UpGrad’s chief executive officer (CEO) Arjun Mohan will be departing from the edtech startup, he wrote in a LinkedIn post on Tuesday. FE has learnt that UpGrad was not looking to immediately replace him.
While Mohan did not shed light on the reasons for his resignation, Reuters reported that it was because UpGrad was trying to slash marketing costs and become profitable. Mohan had put down his papers in December and January 15 would be his last working day, the report added.
Mohan steps down at a time when Indian edtech startups have been struggling to raise capital at the same pace as they did in 2021, especially being impacted by a funding slowdown. Edtech funding in CY2021 hit a record high of $4.2 billion across 310 rounds, much higher than the $2.3 billion raised across 220 rounds in CY2019. In CY22, the total capital infusion into edtechs nearly halved to CY21, according to Tracxn data.
To pave a path towards profitability, UpGrad, along with several other edtechs like Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu, has sacked some of its employees.
“…am confident that I’m leaving the organisation in able hands for its next phase of growth and profitability. I started my journey in education sector in the year 2008 and believe that still there is a lot more to be done to solve the persistent problems of access, affordability and quality. So I’m in the exploration phase of what I can to do in education next,” Mohan said.
“I am currently in an exploration phase and figuring out the next steps as in if I will join an organisation or start something of my own. One thing I’m clear about is that I want to continue working in edtech and education,” he added.
Before jumping ship to UpGrad in April 2020, Mohan was employed with Byju’s, the world’s most-valued edtech startup and also UpGrad’s direct competitor, where he last served as the chief business officer for over a decade.
UpGrad, founded by Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar and Phalgun Kompalli, has raised over $600 million from Temasek, Bharti Enterprises and Bodhi Tree among others, and is valued at around $2.2 billion, according to Tracxn data.