Unacademy aggressively strengthened its presence in new categories and explored international expansion
At first glance, the company appears to be similar to US-based MasterClass, or FrontRow, Celebrity School, Artium Academy, Bambinos, UnluClass, Mento, among others, based in India.
Founder Munjal responded to a tweet from a former Unacademy employee about launching hobby classes such as arts, singing, music, etc.
Unacademy co-founder Gaurav Munjal announced that edtech unicorns are planning to venture into celebrity-led after-school classes. The company, currently dubbed “Unacademy Icons”, is expected to launch in 2022.
Although the Unacademy spokesperson has not commented on the development, the news comes straight from one of Munjal’s tweets. DeckRooster co-founder and former Unacademy employee Vivek Raju said Unacademy could venture into “Funacademy” with the launch of recreational classes such as arts, singing, music, among others. To which, Munjal replied, “Unacademy Icons will launch soon.”
At first glance, the business appears to be that of FrontRow, Celebrity School, Artium Academy and Mento, where classes are said to be taught by notable celebrities in the field. The working model wouldn’t be clearer until the unicorn officially comes out with the launch.
“There are no additional details that can be shared at this time,” a spokesperson for the Unacademy said. Inc42 in a request sent by e-mail.
The entrance exam-focused learning platform has aggressively strengthened its presence in new categories and explored international expansion, co-founder Roman Saini said in December 2021.
As part of the expansion strategy, Unacademy acquired five startups in 2021 – online courses focused on CBSE and ICSE for grades K-10, Swiflearn, an edtech platform focused on creators Sterilized, start game streaming Rheo television, networking and recruitment platform TapChef and CAT and MBA preparation platform Handa Ka Funda.
The many facets of the Unacademy
In 2010, Gaurav Munjal launched Unacademy as a YouTube channel. Five years later, it was officially registered as a Bangalore-based edtech startup. Last unacademy raised $ 440 million in Series H funding for a valuation of $ 3.4 billion in August 2021.
In October 2021, Unacademy’s monthly numbers looked something like – 14K + teachers, 1.5 Lakh classes, and 6 Cr + students. The Unicorn offers preparation study material for several professional and educational entrance exams in the form of both free and subscription-based live lessons.
The Unacademy app and website offer test preparation materials for IIT-JEE, UPSC, SSC, NEET, GATE, among others. In 2021, he launched Relevel, a new gamified product to allow job seekers to showcase their skills and find employment in some of India’s biggest startups. The startup also has a third branch, Graphy, which allows content creators to expand their audience, monetize their skills, and host live cohort-based courses.
While Unacademy Icons apparently looks quite a bit like Graphy, the main difference is that Graphy is an LMS (sort of) for content creators to create, brand, and sell their own content.
If ‘Icons’ is anything like the hobby-driven edtech taught by celebrities, the MasterClass-style company would be a creator as well as curator of well-known industry experts, and not n ‘any content creator. It would be more than a simple launcher.
The Extracurricular Edtech Boom in India
With an increase in the number of clients amidst the closure of schools and other educational institutions during most of 2020 and 2021, the education sector has seen green shoots with the emergence of many hobby-based edtech startups.
In fact, the current on-off mode persisting in educational institutions during the current year has contributed to an increased interest in children as well as adults learning new activities.
With startups like FrontRow, Bambinos, BitClass, EduRaaga, users can learn new skills from other content creators and industry experts.
Not only are startups focused on hobbies, the edtech segment of extracurricular activities has also attracted interest from existing edtech giants. For example, when BYJU acquired WhiteHat Jr, it was just a children’s coding platform. Today he has ventured into language, music, math, art, animation, and video making.
With no details on the launch right now, it’s safe to say that Unacademy may or may not be the same idea as US-based MasterClass.
Still, if Unacademy offers celebrity-taught classes, Icons just might be the push for startups trying to gain acceptance amid Indian textbooks and the school-endorsed teacher learning methodology.