Bengaluru-headquartered edtech startup Unacademy is the latest entrant in India’s unicorn club (startups with a valuation of more than $1 Bn). With its latest round of funding worth $150 Mn led by Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank, Unacademy’s valuation now stands at $1.45 Bn, up from $510 Mn in February when it had last raised funds worth $110 Mn in a Series E round. The recent funding round also saw participation from existing investors Facebook Inc, Sequoia Capital, Blume Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners,
Unacademy cofounder and CEO Gaurav Munjal made the announcement of the funding on Twitter on Wednesday (September 2). “Our goal always has been to democratise knowledge and make it more affordable and accessible by getting the best experts in the world to help everyone achieve their goals,” Munjal wrote on the microblogging site.
The funding announcement comes amid growing interest in the edtech space, which has boomed in India during the Covid-19 induced lockdown, with a lot of startups opting for mergers and exits while witnessing peak sales and demand, thus attaining a better valuation. In the Indian edtech sector, Unacademy is now second only to another Bengaluru-headquartered edtech startup BYJU’S, which boasts of a $10 Bn valuation.
The announcement of the funding comes just days after the company was officially roped in by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as an official partner for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 edition. Unacademy had originally bid for title sponsorship rights for the league but lost out to another Indian startup, fantasy sports platform Dream11.
Unacademy’s Wave Of Acquisitions
Founded in 2015 by Gaurav Munjal, Hemesh Singh, Roman Saini and Sachin Gupta, Unacademy claims to have 30 Mn registered users and around 3,50,000 paying subscribers. The startup focusses on the K12 segment and also offers lessons for competitive exams preparation. In recent times, Unacademy has also begun offering lessons on skill development and chess.
In July, Unacademy acquired edtech startup Mastree to strengthen its presence in the K12 segment. Mastree is building a one-stop subscription product for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) courses, for classes 5–8. The Mastree acquisition came just a week after Unacademy had acquired another PrepLadder, which offers lessons for postgraduate medical entrance exam preparation. Earlier this year, the company also acquired Kreatryx to strengthen its presence in the GATE and ESE segment, and CodeChef, which offers programming courses for learners.
By acquiring smaller edtech startups with niche offerings, Unacademy, along with its rival BYJU’S, is seen to be moving closer to becoming an edtech super app.
According to the ‘Future Of India’s $2 Bn Edtech Opportunity Report 2020’, K-12 and test preparation combined will make 66% ($1.3 Bn) of the total online education market size in 2021. Skill development and online certification are expected to account for $463 Mn of the Indian edtech segment, growing at a CAGR of 38% from 2016-21.