India: Unacademy turns unicorn with $150m funding led by SoftBank

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Bengaluru-based edtech startup Unacademy has achieved the unicorn status with a whopping $150-million funding led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which has invested through its Vision Fund 2.

The financing also saw participation of existing investors General Atlantic, Sequoia India, Nexus, Facebook and Blume Ventures. The latest round has valued the company at $1.45 billion, founder Gaurav Munjal tweeted Wednesday.

Unacademy is now the only edtech startup after Byju’s to have bagged the unicorn tag, a term used to describe a privately-held firm that is valued at $1 billion or above. Byju’s was reportedly valued at about $10.5 billion when it raised funding from Mary Meeker’s technology investment firm Bond in June.

Unacademy plans to utilise the funds to launch new products, and build a world-class team and organisation.

“Learning from the best experts to achieve a life goal has mostly been a privilege, available only to those living in the top few cities of the country. At Unacademy, we are breaking that barrier and helping people achieve their life’s most important goals, by giving them access to the best coaching from experts in the field. We’re delighted to welcome SoftBank as a partner to that vision. We started with test preparation and with this partnership, we will launch other goals on our platform,”
Munjal said in a press statement.

Run by Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Unacademy was established by Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh in 2015. Having begun as a YouTube channel, Unacademy today claims to be the largest learning platform in India with a vast network of 18,000+ educators and over 350,000+ subscribers. The company caters to the learning needs for 35+ competitive exams.

In February, Unacademy had raised $110 million from Facebook and General Atlantic at reportedly $510 million valuation. It also made the headlines in July when it had acquired edtech startup PrepLadder for $50 million to expand its medical entrance examination category such as NEET PG and FMGE. The same month, it also picked up a majority stake in Mastree, a leading K12 learning platform.

“We have been closely tracking Unacademy for the last 18 months and have been impressed by their growth, quality of product and consumer engagement. They are truly democratizing education in India and we look forward to helping them scale even further,” Sumer Juneja, Partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers, said.

SoftBank has already deployed $10 billion across Indian startups, including OYO, Grofers, Lenskart, Delhivery, FirstCry, Ola, PayTM, and PolicyBazaar. The group has also been assisting a number of these firms to tap international markets. It has, however, been going slow on investments globally after the WeWork debacle.

Unacadmy is SoftBank’s second investment in India this year, after it invested about $300 million against fresh equity shares in baby and mother care products retailer FirstCry in February.

 

 

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.