SoftBank leads $150 million funding in Unacademy, valuation jumps to $1.5 billion

BENGALURU: Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is leading a $150 million funding round in education technology firm Unacademy, boosting the firm’s valuation to $1.45 billion, second only to industry leader Byju’s.

Existing investors General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Facebook, and Blume Ventures also participated in this funding round.

Unacademy last picked up $110 million from Facebook and PE firm General Atlantic in February, at a valuation of $510 million.

ET had reported about this deal on August 15.

“Learning from the best experts to achieve a life goal has mostly been a privilege, available only to those living in the top few cities of the country. At Unacademy, we are breaking that barrier and helping people achieve their life’s most important goals, by giving them access to the best coaching from experts in the field,” said Gaurav Munjal, cofounder, and CEO, Unacademy.

This is SoftBank’s first investment in an Indian firm since December when it had backed eyewear retailer Lenskart. The famed technology investor has over the past year slowed down new bets globally, cutting fewer cheques following the IPO debacle at portfolio firm WeWork.

All documents related to the investment have been signed and the final closing is expected in the next few weeks, Unacademy said in a statement.

“By bringing quality education to a vast network of students for the first time, Unacademy is bridging the privilege gap in India,” said Munish Varma, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

SoftBank Vision Fund’s other big Indian portfolio companies such as budget hotels chain Oyo and digital payments platform Paytm have also been under the scanner due to mounting losses.

This funding comes amid increased investor interest in the online education sector that has seen stupendous growth amid the pandemic. Byju’s saw its valuation increase to $10.5 billion in June, from $8 billion in January while live online learning platform Vedantu also saw its valuation soar to $600 million.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s philanthropic organisation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative also participated in the edtech firm Eruditus’s $113 million fundraise last week, led by Leeds Illuminate and South African internet giant Prosus Ventures.

SoftBank leads $150 million funding in Unacademy, valuation jumps to $1.5 billion SoftBank leads $150 million funding in Unacademy, valuation jumps to $1.5 billion Reviewed by TechCO on 9/03/2020 Rating: 5

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