UNACADEMY – INDIA’S LARGEST FREE LEARNING PLATFORM

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About Unacademy Unacademy, one of the best and most popular ed-tech companies in India has a family of 50 million active registered users, with 350,000 paid subscribers and 18,000 registered educators from all over the nation, in all leading subjects and pan India examinations. The startup is the largest online learning platform in the current education sector. In a young country like ours, only a privileged class of urban and modern Indians can afford and have accessibility to prepare for exams in a worldwide competency and standardised courses. Unacademy has done the job of democratizing knowledge. The platform facilitates in providing authentic and relevant content for almost all the competitive exams of the country. The mentorship, guidance and lecture sessions through videos, audios, writeups and live sessions on a variety of subjects are easily available to allow proper preparation for respective competitive exams of the students and also, so they can practice independently by self-learning which is inculcated and groomed in as a habit. The core members of Unacademy along with the growing number of teachers and educators, aim to build an online knowledge repository for multilingual education. The desire to create a dent in the industry instead of just being a success story, and possessing a shimmering zeal to push the industry forward, shatter all the traditional beliefs, and recreate the entire Edtech industry is what helps in being on track and regularly updating and emerging. Thus bridging the parallel gap of urban and rural, as well as resource full and needy students. The main motto is thus Where Educators can teach, students can learn.

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Why does it exist? The story of Unacademy.

Based in Bangalore, the startup capital of the country, the ed-tech company was started as an educational channel on Youtube in 2010 when Gaurav Munjal, Co-founder, and CEO created a channel named Unacademy while pursuing an engineering degree course from Mumbai, to offer free Java coding tutorials. When the channel started to pick up popularity, he decided to monetize it. 

Soon, in the process, Roman Saini joined in who was an MBBS student from AIIMS and had subsequently cracked the civil services examination merely at the young age of 21. Saini, thereafter left the esteemed job of Assistant Collector to join Unacademy and thus started

offering online coaching for underprivileged students by uploading tutorials for IAS aspirants.

Hemesh Singh, another graduate from the Motilal Nehru Institute of Technology in engineering joined the duo a few days later. Gaurav went on to work with Directi as a software developer. After which he founded his own company called Flat.to, a real estate platform to get affordable rooms and flats for college students and bachelors. In 2014, FlatChat was acquired by the firm Common Floor. Himesh then became the Chief Technical Officer at FlatChat, and then and thereafter of Unacademy.

After FlatChat’s acquisition, he is in the same position as the CTO of Unacademy. 

Since then the trio has become a family while adding thousands of people to the group, regularly. In 2015, Unacademy was registered as a brand under the parent company Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Since then, the company is the first feature-rich educational technology platform in India. The most prominent endeavour, from that time, is to build the largest education platform not just in India but across the world. 

The best educators in the country, are reaped in to create courses using the platform of Unacademy for various subjects and exclusive preparation material for entrance exams like GATE, IIT, CAT, UPSC, etc. The knowledge and guidance for how and when to start preparation and the actual preparation are not just restricted by geographical location or any other unavailability of qualified and certified teachers and mentors. As the classes can be availed anywhere anytime, with the help of an easy and user-friendly interface, and with the best teachers and motivators of India; the interaction, doubt solving and live sessions provide the best learning experience to the learners of different parts of the country. 

The Live classes are both free and subscription-based. The model and pattern of this ed-tech startup is immensely developed and allows every student and prospective learner to get benefits and thus outperform in every sphere they choose. 

The journey of Unacademy over the years

After starting in 2015, the ed-tech firm grew immensely in the education sector. And with continuous efforts and regular changes according to the dynamics of complex societies, have grown into the most affordable and popular ed-tech startups in the country. 

The seed funding journey started in 2016 with $500k. Unacademy secured and built investments through many VCs, private investors like Rajan Anandan, Sumit Jain, and Blume Ventures etc. 

In 2017, Unacademy became India’s largest online learning platform with 1million plus learners and 40k live classes. 

Next year, in 2018, Unacademy became the first online platform to launch a subscription for Live Courses in different categories by hundreds of Teachers interacting with 200k+ daily active users who are learning with live classes. More than 2500 Live Classes are happening on Unacademy every single day.

Hence the Paid Subscribers have grown since the launch of the subscription model in Feb’19.

Between 2017-2019, the firm raised $87 Million in funding through different stages and sources. Some of the helping and supporting hands were Blume Ventures, General Atlantic, Facebook, Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures, Sujeet Kumar, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, and others. Some are still raising and investing in the firm in many ways.

The year 2020 was a boon. Indian Edtech startup raised $2.22 Billion in investment in 2020. Out of that amount, Unacademy raised $110 Million in Feb 2020 from social media giant Facebook. In September 2020, Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund helped in raising a fund of $150M, successfully making the firm a unicorn. The undisclosed amount of funding from Tiger global in November 2020 made the total valuation $2 Billion as of December 2020.

