Indian edtech firm Unacademy in talks with SoftBank to raise funding: Report

(From left to right) Unacademy Founders Roman Saini, Gaurav Munjal and Hemesh Singh

Facebook-backed online learning platform Unacademy is in talks with Japanese investment behemoth SoftBank to raise funding, per a report by Money Control.

Negotiations are said to be at an advanced stage.

If talks fructify, Softbank could lead a $150-200 million funding round in Unacademy at a valuation of $1.2 billion, thereby making it a unicorn, added the report, quoting sources.

The proposed transaction highlights how edtech startups in India are increasingly becoming favourites of risk capital investors amidst the COVID-19 crisis that has spruced up demand for online learning.

Unacademy, run by Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd, was established in 2015. Having begun as a YouTube channel, it today has over 200,000 subscribers on its paid platform Unacademy Plus.

Unacademy offers learning programmes for school students and those appearing for entrance exams across diverse categories – those as specialized as civil services exams and MBA.

The company recently made headlines when it acquired edtech startup PrepLadder for $50 million to expand its medical entrance examination category such as NEET PG and FMGE.

According to data compiled by Tracxn, so far this year, India has witnessed about 53 fundraising rounds totalling $735.5 million.

Amongst significant transactions that have been sealed in the sector, edtech unicorn Byju’s recently raised an undisclosed amount from Mary Meeker’s technology investment firm Bond. Earlier in June, we at DealStreetAsia had reported about Byju’s being in talks with Hong Kong-headquartered Baring Private Equity Asia, as it looks to rake in a total of about $500-600 million in fresh financing to expand its operations.

In February 2020, Unacademy was reported to raise about $110 million in Series E financing from investors including Facebook and General Atlantic.

Other Indian edtech startups that raised capital this year include Cuemath, Vedantu, Pariksha, and Classplus and Flinto Learning Solutions, among others.

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.