Unacademy wants to build a world-class product riding the growth of creator economy, says Gaurav Munjal

Gaurav Munjal Co-founder and CEO of Unacademy says that the rise of creator economy is good news both for democratising knowledge and the company at TechSparks 2021.
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The democratisation of creation and distribution channels will drive the growth of the creator economy in India in the coming years, said Gaurav Munjal, Co-founder and CEO of edtech unicorn Unacademy

This is the wave Unacademy wants to ride to become the largest consumer brand in India by 2025, Gaurav told Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory, at TechSparks 2021.

On monetising the education content creator economy, Gaurav knows a thing or two. Unacademy, which started out as a YouTube channel by Gaurav, was valued at $3.44 billion in its latest round in August 2021 and is a leader in the test-preparation space today.

“The rise of online platforms has unbundled media. Just like Twitter is unbundling news, YouTube and Instagram are unbundling entertainment content,” said Gaurav, adding that these platforms have made content distribution easy, even as mobiles have made it easy for creators to upload their content. He added that nearly one in four people are likely to be content creators in the coming years.

To tap into this, Unacademy wants to create a playbook by tapping into consumer business through its test-preparation platform, while it wants to tap into the creator economy through Graphyas a business-to-business platform for bringing out cohort-based courses.

Gaurav Munjal on the rise of creator economy at TechSparks 2021

Monetising the creator economy

Graphy, which was launched in 2020 by Unacademy, acquired edtech platform Spayee for $25 million in October 2021. Spayee helps content creators make customised courses across audio, video formats, live classes, and tests. The acquisition will strengthen the value proposition of Graphy as a b2b product serving changing consumer behaviour, said Gaurav.

“A shift we are seeing is that people are fine with paying lakhs of rupees to learn online if they are getting value out of it. Also, Indian consumers are very brand conscious and if you build the right brand, people are willing to buy your product,” he said.

He added that the ease of online transactions powered by UPI and other fintech players has accelerated this.

The platform currently claims to have 2,000 content creators working with it. Gaurav equated the opportunity to Amazon building AWS cloud for its use and monetising it by selling to other businesses, but at a much smaller scale.

“For us, two things have ticked — we can make a business out of it and it can help a lot of other creators.”

Road Ahead

Spayee is only one among the string of acquisitions made by Unacademy over the last few years to add new sectors to its edtech offering. These acquisitions fall into three main brands for the startup.

“Most of our acquisitions will fall in the Unacademy core platform, unless we are going after a different market. For example, Graphy is our creator SaaS product, Relevel wants to disrupt college education. We might have more, but for now we have three brands that operate in distinct segments — Unacademy, Graphy, and Relevel,” said Gaurav.

The acquisitions, he added, have seldom been for the revenue. “We like to believe we are not private equity players; we are essentially builders,” said Gaurav, adding that the team or the capability of the product are the key metrics for Unacademy to acquire smaller companies.

With multiple technology companies going public, he believes that Unacademy too will follow the path by 2025. 

“We have a great product in test prep and by 2025, we would have cracked at least two or three more market segments and would have built a world-class product,” Gaurav signed off.


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Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta