugh and Prabhav Phalgun in March 2015.
Media industry veteran Screwvala became a private investor after selling UTV to Disney. He floated Unilazer Ventures around three years ago after selling UTV. Unilazer has been making private investments in segments such as consumer services, agriculture, healthcare, education and microfinance.
UpGrad is the second independent venture for Screwvala. He had earlier floated Unilazer Sports to focus on sports management, besides being involved with sports academies by creating intellectual properties and franchises in two or three select sports disciplines.
Kumar, who earned his bachelor’s degree from IIT Delhi and an MBA from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, was a vice president at Bertelsmann India Investments before joining Screwvala. Prior to Bertelsmann, he had worked as a senior principal at the Parthenon Group, an education-focused strategy consulting firm and Tata Strategic Management Group.
Chugh, an IIT-Delhi graduate, worked with Housing.com and The Parthenon Group besides co-founding social travel platform 36hrs.in. Kompalli, also an IIT-Delhi alumnus, worked with The Parthenon Group and Opera Solutions in the past.
UpGrad provides personalised education to working professionals, and caters to the specific requirements of new-age industries.
The startup launched its first course on entrepreneurship in November last year. It plans to introduce courses on digital marketing, angel investment and product management, in addition to its upcoming data analytics diploma in association with IIIT Bangalore.
The company had announced earlier that the venture involves an initial investment of Rs 100 crore (around $16 million) in the first phase which would go mainly into content, interactivity, platform, technology, assessments, adaptive learning, marketing and building a national footprint.
Among other players in the same segment, US-based Udacity had raised $105 million (around Rs 695.1 crore) in Series D round of funding in November 2015 at a valuation of $1 billion. The massive open online courses (MOOC) startup provides specialised software training and vocational courses through its nanodegree programmes.
Delhi-based Earth Education Valley Pvt Ltd, which owns the online education platform EduKart.com, had raised $1 million from United Finsec, Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan Ventures and early-stage fund 500 Startups. It offers industry-relevant international programmes and certificate courses for working professionals and students pursuing higher education.