We just launched "Cost to Company", our brand new podcast on the biggest shifts in careers and workplaces..

This year, if edtech is the hottest startup segment in India, Unacademy is arguably the hottest edtech startup in the country. The five-year-old test preparation startup has been on a tear in recent times, purportedly hitting a $100 million revenue rate, garnering tens of thousands of students, as well as gaining eyeballs and attention with its IPL sponsorship IPL sponsorship The Hindu BCCI announces Unacademy as official partner for IPL Read more .

The icing on the cake was its recent recent The Ken Unpacking SoftBank’s unicorn investment in Unacademy Read more $150 million funding round from SoftBank. It was a fundraise that made Unacademy India’s latest unicorn startup and its CEO, Gaurav Munjal, one of India’s youngest startup unicorn founders.

In today’s interview, Munjal, 30, talks about Unacademy’s journey, its plans and goals, and most notably, his ambition to make the company the “Netflix of Education”.

Q. Gaurav, let’s start with your personal journey. How was life like before you started Unacademy?

Gaurav Munjal: My family is from Jaipur and my father is a doctor. Even as a child, I had big dreams and ambitions. I think when I was 12 years old, I told my father that I wanted to make a computer programme called “Doors” that would be popular all over the world, like how Bill Gates made Microsoft Windows. I used to be very much into computer programming and used to spend seven to eight hours daily learning coding. I was average in my academics but I realised very early that I loved to build things.

I was clear that I wanted to be a computer engineer and the turning point in my life came when my father pushed me to go to Mumbai for my engineering undergraduate degree. I was very active on campus and was part of various committees and events where I was exposed to many corporate leaders and startup folks like Kunal Shah. I also realised that the college system in India was broken in many ways—placements for instance. If you are not lucky enough to join an awesome college, the chances are, you will not get a chance to join an awesome company, no matter how hard you try. I realised that a Google or a Facebook would never come to my college.

But I got lucky. One day, when we were doing a campus event, we wanted to get sponsors and the Directi Directi Directi Directi is a Mumbai-based business group, comprising multiple tech businesses such as Radix, Ringo, Flock, Zeta, and Codechef office was 10 minutes from my place.

AUTHOR

Sumanth Raghavendra

Sumanth is a serial entrepreneur with more than eighteen years experience in running startups. He is currently the founder of Deck App Technologies, a Bangalore-based startup attempting to re-imagine productivity software for the Post-PC era. Sumanth’s columns appear regularly in leading publications. He holds MBA degrees from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, USA.

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.