Unacademy has raised $440 million in a fresh funding round as the Indian online learning startup looks to expand into several additional categories.
Temasek led the new financing round of the Bangalore-based startup, while existing investors including Mirae Asset and SoftBank Vision Fund 2, General Atlantic, Tiger Global as well as Zomato co-founder and chief executive Deepinder Goyal and Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal took part in it. Said without mentioning the name of the new round (which should be Series G).
The new round values the six-year-old startup at $3.44 billion, up from $2 billion in November last year. The investment has brought Unacademy to approximately $860 million to date.
The online learning platform, which began its journey on YouTube and still uses Google’s video platform to on-board teachers, helps students prepare for competitive exams for college admissions, as well as those who Pursuing graduate level courses.
On its app, students watch live classes from teachers and later engage in sessions to review topics in more detail. The startup has over 50,000 teachers on its platform, many of whom are very popular on YouTube. According to industry executives familiar with the trading arrangement, these teachers help Unacademy sell more memberships and receive a commission in return.
Unacademy has amassed over 6 million monthly active users (of which over 600,000 are paid for the service) in over 10,000 cities in India.
Unacademy co-founder and chief executive Gaurav Munjal said the startup will deploy fresh capital to broaden its bets on new categories such as upskilling, jobs and hiring.
Relevel is “giving people the path to finding their dream jobs regardless of their educational background, while Graffy is “empowering creators to build their online businesses to sell digital goods, including NFTs,” he said in a tweet.
In a recent conversation with ClearTips, Munjal said that he wants Unacademy to become the “Tencent of India”.
The startup competes with several firms including Byju’s, India’s Most Valuable Startup (at a valuation of $16.5 billion), GGV-backed Vedantu, Tiger Global-backed ClassPlus and Lightspeed Venture-backed TeachMint.
All these startups have reported growth over the past year as India – like most other countries – enforced lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus and closed schools.
India’s online education market is at stake, according to Bernstein, which is projected to grow to around $20 billion by 2030 (up from nearly $1 billion last year).
As of last year, there were about 6 million students in India who were paying for an online learning app, a figure Bernstein analysts expect to reach around 70 million by the end of the decade.
Unacademy said last week that it was creating a $40 million fund for teachers on its platform. “On the first day (which is today) we already have more than 300 teachers eligible for the grant which they will get immediately. Over the next few years we will be giving grants of over $40 million to our teachers,” Munjal said in a tweet.
The new investment comes at a time when Indian startups are raising record capital and a handful of mature firms are beginning to explore the public markets. Business-to-business commerce and financing startup OffBusiness said over the weekend it had raised $160 million in a new financing round (led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2) at a valuation of $1.5 billion, the 18th to achieve unicorn status. Indian startup. Up from 11 last year.