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.


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.

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