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Facebook, General Atlantic bet on ed-tech startup Unacademy
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Unacademy, an ed-tech platform to prepare for competitive exams, has raised $110 million (Rs 787 crore) from social network Facebook Inc., US-based private equity firm General Atlantic and other investors.

Existing backers Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital and Blume Ventures also took part in this round, Unacademy said in a statement.

Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar also participated in this round.          

Unacademy, operated by Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd, said it will use the funding to expand into test preparation categories, launch more exam categories, acquire educators, and create content for learners.

In addition to raising fresh capital, Unacademy also provided exits to some angel investors. Company co-founder and chief executive officer Gaurav Munjal said the firm now has over 90,000 subscribers.

“With this investment in Unacademy, we are reinforcing our commitment to the Indian startup ecosystem and investing in a company that is transforming learning in India,” Facebook India vice president and managing director Ajit Mohan said.

The ed-tech platform, which focusses on competitive exams, last raised funding in June last year. It secured $50 million (around Rs 346 crore) as part of its Series D round from Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures and others.

It was originally founded as an educational YouTube channel in 2016 by Munjal, Saini, Hemesh Singh, and Sachin Gupta. In 2018, early-stage venture capital WaterBridge Ventures, which had invested $1 million in Unacademy in 2016, exited with a return of five times on its investment.

The exit was made possible by the $21 million (Rs 144 crore) investment from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, and SAIF Partners as part of Series C round of funding. Blume had also contributed to the funding round.

The continuing funding spree in ed-tech

The larger ed-tech segment in India has been the object of investor attention over the last few years. The most heavily funded startup is Byju's, which is part of the unicorn club of startups to be valued at $1 billion.

On Tuesday, the Gurugram-based PlanetSpark announced that it raised Rs 2.2 crore (around $448,000) as part of its pre-Series A round of funding from the Indian Angel Network, Lead Angels and Hyderabad Angels.

Just last week, interactive online tutoring platform Vedantu Innovations Pvt. Ltd has raised $24 million as part of an extension of its Series C round of funding led by GGV Capital.

Last month, Gurugram-based DoubtNut raised $15 million in its Series A round of funding led by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings. Sequoia's Surge was an early investor in DoubtNut.

Also last month, growth-stage investor Iron Pillar led a Rs 60-crore (around $8.3 million) Series B round in Testbook, which operates a platform focused on government examination preparations.

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