The Success Story of Unacademy

  • Mallika Rangaiah
  • Jul 24, 2020
  • Startups
  • Updated on: Feb 04, 2021
The Success Story of Unacademy title banner

The education sector has already begun shaping a revolution as the traditional and conventional teaching strategies of classroom education gradually head towards becoming obsolete and old news. As books and blackboards get replaced by online tutorials and tests, the Education Technology (EdTech) era has emerged over the past decade and its volatile wave has hit the demography of learners across all age-groups in the Indian nation. 


The massive breach in learning levels brought about by social, monetary, geographic and a plethora of different components puts India at the danger of overlooking or missing out on the undiscovered capital of human potential and this is where new EdTech companies like BYJU's, Unacademy, Toppr have taken the opportunity to rise and take charge.


The popularity of online education has definitely accelerated post the advent of COVID19, the critical virus which has led to students from schools and universities across the world turning towards online education to resume their learning.  


Owing to the current scenario, Edtech firms have been given the chance to rise like a phoenix as online education becomes a necessity instead of a mere option. One such popular startup EdTech company is Unacademy, an online learning platform developed for the purpose of preparing students for competitive exams.


This platform facilitates content for major competitive exams and provides brief lectures through videos on varied subjects which can be reached for free, allowing students to properly prepare for their respective competitive exams and practice self-learning.


The EdTech firm has marked its position as a leading EdTech platform after becoming a unicorn in September 2020, after it raised $150 Mn from the Japan-based SoftBank Vision Fund. 



About Unacademy


Owned and operated by Sorting Hat Technologies, Unacademy is an online learning platform, where the user gets to view online videos of their curriculum as designed by experienced educators. The Unacademy app is available not only for 10+2 students but also for college applicants who are qualifying for competitive exams like CAT, GATE, UPSC, etc.


Founded in 2015, the platform was initially introduced as a YouTube channel by Gaurav Manjal back in 2010. With its primary headquarters residing in Bengaluru, Unacademy is India’s biggest learning platform which brings together expert Educators for millions of students who are in the requirement of enhanced quality education. 

You can also sneak a peek at our blog on the transition from traditional to online classrooms


Consisting of a widening network of over 10,000 registered educators and 13 million learners, Unacademy paving its way towards revolutionizing the nation’s learning approach. The platform’s group comprises Unacademy, Unacademy Subscription, Wifistudy, Chamomile Tea with Toppers as well as Let’s Crack it Brands.


Business Model of Unacademy


Unacademy initially began as a Youtube channel that offered free education for whoever visited its channel. After a point, its founders began considering the prospect of gradually monetizing their facilitated services resulting in the birth of Unacademy, an official learning platform that offered free classes.  

Speaking of YouTube, you can take a look at our blog on AI in Youtube


Yet this time their approach involved some slight adjustments. They launched live classes, accessible only to the paid users. They also introduced an ad-free rendition of Unacademy which is accessible only to users who have paid a subscription fee. One feature which provides an edge to the platform is that they offer to coach for some of the most imperative and esteemed examinations of the nation which include UPSC as well as CAT. 


With the platform's team channeling in a suitable arena and with users prepared to pay the fees, various prospects sprung up for Unacademy motivating the founders to take the platform further. The platform endeavored to extend more focus on coaching services, a service gaining a lot of popularity among the Indian society.  


Unacademy’s content package which includes various varied courses such as computer programming (coding), spoken English, and a variety of other practically applicable classes has garnered many participants over time. The premium version of the platform is the Unacademy Plus app which offers more customized services as well as access to a various wide range of courses that are not available on the which had more personalized services and access to a large number of courses that are not available in the unpaid version.


The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak led to Unacademy announcing that it will facilitate 20,000 free live classes for all its existing and new users. A paid subscription is not required for accessing these classes. 


Founders of Unacademy


The image shows the 3 founders of Unacademy

Founders of Unacademy


“We want to build the largest education platform not just in India but across the world,” - Munjal, co-founder, and CEO, Unacademy


Initially founded by Gaurav Munjal, Unacademy was later joined by Hemesh Singh and Roman Saini. Gaurav Munjal had initiated the YouTube channel which was named Unacademy while being an engineering student in Mumbai. Later on, he was employed to work with Directi as a software developer. Post this he founded his own company called, which was later acquired by the firm Common Floor.  


Hemesh Singh is a graduate from the Motilal Nehru Institute of Technology in engineering. He became the Chief Technical Officer at the FlatChat post which he is presently the CTO of Unacademy. 


Dr. Roman Saini had been a medical graduate who proceeded to crack the UPSC exam at the young age of 21. He eventually quit his job as the Assistant Collector to join Unacademy and offer online coaching for aiding underprivileged students.


Recent Funding of Unacademy


“Immersive technology can today deliver high quality education for millions of students and professionals, in a manner that is scalable and affordable, and the rapid growth in smartphone penetration and access to low-cost internet have created a massive global education market that is attracting several investors." - G.V. Ravishankar, managing director of Sequoia Capital India LLP


As per data acquired from TechStory, Unacademy has raised around $50 million from its existing investors in February 2021. These investors include Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadview Capital, and General Atlantic.

In total, the company has raised more than $400 million from investors.


From Kreatryx, Wifistudy, Prepladdder to CodeChef, the image shows some of the applications of Unacademy

Unacademy leading acquisitions


The company has acquired 6 organizations to date. One organization is Kreatryx, which is an online preparation platform for GATE and the Engineering Services Exam (ESE), which was acquired at the end of March 2020 in a cash plus stock deal. The platform has also acquired WiFi Study back in 2018. 


In June 2020, Unacademy announced the acquisition of CodeChef, an 11-year-old online platform for algorithm and coding. The purpose of the acquisition is to aid the company in launching coding skills vertical for school kids.


It also acquired the Chandigarh-based ed-tech startup PrepLadder in July 2020.


The platform's most recent acquisition was that of the test prep startup NeoStencil for an undisclosed amount which it acquired towards the end of 2020.



Unacademy’s Progress 


The Edtech firm Unacademy presently has its own mobile application as well as a credible YouTube channel. The firm is paving its way towards positioning itself as one of the biggest unicorns in the Indian education sector. They have a steadily escalating base of subscribers on both the app as well as the YouTube channel. 


Unacademy offers over 2,400 lessons, covering subjects from a variety of competitive examinations. The platform currently comprises thousands of online educators as well as over 250 million total views for their YouTube videos. As the online learning platforms rise in importance the platform will definitely only continue to grow. 


With over 2 million views on their videos, Unacademy is making headway in gradually reaching every nook and corner of India to aid and empower the youth. The platform also holds some renowned educators such as Kiran Bedi under its purview. The app has been the stronghold that has benefitted a massive number of students in cracking some of the most arduous competitive examinations in the nation.


After adding six companies to its bucket in 2020, the platform is on the lookout to acquire two-three additional companies in 2021 with the goal of expanding their product offerings. It is also looking to focus on the test prep vertical and become cash-flow positive this year.

Unacademy is looking to boost its position in the test prep market through ‘Graphy’ and its acquisition of K-12 learning platform Mastree. 




Backed by major large corporations like Facebook, General Atlantic, and Sequoia Capital,  Unacademy has been fending well for itself. At this stage, the platform holds an optimum opportunity to take its business to greater heights, equipped with a team that is driven to make the best out of its available resources.