Edtech startup upGrad acquires recruitment firm Rekrut India to increase career outcomes for learners

By acquiring Rekrut India, upGrad plans to grow in paid learner base by 300 percent and drive career outcomes for 1.2 million learners by FY25.

Edtech startup upGrad acquires recruitment firm Rekrut India to increase career outcomes for learners

Tuesday December 15, 2020,

3 min Read

upGrad, the online higher learning edtech startup, has acquired recruitment and staffing solutions company, Rekrut India.

This 100 percent acquisition is a first in India where an edtech company has acquired a recruitment firm. This allows upGrad to have complete involvement in the lifecycle of a learner – from education to employment. The size of the deal was undisclosed, but upGrad says that Rekrut gets access to more than half-a-million learners that have completed their courses on upGrad. 

Speaking with YourStory, upGrad Co-founders Ronnie Screvwala and Mayank Kumar said that this acquisition allows the former and current students of upGrad, including their alumni network, to get access to Rekrut's hiring network. 


Ajay Shah, Managing Founder of Mumbai-based startup Rekrut India, spent 15 years at TeamLease before starting up in 2020. Rekrut has an extensive network of over 100 recruiting experts that handle complexities in hiring. The startup works closely with many corporates, MSMEs, and large enterprises.

Driving ROI of education through career outcomes has been a core differentiator for the edtech major, upGrad. The acquisition of Rekrut will turbocharge its career engine by opening up wider placement opportunities and enabling upGrad learners to access Rekrut’s hiring partners.

upGrad Co-founders Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, and Phalgun Kompalli, in a joint statement, said, “Rekrut will now open the floodgate of career opportunities for upGrad learners. Hence, we are thrilled to announce the onboarding of the team –, a significant step in making upGrad a career powerhouse for professionals. This move is integrally aligned with our company’s vision of powering career success for every member of the global workforce as their trusted lifelong learning partner.”

Phalgun Kompalli, Ronnie Screwvala and Mayank Kumar of upGrad

Post the acquisition, Rekrut India will become a 100 percent subsidiary of upGrad. The company will operate independently, with Ajay Shah continuing as the Managing Director. 

The recruitment sector is a Rs 15,000-crore market, and upGrad says it firmly believes an independent business in this sector will provide strong non-linear growth opportunities for the edtech major.

“Currently, in the market we operate in, we don’t give jobs to people; we give people to jobs. This is predominantly due to the skill gap in India. The upGrad-Rekrut synergy will disrupt the ecosystem and build an end-to-end supply chain of manpower, where Rekrut is the demand partner providing cutting-edge jobs and upGrad will supply the highly skilled, and future-ready talent. We will be taking the learners’ pipeline to the relevant industry stakeholders, thereby helping them find the right talent with speed, while also offering a wider choice of career transition for upGrad learners,” said Ajay Shah, Managing Director, Rekrut India.  

“Our M&A strategy is focused towards building a wider higher education and career ecosystem and Rekrut fits in perfectly with its capabilities to drive tangible ROI for our learners. upGrad’s plans of 300 percent growth in its paid learner base and driving career outcomes for these 1.2 million learners by FY2025, will be further accelerated with this strategic acquisition,” added Gaurav Kumar, President - Corporate Development, upGrad.

The acquisition comes at a time when online education has started to gain greater acceptance with recruiters, thereby thawing the age-old offline-online perception divide regarding hiring talent. Prior to Rekrut, upGrad’s in-house career services team was reaching out to around 100-200 hiring partners in a year and drove over 1,000 career transitions in 2020, with an average salary hike of 44 percent. 

With Rekrut’s expertise and core business driving placements, upGrad is fairly confident that its current volume will boost by 10X and drive meaningful and speedy career outcomes at scale for learners.

Edited by Kanishk Singh