Facebook makes its second bet in India with investment in Unacademy

Topics Facebook | Blume Ventures | Byju

Making its second bet in the Indian start-up space, social networking giant Facebook has participated in a $110 million investment round in edtech enterprise Unacademy.

The round, which was led by General Atlantic, also drew funding from Sequoia India, Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital and Blume Ventures. Flipkart’s CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and Udaan cofounder Sujeet Kumar also participated in the round, which according to sources, valued the company between $400-500 million.   

Last  June, Facebook had invested an undisclosed sum in social commerce platform Meesho, a start-up that connects resellers with customers via channels such as WhatsApp.

“With this investment in Unacademy, we are reinforcing our commitment to the Indian start-up ecosystem as well as investing in a company that is transforming learning in India,” said Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India.

With the fresh inflow, Unacademy also provided exits to some of its early-stage investors. The company had so far raised $88.5 million in six rounds.

Founded in 2015, the Bengaluru-based start-up provides online lessons and specialised courses to crack various competitive examinations such as UPSC, CAT and JEE.

“Our goal from day one has been to democratise education and make quality education accessible to everyone. We do that by bringing the best educators and content on our platform and ensuring it is accessible to everyone across the country,” said Gaurav Munjal, Cofounder and CEO, Unacademy. Other two founders of the company are Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh.

The company will use the funding to penetrate deeper into the test preparation segment, launching more exam categories, and acquiring educators. It currently provides access to around 30 exam categories for learners with more than 700 educators who take classes for 90,000 active users.

“Unacademy was the pioneer in taking video classes to the masses, even before the Jio launch. The team’s intense focus on the customer and being a pioneer in live classes has become wildly successful. We see the largest education company in the country being built at Unacademy,” said Karthik Reddy, co-founder and Managing Partner at Blume Ventures, which is one of the early backers of the start-up.

This is the fourth funding the edtech space has seen this month. Earlier, Byju’s, which is India’s only edtech unicorn, had received $200 million in fresh funding from General Atlantic. The deal valued the Bengaluru-based start-up at $8.2 billion, as it replaced ride-hailing firm Ola as the third-largest unicorn in the country, next only to digital payments company Paytm and hotel network Oyo.  

Tiger Global-backed live online tutoring start-up Vedantu too had last week raised $24 million from a clutch of investors including global venture capital firm GGV Capital as part of their Series C extension round. Delhi-based edtech start-up Classplus had also raised $2.5 million from Blume Ventures and Sequoia Capital India’s Surge programme this month.

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