Sequoia, Steadview lead $50m funding in edtech startup Unacademy

Unacademy Co-founders (L to R), Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Gaurav Munjal

Online education start-up Unacademy, operated by Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd, on Wednesday said it has closed a $50-million Series D funding round from Steadview Capital, Sequoia India, Nexus Venture Partners and Blume Ventures.

Aakrit Vaish, co-founder & CEO of Haptik, and Sujeet Kumar, co-founder & CEO of Udaan, also participated in the round, along with Unacademy founders, Gaurav Munjal and Roman Saini, it said in a statement.

Unacademy will use the funding to onboard more educators, fuel growth across multiple exam categories and build its product and team.

With the latest round, the startup’s total funding has reached $88.5 million till date.

Commenting on the fundraise, Munjal said, “We are seeing unprecedented growth and engagement from learners in smaller towns and cities, and are also very humbled to see that top-quality educators are choosing Unacademy as their primary platform to reach out to students.”

“We have more than 400 top educators from across the country taking live classes every day on Unacademy Plus. This is available to every student, irrespective of their location. By leveraging technology and high-quality educators, we aim to move closer to our mission of democratising education at all levels, starting with test prep,” he added.

Unacademy, which was founded by Munjal, Saini and Hemesh Singh in 2015, helps educators create educational lessons on the educator app, that learners in turn can access via the learning app. The platform, which started as a YouTube channel offering free tutorials, currently claims to have more than 10,000 registered educators and 13 million learners.

The company also said that its newly launched service Unacademy Plus Subscription services has added more than 50,000 learners till date. The service is available for more than 20 exam categories.

The company had previously raised a Series C round of $21 million in July 2018 from Sequoia India, SAIF Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, and others. In October 2018, Unacademy acquired Jaipur-based online education and career portal Wifistudy, an educational YouTube channel.

One of its close competitors in the edtech space, Byju’s, has grown into a unicorn, a moniker applied to private startups valued at over $1 billion. Recently, Business Standard reported that Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the state of Qatar, is close to pumping in $200-250 million for about a 5 per cent stake in Byju’s.

Founded in 2008, Byju’s has raised $819.8 million in funding till date.

Another player operating in the space, Toppr, had raised $35 million in a Series C round led by education-focused investor Kaizen Private Equity, venture debt firm Alteria Capital and Brand Capital, the investment arm of media house Times Group, in December last year.

 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.