Unacademy raises $11.5 mn Series B funding led by Sequoia India and SAIF Partners


Bengaluru-based online education platform Unacademy today raised Series B funding of $11.5 million led by Sequoia India and SAIF Partners. Existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Blume Ventures also participated in the round. This is the second round of funding raised by Unacademy this year. In January, it had raised $4.5 million led by Nexus Venture Partners and Blume Ventures.

The edtech platform has so far raised four rounds of funding, putting its combined fund raising at $17.5 million. With operations in India, Indonesia and Brazil, Unacademy aims to utilise the latest funding to accelerate technology growth and on content development. Unacademy recently also roped in Bhavin Turakhia, Co-founder, Directi, on its board.

Gaurav Munjal, Co-founder and CEO, Unacademy says, “With this round of funding, we want to scale our technology to ensure that we build a global technology product. On the content side, we intend to onboard over 1,000 eductators. We primarily have test prep content, the capital will be helpful in seeding content across different forms of learning.”

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The team will also utilise the funds to expand content on personality development, new languages and job interviews.

Started as a YouTube channel in 2010, Unacademy was founded by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Sachin Gupta, and today also has a mobile app.

Gaurav and Hemesh had earlier founded Flatchat, which was acquired by CommonFloor in 2014. Roman, 24, is a doctor from AIIMS and one of the youngest to crack the Civil Services Examination. He quit the administrative services from the post of Assistant Collector of Jabalpur to follow his passion and start Unacademy, which was officially launched in January 2016.

Within a year, the team at Unacademy claims to have grown over tenfold, and had over five million video views from the website and the YouTube channel. In the last year alone, the startup attracted over one million video views.

The team claims to have over 50,000 lessons online, and over a million registered users.

Shailendra Singh, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore Pte. Ltd., said in a release, “Sequoia India is inspired by Unacademy's vision to create a global platform that enables educators to create content and engage with learners. The missionary team at Unacademy is off to a tremendous start, achieving rapid early adoption and Sequoia is thrilled to be a part of their journey.”

The startup’s vision is to get the best minds from the country to share their knowledge in an easy-to-understand form. Unacademy allows educators to create courses using the app on various subjects, including exclusive content for various competitive exams.

The platform’s educators range from influencers like Kiran Bedi, to teachers in smaller towns and cities such as Dhiraj Singh Chouhan in Jagdalpur and Yasmin Gill in Panchkula. Speaking on the investment Alok Goel, Managing Director, SAIF Partners, says Unacademy has the potential to bring better access to quality education.

While there are several players in the field, Gaurav believes focusing on competition will not help the company grow. Being a third-time entrepreneur himself, Gaurav adds that with Unacademy, the focus is on education.

Recently, Byju’s raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Tencent Holdings Limited. The company had also raised capital from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in December last year, and roped in $50 million in a round co-led by Mark Zuckerberg’s and Priscilla Chan’s investment arm The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and Sequoia Capital in September, last year.

This year hasn’t been great for edtech in terms of funding. According to YourStory data, since January, edtech startups have raised $94.21 million through 34 deals as against $107 million across 46 deals in the corresponding period last year.