Upcoming Webinar :Register now for 'ULIP as an investment during economic recovery' powered by Bajaj Allianz

Unicorn alert: Unacademy seeks a billion dollar valuation

Unacademy has seen a particular spurt in revenue and growth in the past year after it started monetising Unacademy Plus.
Jun 5, 2020 / 07:14 AM IST

One of the sectors to get a fillip while economies around the globe shutdown overnight due to COVID-19 has been the online learning space. Unacademy is leaving nothing to chance and is now seeking to raise $150 million and finding a spot at the 'Unicorn Club'.

Sources told Moneycontrol, while terms of the deal are in discussion phase, Unacademy could raise over $150 million in this round, making it the latest entrant to India’s unicorn club, or privately held startups seeking a valuation of over a billion dollars.

Unacademy allows educators to create videos for courses from school level learning to college entrance exams across streams, besides for more advanced courses such as civil service exams and MBA entrance tests.

Co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Unacademy raised $110 million in February this year led by private equity firm General Atlantic and social media giant Facebook. General Atlantic is also an investor in Byju’s- currently India’s largest online learning firm valued by Tiger Global at about $8 billion.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more
Show

Its other investors include Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures and SAIF Partners.

Unacademy, run by Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd, was founded by Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh. It began as a YouTube channel before distributing content on its own platform.

Coronavirus' has forced governments to shift focus on online education. Unacademy, too, has seen a spurt in revenue and growth in the past year after it started monetising Unacademy Plus.

LISTEN: Hello, this is... podcast | Online education a new normal amid COVID-19

In a tweet in April, CEO Munjal said Unacademy's revenue for the month was more than all of 2017, 2018 and the first half of 2019 combined.

On February 1, he said the startup was recording an annualised revenue run rate (ARR) of $30 million.

The valuation Unacademy is commanding stems from the COVID-19 crisis where online education has gained the maximum in the absence of physical school and college classes.

"Gaurav believes that Unacademy could be not just India’s largest online education startup but its largest consumer internet startup. That scale of vision is driving a lot of the valuation expectations and investor aggression,” said a person close to Munjal, requesting anonymity.
M. Sriram
Sections