Unacademy, the online test-prep company, is ready for take-off. This week, the seven-year-old edtech firm is likely to hit a major milestone—100,000 active subscribers within a year of launching its subscription model, Plus. 

“We have built the best product in the market. Now we just have to find a way to deliver it to everyone who needs it,” says Gaurav Munjal, chief executive officer and co-founder of Unacademy. Munjal doesn’t believe in tempering his ambitions. Unacademy is going to be India’s biggest edtech company in the next 12 months, he tells The Ken in an interview.

Since its inception in 2013, Unacademy has followed an Uber-like aggregation model—collect the best teachers in the business and connect them to students who need but can’t pay for quality coaching. As a free service, it racked up over 18 million views on its 50 YouTube channels.

This proved to be an excellent funnel to convert free users to paid ones; Unacademy launched its Plus subscription model in 2019, charging for live (on-the-spot and online) classes and access to teachers for resolving doubts, across several competitive exam categories. Crucially, they’re far cheaper than the competition—Unacademy’s two-year JEE JEE Joint Entrance Exam The Joint Entrance Exam is an entrance exam for admission to various engineering colleges in India. It's internationally regarded as one of the most challenging undergraduate admission tests prep course costs Rs 39,000, half what rival Vedantu charges for a similar course.

Low pricing and quality content isn’t the only hook. “We’ve created a seamless user experience, even at lower bandwidths. Three clicks and you’re inside a class,” claims Munjal. It’s just like watching Netflix, he says. 

Modelling an edtech product on an entertainment platform might seem gimmicky to some. But it seems to be working for Unacademy. 

According to a senior company official, it is likely to close the financial year ending 31 March 2020 with Rs 120 crore ($16.2 million) in operating revenue. A 10X jump from Rs 11.6 crore ($1.5 million) just a year ago. “I want to get to an annualised revenue rate of $200-300 million in the next six years,” says Munjal. Over the last six months Unacademy has also doubled the number of exam categories it caters to—from 15 to over 30. (in part, due to its timely acquisition timely acquisition The Ken Vedantu, Unacademy take India’s test prep classes online Read more  of Wifistudy Wifistudy Wifistudy Wifistudy is an online test-prep platform for government and banking entrance exams.


Olina Banerji

Based in Delhi, Olina writes about mega-trends in urban mobility, education, skilling and the environment, with a focus on how institutions and innovations can help cities grow sustainably. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics, and has worked previously with India Today and global non-profit Ashoka.

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