India: Unacademy amasses $110m from Facebook, General Atlantic, others

Photo: Reuters

Bengaluru-based edtech startup Unacademy on Wednesday announced that it has raised $110 million in a Series E funding round led by social networking giant Facebook and global private equity firm General Atlantic.

The round also saw the participation of existing investors Sequoia India, Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital, and Blume Ventures. Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart and Sujeet Kumar, co-founder of Udaan, too, joined the round, according to a company statement.

The round has reportedly valued Unacademy at $510 million.

In addition to raising the funding, Unacademy also provided exits to some of the angel investors, the statement added.

The edtech startup said it will use the funding proceeds to further penetrate the test preparation categories, launch more exam categories, acquire top educators, and create exceptional learning experiences for the learners through content and product.

“With this investment in Unacademy, we are reinforcing our commitment to the Indian startup ecosystem as well as investing in a company that is transforming learning in India. We love that the company is fundamentally democratising education and driving innovation in new learning models,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, said.

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 edtech startup now claims to have over 10,000 educators, and more than one million videos on its platform.

“We are seeing great learning outcomes through our subscription where learners can take live classes by these educators. We now have more than 90,000 active subscribers. We thank General Atlantic and Facebook who have joined us in this journey and our existing investors who continue to be a part of the journey by supporting us,” Unacademy co-founder Gaurav Munjal said.

Unacademy, operated by Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd, last raised $50 million in Series D funding round from Steadview Capital, Sequoia India, Nexus Venture Partners and Blume Ventures in June 2019. 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.

One of its close competitors in the edtech space, Byju’s, too, counts General Atlantic among its list of backers. Earlier this month, General Atlantic reportedly infused $200 million into Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd, the education technology firm that owns and operates learning app Byju’s.

Last month, the edtech unicorn also raised $200 million funding from New York-based investment firm Tiger Global at a striking $8 billion valuation.

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.