[Funding Alert] Facebook, Others Back Edtech Start-Up Unacademy In $110 Mln Funding Round

The social media giant led the investment in the Bengaluru-based company alongside General Atlantic and Sequoia.

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Unacademy, an edtech start-up that helps students prepare for different competitive exams, has raised $110 million in a Series E round led by General Atlantic, Sequoia and Facebook. Existing investors Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital as well as Blume Ventures also participated in the latest funding.

Unacademy Co-Founders Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Gaurav Munjal (L-R)

Founded in 2015, Bengaluru-based Unacademy started as an YouTube channel before launching its own platform and a mobile app. The platform currently has more than 1 million videos from over 10,000 educators across the country. Its app now has over 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store.

The company said it will use the new funds to penetrate deeper into the test preparation categories, launch new categories and bring top educators on board.

This round also saw an exit for some angel investors, the company said in a statement.

Staggering Growth

Unacademy is one of the fastest growing start-ups in what has become a highly competitive space with Byju's having hogged plenty of limelight with its Unicorn status.

Earlier this month, Unacademy co-founder and chief executive officer Gaurav Munjal tweeted that the company's subscription service, which offers learners access to live classes, had crossed $30 million in annual recurring revenue within a year of launch. It now has more than 90,000 active subscribers and 70 per cent of its users are from tier-II and tier-III cities.

"Our goal is to democratise education and become not just the largest educational organisation but the largest consumer internet story out of India," Munjal said.

Unacademy has also had a fairly popular marketing campaign 'Let's Crack It' in the last few months, with an eponymous anthem that was sung by popular rapper Naezy doing the rounds on social media.

Facebook's Investment

Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook, which has steadily pressed its foot on the pedal when it comes to interests in India, had last year invested in social commerce platform Meesho's $125 million funding round.

"Facebook is an ally for India's economic growth and social development, and we are excited about India and it’s rapidly rising Internet ecosystem," said Ajit Mohan, vice president and managing director at Facebook India.

On the investment in Unacademy, he said, "we are reinforcing our commitment to the Indian startup ecosystem as well as investing in a company that is transforming learning in India."

Last year in September, Mohan, speaking at an event in Kerala, had said that the Menlo Park, California-based company would be making substantial investments in technology start-ups in India.