Improvements and journey over the years

Through constant updates in the product line, merging horizontal startups, and investments to deepen the foothold in multiple streams, Unacademy has been achieving a great breakthrough.

From Wifistudy in 2018; Kreatryx, CodeChef, Prepladder, Mastree, Coursavy, and NeoStencil in 2020; TapChief, and Handa Ka Fanda in 2021, the Indian ed-tech startup has grown prominently and continues to strive in similar regards.

The significance of Unacademy.

The enormous breach in learning levels brought about by social, monetary, geographic and a plethora of different components puts India and the Indian startups at the peril of overlooking or missing out on the undiscovered capital of human potential of the country. Alongside mainstream education, one of the biggest revenue eaters in the nation is the parallel education framework which has been helpfully named as the Coaching Institutes sector. There is an enormous number of coaching classes assisting the students with efficient teaching, and facilitating the learning of ideas, as in the formative years of schools and giving regular updates for tests and examinations. There are various towns and regions which have grown simply because of these coaching institutes. Kota seems like a very convenient example of this common phenomenon.

Any revolution in any regard can not attack and improve the main concerns and so is the case of the problems of the education sector, especially in India. The revolutions in education cannot directly happen into mainstream education but can start by penetrating via parallel education and the subsidiary system first. This is where EdTech companies step in. Certain others like BYJU, Vedantu, Toppr, Easy Shiksha have taken the opportunity to rise and take charge. These are benefitting the Indian masses and enriching the student base of the country in all regards. Though Unacademy and the others have an endeavour not to replace the school or the college education system, and thus give a tough competition but to concentrate on replacing the parallel education system. India’s traditional coaching centres lack proper management and infrastructural attributes as students crowd in hundreds and thousands of quantities to a single room or hall even after paying thousands of bucks, just to learn from celebrity teachers.

There is no personal interaction, with no means to know whether a student can learn or not or are they in a position to grasp anything. These major challenges have greatly impacted and suggested the growth of online education and thus the ed-tech platforms. The basic hindrance of getting to learn amidst the crowd, with no focus on individuals, and no proper timings and infrastructure attributes, the concept of home-based comfort and affordable fees rates have made education and technical learning online an attractive proposition for the students. Usually, the course charges are around $20 to $150 a month for test preparation and other crash courses too. Anyone with a smartphone can avail of such benefits. 

The goal of Unacademy

Unacademy is not here to replace the teacher but to augment the teaching and learning process.

The prevalence of online education has unquestionably sped up with the unfortunate advent of COVID19, which has prompted students from schools and colleges across the world to turn towards online training to continue their learning. Inferable from the current situation, Edtech

platforms have been allowed the opportunity to rise like a phoenix as online education turns into a need of the hour rather than a simple alternative.

Thus Unacademy strives to provide the same. 

Unacademy making a difference.

Kiran Bedi, Former Lt. Governor of the Union Territory of Puducherry, is also an educator at the ed-tech platform of Unacademy. She quotes, “It took me ten minutes to make a video lesson on Time management and productivity on the Unacademy Create app which impacted a million lives in just a click, with my learning. There has been an overwhelming response on the students part, because of the simplicity of the app design, as it encourages the working professionals, and other resourceful tutors to share their experience and knowledge. It is an unconventional way for students to get the perspective of real-life challenges and lessons and make me believe everyone can be a teacher. I urge Unacademy to conduct lessons and workshops in Puducherry. Unacademy cuts across boundaries. It’s truly global and in one’s own hands.”

Unacademy offers various content packages like computer programming (coding), spoken English, particular optional subjects to major in and a variety of other practically applicable classes that have garnered and supported many participants over time, to clear or attain good grades and marks in the competitive papers. The premium version, called the Unacademy Plus offers more customized services, and more relevant information as well as access to various other wide-ranging courses that are not available on the regular platform and thus provide better-personalized services and access to a large course. The vision is to help and collaborate with the best minds and potential learners of the country, to share the knowledge comprehensively. The platform attracts more than 1M video views monthly at present, with mostly organic reach.

From IAS topper 2016, Tina Dabi, to India’s first woman IPS officer, Kiran Bedi, the Ed-tech company aims to get courses from only the best tutors and experiences on the platform. The aim is to be as accessible as possible so that anyone across the world can create lessons in any language they like.

Once started as an experiment has today become one of the most reliable sources of online education. From content specific to competitive examinations to basic English learning techniques, the process to make Unacademy the one-stop destination for online courses across myriad fields and subjects is in power and full force. The ultimate vision for Unacademy has always been to democratize knowledge that is to the people, for the people and by the people in terms of knowledge and learning. Also to make it more affordable and accessible, without any compromises on the quality by getting the best experts in the world to help everyone achieve their respective goals, without an excuse is the underlined statement in the goals of the firm. And this is just the start.

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