The 56th episode of MVP – The Master’s Voice Podcast series, features Ronnie Screwvala - Chairperson & Co-Founder of upGrad, and the wonderful first-generation Indian entrepreneur, philanthropist, opinion leader and author and a truly remarkable and inspiring, visionary enterprise leader who exemplifies the MVP acronym of Most Valuable Player in our podcast series title.
Along with upGrad, which zeroes in on the massive Online Education market and the fact that Learning for every working professional is now a lifelong commitment, Ronnie also co-founded The Swades Foundation (along with his wife Zarina), which is committed to empowering one million lives in rural India every 5-7 years through a 360 degree model spanning Water, Sanitation, Health, Education and Livelihood, to help lift them out of poverty permanently.
These initiatives stemmed from Ronnie’s desire to deepen his commitment to making India a better place through a focus on two of the largest sunrise sectors - Online Education & the not-for-profit rural / social space.
In this episode, which will benefit startups and investors alike, Ronnie shares rich insights on a gamut of areas, from a beautiful mid point between investor and startup owner, but that’s just the point he speaks from. Ronnie’s words, as anyone who knows him, are pure, direct, plain-speak, sans any mincing.
From the perspective of someone who has built and is scaling a global enterprise like the remarkable UpGrad, Ronnie speaks about the macro picture in the EdTech space, and shares his views on whether he believes money talks during the phase of building a business when investors and capital seem to be the most important thing.
On his clear vision and plan for upGrad over the next 3 to 5 years, and whether he will merge, sell or list, Ronnie says he is absolutely fixated on Building upGrad to not just last, but to outlast. That is a total and complete commitment, and while listing might be an option, he says selling never was, and never will be.
On the fact that India has crossed 100 unicorns, Ronnie speaks of the need to be balanced between the champagne of celebration and the deep thought of introspection. He believes it is incorrect to assume that for K12, which has been the darling of everyone from investors to media to consumers, the honeymoon is over because the K12 model built by companies so far is under stress -- purely because there is a massive opportunity for K12 in India.
Ronnie shares how, despite having raised the least amount of cash, UpGrad has scaled very well with only a little capital. He shares his vision and approach, and his view on if, with more capital, UpGrad would have been at a different scale than it is at present.
His answer to a pointed question about
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