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Steadview Capital joins Unacademy’s investor pool in $50-mn funding round

Steadview Capital joins Unacademy’s investor pool in $50-mn funding round
L to R:- Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Gaurav Munjal, Co-founders, Unacademy

Online learning platform Unacademy has raised $50 million (Rs 346 crore at the current exchange rate) in a Series D funding round from Steadview Capital, Sequoia India, Nexus Venture Partners and Blume Ventures. 

Steadview Capital, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund, is backing Unacademy for the first time while the other firms are existing investors.

Aakrit Vaish, co-founder of virtual assistant provider Haptik, and Sujeet Kumar, co-founder of B2B online marketplace Udaan, also participated in the round along with Unacademy founders Gaurav Munjal and Roman Saini, the company said in a statement.

The startup said it will use the fresh capital to on-board more educators, fuel growth across multiple exam categories and build a world-class product and team.

“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,” Munjal said.

Last October, the company launched a paid product called Plus, a private discussion platform with live video classes and personalised classroom experiences by educators. The company claims that over 50,000 learners have subscribed to Unacademy Plus since its launch. Plus subscription is available for more than 20 exam categories and provides students unlimited access to live courses by educators across the country. According to the company, more than 600 live classes are conducted every day by the educators on Plus.

“The company is solving for a big consumer need by enabling millions of students and test prep takers to get access to the best educators in the country,” said Ravi Mehta, managing director of Steadview Capital.

Founded in 2015 by Munjal, Saini, Hemesh Singh and Sachin Gupta, Unacademy started off as an educational YouTube channel providing free video content for various entrance examinations on its platform. Subsequently, it developed two proprietary apps — one for learning called ‘Unacademy Learning App’ and another for teaching called ‘Unacademy Educator App.’ 

The learning app operates on a freemium model where users can avail of both free and paid content, depending upon the course chosen. Its Android app alone claims to have more than five million downloads.

Run by Bengaluru-based Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd, the platform claims to have more than 10,000 registered educators and 13 million learners currently.

In April, TechCircle reported that e-commerce giant Flipkart’s chief executive officer Kalyan Krishnamurthy had topped up his investment in Unacademy.

Krishnamurthy had previously invested an undisclosed sum in Unacademy two years ago when the platform had raised $4.5 million (Rs 30 crore then) in a Series A funding round led by Nexus Venture Partners.

In July 2018, the company had raised $21 million (Rs 144 crore then) from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners and SAIF Partners.

Early-stage venture capital firm WaterBridge Ventures exited its investment in Unacademy after selling its stake to marquee VC investors Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners and SAIF Partners.

In October last year, Unacademy acquired Jaipur-based online education and career portal WiFiStudy in a cash-and-stock deal.

Deals in the segment

April 2019: Mumbai-based ed-tech startup WhiteHat Jr raised Rs 9 crore ($1.3 million) in a seed funding round from venture capital firm Nexus Venture Partners and early-stage investment firm Omidyar Network India Advisors.

March 2019: Quiz-based learning ed-tech startup iChamp raised an undisclosed amount A funding round led by Raju Shukla, chief executive of Singapore-based Ariana Investment Management.

March 2019: The valuation of Byju’s crossed $5 billion as it raised $31.3 million (Rs 215 crore) from General Atlantic and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

December 2018: Mumbai-based Toppr Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs an eponymous ed-tech startup, secured $35 million in a Series C funding round from new and existing investors.

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