Unacademy On Acquisition Spree, Gets Majority Stake in Mastree for US$5M

Unacademy has closed a slew of deals in the first half of 2020, including a US$110M Series E

India-based online learning startup Unacademy has made a “strategic investment” in Mastree for a majority stake that cost it US$5 million, effectively acquiring the startup, the company announced in a statement yesterday.

The acquisition will help the company, which is growing in size in the edtech space, to strengthen its K-12 offerings and build products in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) category, the statement said.

It added that Blume Ventures has also exited its Unacademy investment, but did not disclose further details. Blume Ventures has invested in all of Unacademy’s rounds till date, from its seed round in 2016, to its $110 million Series E round in February this year, according to Crunchbase data.

The company’s list of backers include prominent names such as Facebook, General Atlantic, Sequoia India, and SAIF Partners.

“Unacademy and Mastree have a shared vision, and together we want to create an impact and make quality education accessible and affordable,” Co-founder and CEO of Unacademy, Gaurav Munjal said in the statement.

He added that Mastree is building a subscription product that can potentially “change the way students learn.”

Mastree, founded in October 2019, is creating a “one-stop subscription product” for middle school STEAM tracks. The product will include live classes in math, science, and soft skills, as well as unlimited personalized practice and live quizzes for students from grades 5 through 8, the statement said.

2020 has been a big year for Unacademy so far, with Mastree being its fourth acquisition of the year so far.

Earlier this month, the 2015-founded company acquired PrepLadder, an exam preparation platform for postgraduate medical students, for $50 million.

Prior to the deal, Unacademy acquired CodeChef in June for an undisclosed amount, the competitive programming platform announced via its official blog.

Unacademy also announced its acquisition of Kreatryx in April this year in a cash and stock deal for an undisclosed amount.

These three acquisitions join Wifistudy (which it acquired in 2018), and in-house brands Graphy, Chamomile Tea with Toppers, and Let’s Crack It, alongside the core Unacademy and Unacademy Subscription verticals, according to the company.

The edtech space is heavily populated with players, with the likes of Vedantu, Toppr, and Indian edtech unicorn BYJU’s competing staunchly for a slice of the pie, in addition to smaller players as well.

Reports suggest that the K-12 edtech market in India may grow by as much as six times, to reach $1.7 billion in 2022 from $265 million in 2019.

The market is attracting big investors such as Google, which has announced a $1 million grant for Indian students through its global distance learning fund, and also partnered with an Indian education board for online education tools.

The market has received a boost during COVID-19 due to an austere two-month lockdown in India to contain the virus. In fact, Munjal has previously said in an interview that Unacademy has grown three-fold in revenue, watch time, and views since the outbreak began. Its April 2020 revenues were higher than the combined revenues from 2017 to the first half of 2019.

At the same time, the report suggests that the growth in the market has been a development in the making for some time, due to increased investment inflows for edtech companies and increasing household digitization in India.

It is worth noting, however, that education in India is plagued by chronic problems such as poor teacher training and substandard elementary education performance.

This puts startups like Unacademy in a uniquely challenging position, where they are faced with massive untapped market potential, the key to which lies in solving India’s problems with access to quality education.

Header image by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

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