Unacademy - Learning Platform Designed for Competitive Examinations

Himaya Presthitha Himaya Presthitha Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee
Sep 10, 2021 11 min read
Unacademy - Learning Platform Designed for Competitive Examinations

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Unacademy.

Classroom learning is seen as a hindrance by many to discover new things. Besides, a lot of students also go unnoticed this way, who eventually fail to explore the world around them with the lack of attention and opportunity they get in a physical class. Furthermore, when it comes to competitive examinations, many students in remote places are even unaware of the best teachers and updated methods to crack these exams. Unacademy unscrambles these problems with its online learning platform with the top educators in the country. The company offers courses and lectures for several competitive examinations such as CAT, JEE, NEET, CLAT, UPSC CSE/IAS, IBPS/SBI, RRB, and video classes on various subjects, thus empowering the students to excel in this competitive world.

Unacademy is an Edtech company established in 2015. The company had its beginnings as a Youtube channel created by Gaurav Munjal and started by Dheeraj Meena. Later on, in 2015, the company was registered in Bengaluru as an education company. The company has entered the Unicorn club in September 2020 after it raised $150 million from Softbank and other existing investors.

Here's StartupTalky bringing you all that you want to know about Unacademy, including Latest News, Founders and Team, Name, Tagline, Logo, Mission, Vision, Growth and Revenue, Funding and Investors, Acquisitions, Competitors, and more.

Unacademy – Company Highlights

Startup Name Unacademy
Headquarters Bangalore,Karnataka
Sector EdTech
Founders Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh
Founded 2015
Parent Organization Sorting Hat Technologies Private Limited
Total Funding $838.5 Million
Revenue from operations $8.86 Million (FY20)
Net profit/Net Loss Loss 41.13 Million (FY20)
Valuation $3.44 Billion (August 2021)
Website www.unacademy.com

Unacademy - Latest News

September 9, 2021 - The active subscribers of Unacademy have expanded to 650K, tweets Unacademy COO, Vivek Sinha.

September 7, 2021 - Unacademy reassured their plans of the upcoming ESOP buyback of around $10.5 million for the team members and educators, the largest that the company has seen so far.

September 7, 2021 - Unacademy's Chief Marketing Officer, Karan Shroff has been inducted as a co-founder-like "partner" position.

Unacademy - About
Unacademy - Founders and Team
Unacademy - Name, Tagline, and Logo
Unacademy - Vision and Mission
Unacademy - Educators
Unacademy - Growth and Revenue
Unacademy - Funding and Investors
Unacademy - Acquisitions
Unacademy - Business and Revenue Model
Unacademy - Competitors
Unacademy - Future Plans

Unacademy - About

Unacademy is an online platform that makes both learning and teaching easy with its educational videos and lectures. Initially it was founded in the year 2010 with videos streaming on YouTube, but it officially got launched in the year 2015.

Today, the company has achieved spectacular growth with more than 10K educators and over 13 Million users. Furthermore, Unacademy also boasts of having 650,000 active subscribers with its platform, as per Unacademy COO Vivek Sinha's tweet dated September 9, 2021.

Numerous platforms of Unacademy include Unacademy Plus, Chamomile Tea with Toppers, Wifistudy, The Solutionists, and Unacademy Studios, with which they acquire nearly 110 Million views every month. The learning app is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows and can be easily accessed.

Unacademy - Founders and Team

Unacademy was founded by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh. Though it was started under the same name by Gaurav Munjal and Dheeraj Meena as an educational channel on Youtube in 2010, the company was officially registered as an education company, Unacademy in 2015 in Bengaluru.

Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh, and Sachin Gupta
Unacademy Founders and team

Gaurav Munjal, the CEO of Unacademy, sold his first company FlatChat, to CommonFloor in 2014, and is currently developing Unacademy. Roman Saini who is a doctor from AIIMS, cleared the Civil Service Exam in 2013. He quit his administrative roles and is now the Chief Educator of Unacademy. Hemesh Singh is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Co-founder of Unacademy, who was also the CTO of FlatChat formerly. The company now operates with around over 5000 employees and yields a market price of $3.44 Billion, building a strong community of technology-driven self-learners.

Unacademy CMO, Karan Shroff has been promoted to the position of a partner with the help of the company's internal 'Partner' program for the employees, as of September 7, 2021. This program is decided upon by the company to recognize the key leaders of the organization. The partner position, as mentioned by Unacademy CEO Gaurav Munjal, is similar to being a co-founder of the company.

The name Unacademy [Un (Not) - Academy] states that this learning platform differs from the conventional methods of education, unlike an institution or academy which is accessible to everyone. “India’s largest learning platform” is the tagline of the company.

