Facebook backs Indian education startup Unacademy
Unacademy, one of India’s fastest growing education startups, has just received the backing of a major technology giant: Facebook.
The social juggernaut has participated in the four-year-old Indian startup’s Series E financing round, sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.
General Atlantic is leading the round, the size of which is about $100 million, the sources said. It wasn’t immediately clear to us exactly how big of a check Facebook has cut, but a source said it was under $20 million. The round values the startup, which had raised $90 million prior to the ongoing round, at over $350 million, the source said.
Unacademy is aimed at students who are preparing for competitive exams to get into a college and those who are pursuing graduation-level courses. It allows students to watch live classes from educators and later engage in sessions to review topics in more detail.
A year ago, the startup launched a subscription service that offers students access to all live classes. Gaurav Munjal, co-founder and chief executive of Unacademy, tweeted earlier this month that the subscription service had become a $30 million ARR business.
This is the second time Facebook is investing in an Indian startup. Last year, it participated in social commerce Meesho’s $125 million financing round led by Prosus Ventures.
Facebook and Unacademy did not respond to a request for comment.
Ajit Mohan, VP and managing director of Facebook India, told TechCrunch in an interview last year that the company was open to engaging with startups that are building solutions for the Indian market.
“Wherever we believe there is opportunity beyond the work we do today, we are open to exploring further investment deals,” he said.
Indian newspaper Mint first reported in December that Unacademy was in talks with General Atlantic and GGV Capital to raise as much as $100 million. TechCrunch understands that GGV Capital, which earlier this month invested in edtech startup Vedantu, is not participating in Unacademy’s funding round.
Vedantu and Unacademy compete with Byju’s, an Indian startup that counts General Atlantic as an investor and is valued at $8 billion. Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has invested in Byju’s, but has sold at least some of its stake, according to a regulatory filing analyzed by business outlet Entrackr.
As India’s startup ecosystem begins to mature, it has started to attract corporate giants. Google, Amazon and Twitter also have made investments in Indian startups. While Twitter has backed social platform ShareChat, Google has invested in hyperlocal concierge app Dunzo.