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Unacademy Elevates CMO Karan Shroff To Cofounder-Like ‘Partner’ Position

Unacademy Elevates CMO Karan Shroff To Cofounder-Like ‘Partner’ Position

Shroff has been with the company since 2019, when he joined as VP of marketing

Before Unacademy, he was the head of brand marketing for Xiaomi India

Earlier this month, Unacademy announced its largest ESOP buyback programme worth $10.5 Mn

Edtech unicorn Unacademy has elevated its chief marketing officer Karan Shroff to the position of partner, which is part of the company’s internal ‘Partner’ program for employees.

Unacademy Group CEO Gaurav Munjal said that the partner position is akin to being a cofounder of the company and the program has been instituted to recognise key leaders within Unacademy. Shroff is who has been leading Unacademy’s marketing and advertising efforts, has been with the company since 2019, when he joined as VP of marketing.

Before joining Unacademy, Shroff was the head of brand marketing for electronics giant Xiaomi India. In a series of tweets, Shroff thanked the founders of Unacademy and added, “I’ve seen a lot of hard times and faced a lot of rejections, only to learn that success is not an activity but a process, and with that, I hope to drive this process with my head down, staying focused and continue to work endlessly.

Founded in 2015 by Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh, and Gaurav Munjal as a Youtube channel, today, Unacademy has raised a total funding of $398.5 Mn over 11 rounds. The Unacademy platform currently comprises 4,000+ educators who cater to the learning needs of 600,000+ active subscribers.

Karan Shroff, Unacademy's new partner
Karan Shroff, Unacademy’s CMO and partner

Indian startups have leveraged internal promotions and elevations as a retention strategy for senior talent and key employees. This is in addition to executing buybacks of employee stock options (ESOPs) to create wealth across teams. While typically, startups elevate key personnel to cofounder position, as seen in the case of Zomato, Unacademy has chosen to call them ‘Partners’, a position which is more commonly seen in venture capital firms. After promoting Gaurav Gupta to cofounder in 2019, Zomato elevated Mohit Gupta to cofounder in 2020. Other startups such as Medlife, Dailyhunt, Pesto Tech and others have also brought on cofounders after launch.

Earlier this month, Unacademy announced its largest ESOP buyback programme worth $10.5 Mn for employees and teachers, the third such ESOP buyback in the company’s history. Besides ESOPs, in July, Unacademy also introduced teacher stock option plan (TSOP) to offer its base of teachers and educators some shares in the company. The company’s partner educators would be eligible for stock options after completion of three, four, and five years with the startup.