Unicorn CEO Steps Down: Arjun Mohan exits upGrad
A top-level departure that comes when the sector is reeling from growth challenges
10 January 2023
Arjun Mohan, the Chief Executive of Indian online education firm upGrad, has stepped down, as he informed Reuters on Tuesday.
Mohan's statement did not make it clear why he was leaving.
The departure took place while the company was working on cutting internal costs and reaching profitability goals.
Ronnie Screwvala-led edtech major upGrad’s CEO Arjun Mohan, has decided to quit the company and has resigned from his position, he said in a Linkedin post. The departure is happening amidst a difficult time for edtech startups in the country, which are facing a shortage of funding and increasing losses. As startups sought to control expenses and achieve profitability, the edtech industry has experienced a significant number of layoffs in the past year.
“After almost 3 years at the helm, I have decided to move out of upGrad… While I look back on the years at UpGrad, I feel happy about the incredible company we have built which helped so many working professionals upskill. The aspects of growth and other metrics were just outcomes of giving the customers what they aspired for,” Mohan said in the post.
Although Mohan's statement did not reveal the reason for his departure, Reuters has learned from three sources familiar with the situation that the executive resigned in December, but the company kept the information private.
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"I have decided to move out of upGrad after almost 3 years of service as the CEO India business. My last day of employment will be 15th Jan," Mohan said in the statement after Reuters reached out for comment.
UpGrad, which was valued at over $2 billion last year and partners with local and foreign universities to offer online MBA and executive education courses, is supported by investors such as Temasek and James Murdoch's Lupa Systems.
Mohan, who spent over a decade at Byju's, another troubled edtech firm and one of India's most valuable startups valued at $22 billion with investors such as Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, now competes with the company through UpGrad.
The ecosystem is facing pressure from funding as well -- Indian startups raised $24 billion in the previous year, a decline of a third from the amount raised in 2021, as investors grew more cautious about high valuations amid a tumultuous stock market that had a negative impact on tech shares worldwide.