Facebook, General Atlantic invest in Unacademy’s $110 mn growth round

Facebook, General Atlantic invest in Unacademy’s $110 mn growth round
Photo Credit: Pexels
19 Feb, 2020

Sorting Hat Technologies, the Bengaluru-based company that owns test preparation platform Unacademy, has raised $110 million in a growth funding round from General Atlantic and Facebook.

Existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital and Blume Ventures participated in the round, Gaurav Munjal, co-founder and CEO of Unacademy announced in a tweet on Wednesday.

The capital infusion takes Unacademy’s total funding to $187 million, according to data available with VCCEdge.

In its last fundraising round, the company secured $50 million from London headquartered hedge fund Steadview Capital, Sequoia, Nexus and Blume Ventures. 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 Munjal and Roman Saini.

In April 2019, TechCircle reported that ecommerce 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 in a Series A funding round led by Nexus Venture Partners.

In July 2018, the company had raised $21 million from Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners and SAIF Partners.

Unacademy acquired Jaipur-based online education and career portal WiFiStudy in a cash-and-stock deal in October 2018.

The WifiStudy deal was cited as a reason for the startup reporting a 300% jump in revenues at Rs 21 crore for the financial year 2018-19.

WiFiStudy had over 4.5 million subscribers mostly from smaller Indian cities with 70 million video views a month at the time of the purchase.

Unacademy’s other income, which mostly consists of investments in non-core operations, also increased three-fold to Rs 10 crore, aiding the topline growth. 

However, the company’s losses widened to Rs 90.3 crore from 23.6 crore a year ago on account of higher employee costs and other expenses.

Founded in 2015 by Munjal, Saini, Hemesh Singh and Sachin Gupta, Unacademy began 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.

In October 2018, the company launched a paid product called Plus, a private discussion platform with live video classes and personalised classroom experiences by educators.

“There are more than 800 educators who teach live on Unacademy every day with hundreds of thousands of learners attending these classes from their smartphones. We have also heavily invested in making high-quality free classes available on YouTube and our own platform where we see more than 150M video views every month,” Munjal wrote on the microblogging site.

Exam season

The deal makes the month of February a very significant and busy period for India’s edtech sector. The country’s top three edtech startups – Byju’s, Vedantu, and Unacademy – have raised large growth rounds over the past few days. In fact, Unacademy deal marks General Atlantic’s second education bet this month. Early this month, the New York headquartered private equity firm infused an additional $200 million infusion into edtech unicorn Byju’s, valuing the company at $8.2 billion

Last week, live online tutoring startup Vedantu raised an additional $24 million as part of its Series C round, led by Menlo Park, California, and Shanghai-based venture capital firm GGV Capital. 

Byju’s raised $200 million from New York-headquartered alternative investments firm Tiger Global Management in January.