Sorting Hat Technologies, the Bengaluru based parent of edtech platform Unacademy, has raised $440 million (Rs 3263 crore) in a new funding round led by Temasek Holdings, giving the edtech firm fresh firepower to hold its own against larger rival BYJU's.
Gaurav Munjal, cofounder of Unacademy, tweeted that the latest funding was raised at a valuation of $3.44 billion. This is more than doubles the startup's valuation in less than a year since the online learning platform achieved unicorn status in September 2020.
Existing investors SoftBank Group Corp, General Atlantic and Tiger Global Management participated in the latest funding round. Mirae Asset, OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal, and Zomato cofounder Deepinder Goyal contributed to the round, he added.
He said that there are three major products that Unacademy will build and scale.
The latest funding signals continued investor interest in the edtech segment since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. Not only have Byju's and Unacademy received fresh capital in the past year, both have also been aggressive in acquisitions.
Byju's itself has made seven acquisitions this year. Just last week, the edtech giant said it is spending $750 million to buy Mumbai based Toppr and Singapore based Great Learning. These acquisitions came just after a week it snapped up US based Epic for $500 million. Earlier this year, Byju's acquired offline test preparation network Aakash Institute for close to $1 billion in April.
Unacademy has made nine acquisitions since October 2018. This year it acquired Rheo TV and TapChief for an undisclosed amount.
Unacademy was founded as an educational YouTube channel in 2016 by Munjal, Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Sachin Gupta. In September last year, it raised $150 million (Rs 1,094 crore) in a new funding round led by SoftBank, catapulting the edtech company to the famed unicorn club of startups valued $1 billion or more. Later in November, Tiger Global Management and Dragoneer Investment Group joined as new investors. Earlier in January, Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadview Capital and General Atlantic purchased shares worth $50 million (Rs 366 crore) from other existing investors.
Last week, Unacademy announced stock options for its 300 educators. With multiple startups maturing in the ecosystem and raising growth rounds, 2021 has seen multiple ESOP liquidity events for companies including Locus, Moglix, Flipkart, upGrad and Whatfix.
Unacademy had announced its second ESOP liquidity event in December 2020, with a buyback pool of Rs 25 to Rs 30 crore.
It had also expanded its ESOP pool in May 2020. The test prep platform also recently announced a Rs 100 crore grant for teachers, influencers, content creators and subject experts to launch their online academy on its new product platform, Graphy.