Byju’s, Unacademy, Eruditus, three top edtech startups based in India, have raised funding in the last week.
The following chart shows the funding of edtech companies in India.
Eruditus, an India based edtech startup, raised US$ 113M in its recent round of funding.
The round was led by Leeds Illuminate and South African internet giant Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures). In addition, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s philanthropic organisation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative participated in the round. Furthermore, existing investors Sequoia India and Ved Capital also participated in the fundraising.
About the funding
Approximately US$ 20M of the investment is a secondary cash out and US$ 93M has been infused in the company. With the latest investment, the startup’s valuation has jumped to over US$ 800M. This makes Eruditus among the most valued edtech startups in the country.
The Eruditus group, consists of Eruditus Executive Education and its online division Emeritus.
Partnering with more than 30 universities to date, including MIT, Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge, INSEAD, Wharton, UC Berkeley, INCAE, IIT, IIM, NUS and HKUST, Eruditus aims to bring professional education to a global audience. Together, they have launched more than 100 courses and served students from more than 80 countries. Many courses are offered and facilitated in multiple languages, including Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.
“Covid-19 is dramatically accelerating change across higher education… We are engaging more deeply with universities worldwide to help them expand their online portfolio and global footprint,” said Ashwin Damera, Co-founder and CEO at Eruditus.
Currently, Eruditus has offices in six countries, more than 650 employees and over 50,000 student enrolments in the last year. This clearly makes Eruditus a global leader in the US$ 280B global professional education market.
From the investors
Ashutosh Sharma, head of Investments for India, Prosus Ventures, commented on the firm’s investment. “Education technology is a major focus for Prosus Ventures, and we now have six edtech portfolio companies spanning education across K-12, vocational upskilling, lifelong learning, and now higher education with the inclusion of Eruditus.”
Vivian Wu, Managing Partner, Ventures at CZI, also commented. He said, “Eruditus has a proven track record of increasing access to education globally in partnership with leading universities. We are particularly excited about their continued innovation in bringing these high-quality programs to emerging markets, in local languages and with top regional universities.”
CZI’s latest investment in Eruditus comes amid high growth, the company’s path to profitability, partially boosted by COVID-19.
From Eruditus’ founder
Ashwin Damera, co-founder of Eruditus, said that the company had been profitable in the April-June quarter, and expects to post a “substantial profit” in its fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.
“We haven’t seen 3-5 times growth like others because we do a paid product and our price points are higher, but we’re doubling,” said Damera. “Last year, we did US$ 100M in revenues, this year we will do US$ 200M.”
Eruditus’ online only courses have seen more than double growth in the course of the pandemic. This makes up for the drying revenues from courses that had an offline classroom component. According to the company, it used to earn 25% of its revenues from blended courses that offered in-campus learning, which is now completely shut down.
Ashwin Damera, Co-Founder and CEO: Ashwin is passionate about making quality education accessible to the next generation of leaders. He focuses his efforts on university outreach and academic collaborations. He spearheads strategy and expansion in global markets. Starting his career at Citigroup, where he spent many years in multiple roles, Ashwin co-founded Travelguru in 2015. The company was later acquired by Travelocity in 2009. Since then, he has been working in the higher education space. An angel investor and advisor to multiple startups and entrepreneurs, Ashwin holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is also a qualified Chartered Accountant.
Chaitanya Kalipatnapu, Co-founder and Executive Director: Chaitanya has over 15 years of experience in executive education. In addition to working on the university collaborations, Chaitanya spearheads the blended programs’ business line and Latin American operations. Before Eruditus, Chaitanya worked at Sun Microsystems and INSEAD for their open enrolment programmes in Singapore and France. He graduated from B.I.T.S, Pilani and holds an MBA degree from INSEAD, and currently serves as the President of INSEAD Alumni Association – India chapter. Chaitanya is extremely passionate about mentoring startups and taking ideas to action. He enjoys learning everyday- not just at work but also from his children, sports and movies.
Unacademy, an Indian based edtech startup, received US$ 150M in a fresh funding round.
The funding round was led by Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund, the Bengaluru-based education technology. Existing investors including Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic, Nexus Venture Partners, Facebook and Blume Ventures also participated in the round of funding.
About the funding
The recent capital injection will push the firm’s valuation to US$ 1.45B. The investment makes it second to industry leader Byju’s among edtech startups in India and catapults into the unicorn club (companies valued at more than US$ 1B). In February, Unacademy picked up US$ 110M from Facebook and private equity firm General Atlantic at a valuation of US$ 510M, according to the company.
The company will primarily use the proceeds to launch its much anticipated K-12 product in less than four weeks, which will see it go head-to-head with Byju’s, India’s largest edtech company.
Furthermore, Unacademy is planning to launch more niche offerings like chess subscriptions and computer programming.
