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Facebook-backed Unacademy eyes one billion dollar valuation

Unacademy claimed its courses were watched for over a billion minutes with 100,000 live classes conducted by its teachers.

Educational technology photo. Source: Shutterstock.

Within four months of raising USD 110 million from Facebook and General Atlantic in its Series E funding round, Bengaluru-based edtech startup Unacademy is in talks with multiple investors to raise anywhere from USD 110 to 150 million.

Unacademy is looking at one billion dollar valuation, which, if the deal goes through, would make it a unicorn company, local media Economic Times (ET) reported. In its last funding round announced in February, Unacademy was valued at a USD 510 million post-money valuation.

“At this point, there are multiple funds in the mix. The final contours will be finalized in four to six weeks,” a person in the know told ET.

Most likely, the existing investors, including General Atlantic and Steadview Capital, would increase their stake in this new round. The ET report said Tencent and a few other US-based hedge funds have also shown interest to invest in the five-year-old company.

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Unacademy has raised a total of USD 198.5 million till date from an array of VC firms such as Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures, General Atlantic, and Steadview Capital. Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy as well as Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar have also invested in Unacademy.

Started in 2015 by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh, Unacademy is a platform for teachers and learners preparing for competitive exams. Educators on its platform can create videos and offer live interactive classes.

With schools, colleges, and coaching institutes being shut down for over two months now, edtech platforms have amassed a considerable number of new users. Many of these platforms started to provide free classes to students as well as offer their platforms to schools and other educational institutes to conduct their own classes.

In March, Unacademy claimed that its courses were watched for over a billion minutes with 100,000 live classes conducted by its teachers. About 25,000 of these lectures were free for that month.

In April, Unacademy, that has been traditionally offering live tuition for competitive exams, ventured into K-12 segment, pitting itself against many other players in this space which is largely dominated by Byju’s. In a statement, Unacademy said it has amassed 13 million users and 10,000 registered educators on its platform. On the other hand, Byju’s claims to have 40 million registered users. General Atlantic is a common investor in both the startups.

While Byju’s is the most valued and the only unicorn company in India’s edtech space, institutional investments in edtech companies have been on the rise in India this year. According to industry tracker Tracxn, online tutoring startups have attracted USD 686.32 million in 21 rounds of investment in the first quarter of this year.

Global funds have been particularly bullish on India’s edtech sector which is expected to reach USD 1.96 billion in size by 2021. Funds such as Tiger Global, General Atlantic, GGV Capital, RTP Global, among others have invested in a host of Indian online education startups.