Ronnie Screwvala’s investments range from edtech to e-commerce and media

Ronnie Screwvala’s investments range from edtech to e-commerce and media
Ronnie ScrewvalaBCCL
  • Ronnie Screwvala, who is a well-known name in Bollywood, and an entrepreneur who created a media conglomerate, has also set up a strong base in the Indian startup ecosystem.
  • He set up the edtech firm upGrad in 2015.
  • But even before that, Screwvala has been an active investor in Indian startups through his firm Unilazer ventures.
It seems like there’s no stopping Ronnie Screwvala, the media mogul and entrepreneur.

Screwvala, who set up the media and entertainment company UTV Motion Pictures and sold to Disney for a whopping ₹2000 crore, went on to found another production house RSVP Movies in 2014. In recent years, RSVP has produced movies like The Sky is Pink, Kedarnath, Ghost Stories and more.

But Screwvala’s popularity is not just limited to Bollywood; he has also set up a strong base in the Indian startup ecosystem. Along with being the co-founder of the edtech firm upGrad, he has also long been an investor in the startup ecosystem, having set up an investment firm – Unilazer Ventures.

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Here’s a look at how Ronnie Screwvala has solidified his startup presence

Screwvala set up Unilazer ventures in 2012, after selling his stake in UTV. Since then, the investment firm has gone on to bet on over 30 Indian startups. Unilazer Ventures focuses on early-stage startups across sectors.

Some of Screwvala’s investments


Total EnvironmentCareer GuideEkStopOyeLifePremier India Football AcademyZipDial

The latest to join the list of investments from Screwvala is the celebrity fan engagement portal TrueFan. The six-month-old startup founded by Nimish Goel, Nevaid Aggarwal, and Devender Bindal has raised $4.3 million in seed funding by investors like Ronnie Screwvala, Mayfield India, and Saama Capital.

“When Nimish approached me on TrueFan, three things struck me: firstly, any product driven by technology is going to soar in the 2020 decade. Secondly, this is the perfect blend of gamification meets media meets content. Thirdly, the simplicity of the idea allows the product to seep through the wide, Indian user-base. For me, it is ideas like these that will really stay the course,” said Screwvala in a statement.

Unilazer Exits

Unilazer has marked three exits already, with its invested startups being acquired.

Startup, sectorAcquired by
Shopclues, e-commerceQoo10
Micro Housing Finance Corporation, fintechSvatantra
Zivame, e-commerceReliance

Building upGrad

The five-year-old startup upGrad has made a mark in the edtech sector. The higher education platform claims to have impacted over half a million people globally and has collaborated with universities like IIT Madras, IIIT Bangalore, MICA, NMIMS Global Access, Jindal Global Law School, Duke CE, Deakin University, Liverpool John Moores University, and others.

With the coronavirus lockdown boosting online learning, the startup now expects a ₹1,200 crore annual run rate with profitability. The startup also expects a 100% increase in repeat enrollments in the portal.

“Last quarter around 15% of the revenue booked, has been solely driven by repeat purchase and evangelism by our existing alumni. As we scale our program portfolio and continue our alumni engagement initiatives like advanced certification program, exclusive leadership webinars, personalised career mentorship, regular community newsletters, subject-specific newsletters, we expect around 4000 enrolments to come solely through our alumni in the form of repeat purchase and referral this year,” Screwvala said about their growth plan, recently.

upGrad’s latest funding was a ₹50 crore debt fund from IIFL Asset Management.

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