Unacademy becomes first-ever edtech startup to offer stock options to educators

The edtech startup will give $40 million over the next few years in 'TSOPs' to educators, who have completed three, four, or five years teaching.

In a one-of-a-kind move, edtech unicorn Unacademy will offer stock options to its educators, the first-ever firm in the edtech space to do so. The development comes at a time when giants such as Flipkart and Ola are offering ESOPs to their employees.

So far, no startup has given stock options to their gig workers.

Over the next few years, the Teacher Stock Options or TSOPs worth $40 million will be given to tutors who have spent three, four or five years on the platform, the Bengaluru-based firm's Co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal said in a tweet on Thursday.

"We are who we are because of our Educators and we want our Educators to grow and create wealth as Unacademy grows!" Gaurav said in the tweet.

Gaurav, a computer science graduate, founded Unacademy as a YouTube channel in 2010. After getting enough scale, he formally launched the startup in 2015 with Roman Saini, who worked in the Indian Administrative Services, and Hemesh Singh, also a computer science engineer.

The platform currently claims to have more than 300 teachers who are eligible for the grant. The move is aimed at attracting many educators to seriously start teaching on Unacademy rather than picking it up as a part-time gig.

It is also aimed at enabling quality teaching talent from competitor platforms, such as GGV Capital-backed Vedantu, to shift base to Unacademy.

In 2020, the edtech space saw a major boom due to the coronavirus-led lockdown as students remained indoors. While BYJU’S, the biggest edtech startup with a $16.5 billion valuation, has been on an acquisition spree, many startups beyond the K-12 segment have also started popping up. 

Online education is projected to grow 6.3 times to create a $1.7 billion market, between Class I and XII, according to venture capital firm Omidyar Network India and research firm Red Seer’s joint report. The post-K-12 market is expected to grow 3.7 times to create a $1.8 billion market. 

Unacademy has also made several acquisitions, including government exam-prep firm WifiStudy, Mastree, which enhances kids' communication skills, and Code Chef, a platform teaching coding to kids.

Edited by Kanishk Singh


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