Like many companies across the world, Indian edtech giant Unacademy hasn’t been spared by the global economic downturn or the so-called stagflation in the first half of this year.

Just last week, the $3.4-billion-valued company laid off laid off Inc42 Exclusive: Edtech Unicorn Unacademy Lays Off Another 150 Employees Read more  over 150 employees, mostly from its sales and operations teams, according to Inc42. More alarmingly, this round of layoffs came just two months after Unacademy let go of 10% of its workforce—around 600 full-time and contractual employees.

During this whole turmoil, though, Unacademy has been pitching a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) product to companies such as fintech Slice, short-video and live-commerce app Trell, and fellow edtech Scaler. In fact, The Ken has learned that Unacademy even pitched this service, called Cohesive, to its main rival and the biggest edtech in the world—the $22 billion-worth BYJU’s BYJU’s The Ken An audit reckoning—the $22B Byju’s juggernaut is yet to get Deloitte’s approval Read more .

Cohesive is a tool that helps companies create context-specific development environments. According to a company blog post, a development environment is a temporary location where software applications are tested and reviewed prior to release. Cohesive is ideally suited for companies that face unique spikes in usage during a particular time. For example, lunch hour at a foodtech company or the final five overs of a cricket match on a streaming platform.

Explore more infographics like this in The Ken -
Visual Stories

 

Cohesive was set up in November 2021, led by Unacademy’s former head of data science, Vaibhav Sinha. The team currently has seven employees, as per LinkedIn, most of whom have worked at Unacademy. While pitching to companies, though, the Cohesive team stresses that it’s a separate entity, The Ken has learned. However, Cohesive is housed under Unacademy’s parent company, Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt Ltd.

Venturing into SaaS is an interesting, although not surprising, experiment for Unacademy. Despite a boost during the pandemic, profits remain elusive for edtechs. According to company database Tracxn, none of the large Indian edtechs are profitable. Unacademy recorded revenues of Rs 465 crore ($59 million) in the year ended March 2021, which included losses of Rs 1,537 crore ($197 million).

And with the recent downturn, funding has also dried up across the board. With almost half of 2022 already over, Indian edtech companies have only managed to raise $1.61 billion so far. Unacademy’s last funding round was in August 2021, when it raised $440 million, led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek.

AUTHOR

Shashwat Mohanty

Shashwat covers cleantech, SaaS, and Web3. An alum of St. Xavier's College (Bombay), SCMC, and ACJ, Shashwat has previously worked at The Economic Times and Meesho. When he isn't missing deadlines, Shashwat likes attending live music gigs, discussing baseball, and watching Parks and Rec with his partner 🏳️‍🌈

View Full Profile

Subscribe to read this story

The Ken is the only business subscription you need. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at [email protected] with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.