Unacademy Logo

Unacademy - Vision and Mission

Unacademy’s vision is to build numerous courses in multiple languages for students all over the world. Expanding its educators along with their students, Unacademy aims to collaborate with the brightest minds and empower India’s youth population that accounts for 19% of the world’s youth, to bring oneself in this contemporary world. 70% of its learners come from tier 3 cities, where there is a lack of top educators, thus the startup focuses in enlarging its teachers, languages, and adding more exams into the existing mixture.

“By leveraging technology and high-quality educators, we aim to move closer to our mission of democratising education at all levels, starting with test prep,”
“We are seeing unprecedented growth and engagement from learners in smaller towns and cities, and are also very humbled to see that top-quality educators are choosing Unacademy as their primary platform to reach out to students.”, says Gaurav Munjal, CEO of Unacademy.

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Unacademy - Educators

Unacademy imposes life lessons and motivational talks with top educators in its exclusive “Legends on Unacademy” initiative. The first edition included famous cricketers Brian Lara, Brett Lee, and Jonty Rhodes as educators, talking about their challenges and achievements. The second edition of “Legends on Unacademy” involved Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, India’s first woman IPS Officer Kiran Bedi, and the star couple Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma. Apart from this, the educators for all the sectors are highly accomplished with prior proficiency and in-depth erudition.

“These interactive classes will not only equip our learners with academic knowledge, but also empower them with extraordinary life skills, and help them hone their ability to overcome various challenges”, said Karan Shroff, Vice President, Marketing at Unacademy.

Unacademy - Growth and Revenue

Unacademy recorded a 4x increase in revenue from $2.93 Million (INR 21.8 Cr) in FY2019 to $11.56 Million (INR 86 Cr) in FY2020. It had reported a net loss of $40.34 Million (around INR 300 Cr).

The company has reared around $90 Mn from its investors and also gains revenue from its subscription initiatives. Sorting Hat Technologies, which operates Unacademy, has reached $2.94 Million (INR 21.89 Cr) in FY19, as against $702.08K (INR 5.22 Cr) in FY18. Unacademy states that the greatest success of them relies on the students who crack the toughest of examinations. Catering to 32 competitive exams as of now, the company focuses on its growth by including more tests and exams, to append subscribers. This Edtech startup has raised $110 Million from General Atlantic and Facebook and received a post-money valuation of $510 Million, which was an added boost for the company that has already seen big names, such as Sequoia Capital India, Steadview Capital at the start of its career. The company has also received funds from SoftBank Vision Fund, Dragoneer Investment Group, Tiger Global Management, and Temasek Holdings in the last couple of years.

“We started to monetise around a year ago, and in the first month, we made around Rs 2 crore in revenue, and last month we did around Rs 18 crore. So, we’ve grown 9X in 12 months and we plan to continue growing from here,” said Gaurav Munjal.

Unacademy has signed former skipper of the Indian cricket team, MS Dhoni, and the contract is for 2 years, as the report goes. The company has started its campaigns with an elaborate video shoot with Dhoni, which will be released soon and is now at the post-production phase.

Unacademy - Funding and Investors

Unacademy is now valued at $3.44 Billion, after the recent fundraising round, Series H, led by Temasek, Softbank, Tiger Global, and others on August 1, 2021, where the company has raised $440 million.

The total funding amount raised by Unacademy is $838.5 Million over 12 funding rounds.

Date Stage Amount Investors
August 1, 2021 Series H $440M Temasek Holdings
February 23, 2021 Venture Round - Sachin Tendulkar
January 13, 2021 Secondary Market $50M -
November 25, 2020 Venture Round - Dragoneer Investment Group, Tiger Global Management
September 2, 2020 Series F $150M SoftBank Vision Fund
February 19, 2020 Series E $110M General Atlantic, Blume Ventures, Facebook, Flipkart, Sequoia Capital India, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, and others.
June 26, 2019 Series D $50M Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures, Sujeet Kumar, and others.
July 16, 2018 Series C $21M Elevation Capital, Sequoia Capital (India), Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures, SAIF Partners.
September 13, 2017 Series B $11.5M Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures, SAIF Partners.
January 13, 2017 Series A $4.5M Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures, Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs, and others.
May 2016 Seed $500K Blume Ventures,Rajan Anandan, Sumit Jain, and others.

Initially, Unacademy has raised a seed funding of $500K from Blume Ventures in May 2016. The latest funding was raised on August 1, 2021.

“We were thrilled with how rapidly Gaurav (Munjal) and the team converted some of our collective product brainstorming sessions into an amazing live-streaming product and a subscription business for the test prep market,” said Shailendra Singh, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital.

