Online Travel Platform Yatra.com Diversifies Into EdTech; Partners With upGrad Enterprise

Yatra seeks to become an end-to-end business solution provider with the latest partnership

Yatra Online Inc., an Indian online corporate travel platform, has entered into a strategic partnership with upGrad Enterprise, the B2B arm of Indian edtech startup upGrad, in a bid to diversify its portfolio and offset the negative impact of COVID-19, the company announced in a press release yesterday.

The travel sector has been hit the hardest by the global pandemic that triggered the closing of borders and implementation of movement restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. With this alliance, whose financial details were not disclosed, Yatra aims to diversify its portfolio beyond travel, and offer advance learning and skill development for employees to Yatra’s corporate clients.

upGrad Enterprise will work closely with Yatra’s corporate and SME clientele, offering a deployment-ready workforce within six months, in order to decrease employee attrition and align learning and development plans with the wider business growth strategy, according to the press release.

upGrad Enterprise will be providing deep skill development programs that align with the client’s desired business outcomes to deliver impact at scale, says the press report.

The strategic alliance will allow Yatra’s corporate and SME clientele to upskill employees through human-assisted learning expertise combined with a cutting edge curriculum, collaboration with leading global faculty and industry experts, and an immersive online platform, according to the press release.

Dhruv Shringi, Co-founder and CEO of Yatra said, “In a tough economic climate, it is important to develop and re-skill the workforce to overcome the challenges being presented. We are excited to join forces with upGrad to provide a platform to our clients who are looking to develop employees’ potential specific to their businesses or a sector.”

“This unique partnership further paves our way to become an end-to-end business solution provider to our clients,” he added.

Co-founder and Managing Director of upGrad, Mayank Kuman said, “The unprecedented rate of technology advancement is disrupting companies and jobs everywhere. Across verticals, enterprises face barriers to this adoption due to skill-gap in their talent pool. Such barriers can be crippling, hampering business growth.”

“Our strategic partnership with Yatra, which is absolutely first of its kind and creates a new milestone in the education industry, will be focused towards bridging this workforce skill-gap,” he added.

Lockdowns in India, which began in late March, were almost lifted when parts of the country had to go under lockdown again amid a second wave of infections. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of online education worldwide as most schools remain shut amid the lockdowns.

Investment in startups has declined considerably since the beginning of the pandemic, with India’s total VC investments falling to $2.2 billion in Q1 2020, according to KPMG’s Venture Pulse report – a sharp drop when compared to $10 billion worth of PE-VC deals in the same period in 2019.

However, investments in edtech startups saw a drastic increase, with Indian edtech startups collectively bagging $795 million in H1 2020, representing 20% of overall VC investments, compared to $108 million a year ago, according to a Venture Intelligence report. Apart from healthcare, learning technologies have emerged as the only sector in India to report a growth in the number of investment deals this year.

India, with its huge population, holds immense potential for edtech startups as the country looks to increasingly digitize education. On Monday, Google announced a strategic partnership with the Central Board of Secondary Education to enable over 1 million teachers from 22,000 Indian schools to deliver blended learning by combining classroom approach with free tools like G-Suite for education, Google classrooms, etc.

By venturing into the increasingly popular edtech landscape, Yatra may be able to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and survive the pandemic.

Header image by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

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