According to Gaurav Munjal, CEO of Unacademy, some early angel investors have undertaken partial exits following the closure of the round, but he declined to provide names. According to Munjal, the money from SoftBank is expected to be wired in the next couple of weeks. The company has in the calendar year so far already raised an estimated $260 million and is aiming to turn cash-flow positive over the next 18 months.
From the investors
Sumer Juneja, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, commented on the investment. Juneja said, “We have been closely tracking Unacademy for the last 18 months and have been impressed by their growth, quality of product and consumer engagement. They are truly democratising education in India, and we look forward to helping them scale even further.”
In India, education has stifled many brilliant minds. Unacademy, India’s largest education platform, aims to change that. In the last 6 months, Unacademy’s platform has benefited more than 300,000 students from over 2,400 online lessons and specialised courses on competitive examinations. Unacademy has some of the top educators in the country on board, including Kiran Bedi, India’s first woman IPS officer and now the Governor of Pondicherry. With more than 2M views per month, Unacademy is touching the lives of people in the remotest corners of the country.
Its success stories include thousands of students who have cracked toughest of examinations, improved students’ ability to speak and write better and increase their overall knowledge. The company’s vision is to partner with the brightest minds and have courses on every possible topic in multiple languages. India is home to 19% of the world’s youth and Unacademy aims to empower them to take on the world in a manner that traditional classrooms will never do.
From Unacademy’s CEO
Unacademy co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal made the announcement of the funding on Twitter. “Our goal always has been to democratise knowledge and make it more affordable and accessible by getting the best experts in the world to help everyone achieve their goals,” Munjal wrote.
Unacademy Group has raised $150M in a round led by Softbank valuing us at $1.45B post the funding. Great to have them onboard as a partner in our journey.
Our existing investors General Atlantic, Sequoia India, Nexus, Facebook and Blume also participated in the round.
— Gaurav Munjal (@gauravmunjal) September 2, 2020
Partnerships and Acquisitions
The announcement of the funding comes just days after the company was officially roped in by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as an official partner for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. Unacademy had originally bid for title sponsorship rights for the league but lost out to another Indian startup, fantasy sports platform Dream11.
In July, Unacademy acquired edtech startup Mastree to strengthen its presence in the K12 segment. Mastree is developing a one-stop subscription product for STEAM courses (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) for classes 5–8. The Mastree acquisition came just a week after Unacademy had acquired another PrepLadder, which offers lessons for postgraduate medical entrance exam preparation. Earlier this year, the company also acquired Kreatryx to strengthen its presence in the GATE and ESE segment, and CodeChef, which offers programming courses for learners.
By acquiring smaller edtech startups with niche offerings, Unacademy, along with its rival BYJU’S, is seen to be moving closer to becoming an edtech super app.
About Unacademy’s Founders
Gaurav Munjal, Co-founder and CEO: Gaurav is a product guy who also loves marketing. He sold his first company to CommonFloor and is currently building Unacademy.
Roman Saini, Co-founder and Chief Educator: Roman is a doctor from AIIMS. He cleared Civil Service Exam-2013 and became IAS. He also loves playing the guitar in his free time.
Hemesh Singh, Co-founder and CTO: Hemesh is interested in technology, design, travel and music.
Byju’s raised US$ 500M in round led by Silver Lake, bringing its valuation to almost US$ 11B.
Byju’s, an online learning platform, has raised US$ 500M in a fresh round of funding. The round was led by Silver Lake, a US-based private equity (PE) investor. Existing investors including Tiger Global, General Atlantic, and Owl Ventures also participated in the round.
The new round brings Byju’s valuation at US$ 10.8B, up from its last valuation at US$ 10.5B in its Series F round that was closed in August, 2020.
According to the company, this investment is a separate corporate round different from the earlier Series F round, and there more new international investors who are expected to fund Byju’s in the next few quarters.
This year, Byju’s has raised around US$ 1B in funding including its Series F round in which Tiger Global and General Atlantic invested US$ 200M each. In August, the edtech unicorn also raised US$ 122M funding from DST Global, the investment fund headed by tech billionaire Yuri Milner. In June, Byjus secured another US$ 100M from US technology investor Bond.
From Byju’s and the investors
“We are fortunate to be in a sector of positive relevance during this crisis. This has brought online learning to the forefront and is helping parents, teachers and students experience and understand its value. Our classrooms are changing possibly for the first time in 100 years and I’m really excited about the opportunities that we have to redefine the future of learning,” Byju Raveendran, chief executive of Byju’s said in a statement.
“We are delighted to lead this investment and partner with Byju and his impressive team of education technology pioneers in their mission to help children in India and around the world achieve their true potential,” added Greg Mondre, Co-CEO of Silver Lake.
Byju’s, The Learning App, is an Indian educational technology and online tutoring firm. It was founded in 2011 by Byju Raveendran and is based in Bangalore. In March 2019, it was the world’s most valued edtech company.
Investocracy, a company focused on connecting startups from emerging markets with Japanese investors, produced this article.
Are you a startup looking for investment? Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.