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Unacademy - Acquisitions

Facebook-based Unacademy has acquired 10 startups till date to strengthen its position in the Edtech Sector. On July 26, 2021, it acquired Rheo TV, Bangalore-based video streaming app, which is the most recent acquisition of the company.

The list of Acquisitions is as follows:

Date Aquiree What it does Value
July 26, 2021 Rheo TV Online video and game streaming platform Undisclosed
March 23, 2021 Handa ka Funda Online course providers for entrance examinations like MBA Undisclosed
February 16, 2021 TapChief Online platform for professionals to earn without full-time jobs Undisclosed
December 30, 2020 Neo Stencil Live-learning Indian edtech platform Undisclosed
September 2020 Coursavy UPSC Test Preparation Platform Undisclosed
July 2020 Mastree Online platform to master communication skills for Kids $5 Million
July 2020 PrepLadder Online Medical Entrance Exam Preparation platform $50 Million
June 2020 CodeChef Online platform for learning algorithm & coding Undisclosed
March 2020 Kreatryx Online GATE preparation web platform Undisclosed
October 2018 Wifi Study Online exam preparation platform $10 Million

Unacademy had already announced its ESOP buyback plan on September 4, 2021, the company further reassured that it would be the company's largest employee stock ownership plan for the team members and educators of the platform.

Co-founder Roman Saini mentioned that the upcoming ESOPs buyback will be the third and largest by the online learning platform. Furthermore, he also thanked the employees of Unacademy because of their belief in the company's “vision of democratising education”. He also added that Unacademy is also announcing the Teacher Stock Options (TSOPs) for its educators, who will be eligible for fully vested Stock Grants after they complete 3, 4, and 5 years with Unacademy.

Munjal further disclosed that the company currently has 300+ educators, who are eligible for the grant, which they will get immediately. The company will offer grants of over $40 million over the next few years to its educators.

"We are who we are because of our Educators and we want our Educators to grow and create wealth as Unacademy grows!” added Munjal.

Unacademy - Business and Revenue Model

Unacademy operates on B2B and B2C business models, where the main income of the company lies in paid memberships that they offer!

Unacademy's basic revenue model is of a Freemium type. Here the company offers a range of services for free, which the audiences can continue. However, if they want more and high-quality content, then they need to pay a small fee for the same.

Unacademy Plus - Unacademy offers numerous classes along with pre-recorded video lectures furnished with ample information for free for all the students. However, the company also offers paid live classes to help the student clear their doubts with one-on-one doubt clearance sessions and proper lectures. This can be availed through a premium subscription called 'Unacademy Plus.'

Youtube channels - We all know that Unacademy first started as a Youtube channel. Though the business has grown far and wide since 2010, the company still runs its Youtube channel. The only difference is that the company now runs different Youtube channels instead of one, under names like Unacademy JEE, Unacademy UPSC, and others for the school students between 6th and 8th standards.

Content marketing - Unacademy is excellent in its marketing strategies, be it for the brand or its contents. It markets its contents using numerous cutting-edge techniques. Furthermore, it uses social media marketing, email marketing, advertisements on its website as well as on other websites to generate leads, and more.

In-app purchases - Unacademy also earns significantly through their in-app purchases. The company lists offers and discounts regularly on its app covering live classes, study materials, live mock tests, quizzes, other premium content, and more.

‘Unacademy Plus’ has nearly 100,000 subscribers, which offers paid educational services. These paid subscriptions are the main source of revenue for Unacademy.

Learning Resources - Unacademy offers a wide range of learning resources for the students to go about their learning processes. These are mainly of two types:

  • Pre-recorded videos
  • LIVE sessions

Though most of the pre-recorded videos are viewable for free, the Live sessions are comes chargeable.

Unacademy decided to shut down Mastree, an online platform for kids to master communication, on September 2, 2021, almost one year after the company has acquired the firm. Unacademy will absorb around 80% of the Mastree workforce, which is 190 employees out of the firm's total workforce of 240.        

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Unacademy - Competitors

The main competitors for Unacademy are:

  • Khan Academy
  • Toppr
  • Byjus
  • Bluprint Firefly
  • TutorVista.

Khan Academy appears to be the top competitor because like Unacademy, they also provide quality educational content for free with which large students are being benefitted. Unacademy substantiates to be exclusive in its educational services and confronts several competitors across the nation.

Unacademy - Future Plans

The total market size of this EdTech startup is expected to reach $287 Billion by 2023, escalating from $160 billion in 2017. Having the largest distribution of free educational videos, and more than 100 Million views every month, the company is working towards creating videos in multiple languages to facilitate students globally, include worthy content and test preparation modules for all possible competitive examinations, and to affiliate with great minds to build powerful student network.

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