India’s edtech space is continuing to roll in big monies. While there were investments in Byju’s and Vedantu earlier, its Unacademy this time, getting on an equal footing when it comes to financial warchest. The company has announced raising of a new $110 million round from General Atlantic, Facebook among a host of other investors.
While there has been no official confirmation on who invested what amount, it is learnt through sources, that Facebook has invested under $20 million in the round. Whatever be the amount, a check coming in from the social media juggernaut adds immense value to a company. This is only the second time that Facebook has invested in an Indian startup. Its first investment was in social commerce platform Meesho’s $125 million round.
Other investors in the round include Sequoia India, Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital and Blume Ventures. Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar have also reportedly participated in the round.
Unacademy, despite being largely in the same space as Byju’s or Vedantu, focuses on a different set of students. The company’s primary target group is students preparing for India’s brutally competitive entrance examinations. These primarily include IIT-JEE (engineering entrance exam for getting into the prestigious IITs across the country), UPSC exams, exams for admissions into India’s government banking sector among others.
The market is immense and competition is cut-throat, literally. Take for example UPSC. Students are required to clear several stages of the exam in order to enter India’s top government brass in bureacracy. In 2019, over 800K students appeared for it, out of which a paltry 12,000 could clear the ‘prelims’. Clearance post that becomes even tougher. Similar numbers come up when you look at engineering entrance IIT-JEE and others. This makes the market huge, since students prepare tooth and nail to fight for these rare coveted spots.
Unacademy provides live lectures from some of the best teachers spanning across the country, to students enrolled on its platform. The tech allows students to chat with educators, ask questions, answer live polls, and get their doubts cleared – all while the class is going on. Additionally, the platform also provides practice sections, mock tests and lecture notes shared as PDFs for student’s revision.
The company runs all of this via a subscription based business. And that has really taken off, at least according to Unacademy founder Gaurav Munjal. Munjal had tweeted earlier this month that the subscription service had become a $30 million ARR business. It was started as a YouTube channel by Gaurav Munjal in 2010.
Interestingly, General Atlantic has kind of grown fond of India’s ed-tech space. That is probably the reason why the firm has been involved in massive funding rounds for both Byju’s and now Unacademy. Mark Zuckerberg too, is indirectly invested in Byju’s, through the $150 million round that was led by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.