Bengaluru-based online learning platform Unacademy has raised an additional $1 Mn funding in the second round of external investment. The round was led by Blume Ventures, along with Stanford Angels India, and WaterBridge Ventures.
The round also saw participation from Tracxn Labs and existing investors including Sujeet Kumar (ex-Flipkart), Aprameya Radhakrishnan (TaxiForSure), Phanindra Sama (RedBus), Sumit Jain (CommonFloor) and Vikas Malpani (CommonFloor). The company had raised $500K in first round of funding in April 2016 from Blume and others.
The funds raised in this round will be infused towards product, technology, research and development, and hiring.
Unacademy Journey: Current Status And Future Plans
The startup was founded by Gaurav Munjal (ex-founder and CEO Flatchat) along with Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh, and Sachin Gupta. It was initially launched as an educational YouTube channel in 2011 and as a free learning platform Unacademy in January 2016.
It allows educators to create courses using their app on various subjects, including exclusive content for various competitive exams. All educators go through an interview process and selection is based on their experience.
Kiran Bedi, Lt Governor, Puducherry, and also an educator at Unacademy, says, “It took me ten minutes to make a video lesson on ‘Time management and productivity’ on the Unacademy Create app, and impact a million lives with my learning. The overwhelming response from students, along with the simplicity with which the app has been designed, encourages working professionals to share their experience. It’s truly global and in one’s own hands.”
In a span of eight months, over 300K students have benefited from over 2,400 online lessons and specialised courses. To date, more than 100 educators have created 200+ courses and with more than one million monthly video views, their growth so far has been mostly organic. Also, they have achieved 25 Million video views on their educational lessons till date.
As Gaurav says,
“What started as an experiment has today become one of the most reliable sources of online education. From content specific to competitive examinations to basic english learning techniques, we are in a process to make Unacademy the one-stop destination for online courses across myriad fields and subjects. Some of our students have today become educators on Unacademy and that is what we call a true educational revolution.”
The startup will be launching ‘Unacademy Create’ app, which will allow users to access lessons any language. The relevant lessons, after thorough a screening, will then be made available on the platform.
According to Karthik Reddy, Managing Partner, Blume Ventures,
“Unacademy presents a great example of the beginning of an incredible shift in India’s Internet—the ability of millions of new Internet users using smartphones as their only access device to create and consume high quality curated educational content as easily as laying hands on a textbook. And the product is designed for both lightweight production and consumption—in that it’s ingenious.”
He further explained that this can change learning to an entirely different plane and kill a lot of ineffective institutional frameworks. “And it’s an absolutely crack team of young founders for whom all else, including the IAS, didn’t compare to the ambitious goal and impact that an Unacademy can have. This is why we think tech can be such a game changer even for education in this country,” he added.
Sachin Bansal, Executive Chairman, Flipkart, further believes that education and learning from the best-suited teachers and professionals is a global problem.
I am impressed by the ease with which educators can speedily upload videos and touch a billion lives with effective lessons. I am confident that the strong founding team of Unacademy is well positioned to truly disrupt traditional classroom teaching with more impactful content, and I am proud to back the venture,.
EdTech Market: Flaws, Opportunity And Innovation
Globally, the education market is valued at $1.3 Tn with the EdTech products market valued at $40 Bn. India is poised to be the third-largest online market for education, with a plethora of web- and mobile-based courses and tools available in the currently. Also, India is home to 19% of the world’s youth.
However, even with such wide opportunity base, the Indian EdTech market has not been able to gain momentum like ecommerce and food industry. Data from venture capital analytics firm Tracxn shows that EdTech has received less than one percent of the venture capital flow into India last year. Purple Squirrel, a Mumbai-based ed-tech company, backed by Matrix Partners shut down its operations in lieu of continuously dipping sales and increasing cash burn rate.
The startups which recently raised funding include Notesgen, nhance, Genext Students, Byndr, Qonfuse, CueMath, EduRev, FitKids, iDrreamCareer, ByJu, Testbook and among others.
This reflects that making a high-quality education affordable and accessible to all is a daunting task, especially in a country like India. But the sector has still not lost its valour and is drawing investors attention. However, how efficiently and quickly the startups are able to monetise and keep the growth stack high will play a crucial role in determining the future.
Earlier in May this year, Blume invested an undisclosed amount of funding in the Pre-Series A round of Prepathon, a learning app for competitive exams. Other recent investments of Blume include Bengaluru-based health and fitness app HealthifyMe, loyalty and marketing platform m.Paani solutions, contacts management app InTouchApp, and online wedding planner portal, The Wedding Brigade.