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Edtech platform for higher education upGrad has acquired upskilling platform KnowledgeHut to mark its entry into the short-duration course segment, it said on Monday.

The acquisition will also allow upGrad to double down its presence and offerings for the international geographies of North America, West Asia and Southeast Asia. At present, these markets contribute to 65% of KnowledgeHut’s overall revenues.

The majority of courses on upGrad range between six and 24 months. The KnowledgeHut acquisition will allow upGrad to now offer 10- to 100 days long refresher courses to its more than 1 million registered user base.

The edtech platform has been aggressively focusing on its international foray into Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, as well as the UK, West Asia, North Africa and the US, this year. It expects 40% of its revenues to come from international markets over the next two years, the company told Mint earlier.

The current acquisition is part of upGrad’s $250 million corpus, which it recently earmarked for acquisitions to drive its inorganic international growth over the next 7-9 months. The KnowledgeHut deal is estimated to be about $35 million, said persons in the industry who are aware of the development.

KnowledgeHut will continue to work independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary of upGrad, with founder Subramanyam Reddy serving as its chief executive officer (CEO) .

KnowledgeHut helps corporates upskill their employees and provides 200 professional certification courses on its platform across 10 segments of web development, machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. upGrad plans to scale course offerings on KnowledgeHut’s platform to 400 in the coming year.

“We felt that there were a lot of synergies between KnowledgeHut and upGrad, during our diligence process. Apart from the international revenues, we get to push more offerings to global markets through this acquisition. Further, customers coming on KnowledgeHut for refresher courses can later move to the upGrad for more in-depth learning. In the next 18 months, we look to scale KnowledgeHut to overtake competitors like Simplilearn by revenues," said upGrad co-founder and chairperson, Ronnie Screwvala in an interaction with Mint.

KnowledgeHut is upGrad’s second acquisition in 2021, which earlier acquired video-learning solutions provider Impartus for 150 crore in May. Overall, upGrad has made seven acquisitions and acqui-hires till date, including KnowledgeHut.

In 2020, upGrad acquired The Gate Academy to foray into the competitive test preparation segment, and staffing solutions platform, Rekrut India, to help its learners get placements.

Since inception, KnowledgeHut claims to have trained over 250,000 professionals and worked with over 500 enterprises to upskill and reskill their workforce. The platform claims to have customers across 70 countries. On its website, KnowledgeHut lists large conglomerates as its clientele including Intel, HSBC, Amazon, Boeing, Coca Cola and IBM, among others.

“With our focus on short-term professional upskilling, KnowledgeHut is driving outcome-based immersive learning for global technologists and the wider professional community. Given our position in global markets, this synergy with upGrad will further strengthen and support that vision. The acquisition paves the way for upGrad to empower B2B customer segments across geographies including the United States and the Asia Pacific," said Subramanyam Reddy, CEO, upGrad KnowledgeHut.

KnowledgeHut is expected to cross 300 crore (roughly $40 million) in revenue next year, with international markets continuing to contribute to 65% of its overall revenues, it said.

At present, upGrad also provides enterprise learning solutions to corporates through its business-to-business (B2B) arm, upGrad for Business.

Competition in the upskilling and reskilling segment is heating up with Indian edtechs like BYJU’s and Unacademy doubling down on the space.

Recently, BYJU’s acquired upskilling platform Great Learning, foraying into the space. The company is expected to have shelled out $600 million for the acquisition. Rival Unacademy has said it will focus on the upskilling segment after raising $440 million led by Temasek Holdings on Monday.

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