Unacademy Snags US$150M Led By SoftBank To Become India’s Second Edtech Unicorn

Unacademy plans to use the latest investments to launch new products and expand its team

Bengaluru-based online learning platform Unacademy has raised US$150 million at a valuation of $1.45 billion, to become the second Indian edtech startup to achieve unicorn status after BYJU’s, Unacademy announced in a press release yesterday.

The round was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, with participation from existing investors General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Facebook, and Blume Ventures, the statement noted.

All documents related to the investment have been signed, and the deal is expected to be closed in the next few weeks, the statement added.

The startup had previously raised $110 million in a Series E round led by General Atlantic and Facebook in February this year and was valued at $510 million post money.

This indicates a jump in the valuation of close to $1 billion in six months, aided by the increasing demand for online education amidst the global pandemic.

Sumer Juneja, Partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers, said, “We have been closely tracking Unacademy for the last 18 months and have been impressed by their growth, quality of product, and consumer engagement. They are truly democratizing education in India and we look forward to helping them scale even further.”

Unacademy will use the fresh funds to launch new products and expand its team in a bid to enable equitable access to education in India, the statement noted.

The 5-year-old unicorn began as a YouTube channel run by Unacademy Co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal to provide high-quality educational videos in 2010. Munjal sold his previous startup to CommonFloor in 2014 and co-founded Unacademy along with Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh in October 2015.

Over five years, Unacademy has expanded its network to include over 18,000 educators, 30 million learners, and more than 350,000 subscribers. The startup claims to be the largest learning platform in India with over two million views every month, according to its website.

“Learning from the best experts to achieve a life goal has mostly been a privilege, available only to those living in the top few cities of the country,” said Munjal in the statement.

“At Unacademy, we are breaking that barrier and helping people achieve their life’s most important goals, by giving them access to the best coaching from experts in the field,” he added.

The startup has been on an acquisition spree for the last few months. It acquired competitive programming platform CodeChef for an undisclosed amount in June this year, following its acquisition of competitive examination prep platform Kreatryx in April for an undisclosed amount.

It also acquired postgraduate medical entrance exam preparation platform PrepLadder for $50 million and online tutoring platform Mastree for $5 million in July.

Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers Munish Varma said, “By bringing quality education to a vast network of students for the first time, Unacademy is bridging the privilege gap in India.”

The K12 edtech market in India is estimated to grow 6.3X from $265 million in 2019 to $1.7 billion by 2022, according to a report by RedSeer and Omidyar Network India.

However, with language barriers, slow or limited access to the Internet, and a technological knowledge gap, amongst other problems, the online education market in India is laced with challenges.

Header image by Thomas Park on Unsplash

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