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Unacademy acquires Blume Ventures-backed TapChief
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Sorting Hat Technologies, which runs edtech unicorn Unacademy, has acquired a majority stake in Pilani Experts Technology Labs-owned professional networking and consulting platform TapChief.  

Post deal, TapChief was valued of Rs 100 crore, as per a statement. The deal also offered exits to all of TapChief’s existing investors. Further financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Homegrown investment firm Blume Ventures has backed both Bengaluru-based firms. 

In its last known funding round, TapChief raised $1.5 million seed capital in December 2019 from Blume. The infusion followed an angel round earlier that year, which saw TapChief raise $650,000 from investors including fintech startup Paytm, Cred founder Kunal Shah, Udhyam founder Mekin Maheshwari and early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator 500 Startups. The company had also raised funds in June 2019 and November 2016.

TapChief was founded in 2016 by Shashank Murali, Binay Krishna, and Arjun Krishna from the hostel rooms at BITS Pilani. 

The company calls itself a ‘future-of-work’ platform and leverages a host of technology solutions to enable professionals to interact and learn from experts, develop their personal brand and land contracts and projects with businesses. It claims to have over 1,50,000 registered professionals who use the platform to collaborate with experts from their chosen domains and take up short-term professional projects.

“Our endeavour at Unacademy has always been to democratise education and make learning accessible and affordable for everyone. TapChief shares a similar ethos in a different space, as evident from the open community of professionals and learners they’ve created,” Gaurav Munjal, co-founder and CEO of Unacademy, said.

TapChief caters to over 150 enterprise customers across sectors such as education, FMCG, ecommerce, enterprise SaaS and upskilling. According to the company, professionals on the platform have completed over 50,000 gigs.

Unacademy’s growth strategy has primarily been through the inorganic route. In 2020, the company acquired six startups. The NeoStencil, PrepLadder, Kreatryx and Coursavy buys deepened its reach in the test-preparation segment. It strengthened its presence in the K12 learning space with Blume-backed Mastree -- offering an exit to the investor in July 2020 -- and the programming segment with CodeChef.

Unacademy, on the other hand, was set up as an educational YouTube channel in 2016 by Munjal, Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Sachin Gupta. It helps educators create lessons on the Educator App, which learners access via the Learning App. It has more than 49,000 educators and over 40 million learners across 5,000 cities in 14 languages.

Four of its existing investors -- Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadview Capital and General Atlantic -- bought shares worth $50 million in January as part of its latest fundraising exercise.

Unacademy's earliest investors include Blume Ventures, Waterbridge Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Elevation Capital and Sequoia Capital.

Unacademy in September last year raised $150 million in a funding round led by SoftBank, catapulting the edtech company’s valuation to $1.45 billion. With this, Unacademy became the only other edtech unicorn in India besides Byju's.

Within months of the SoftBank-led funding, it added Tiger Global Management and Dragoneer Investment Group as investors at a valuation of $2 billion.

Edtech startups have attracted significant investor attention in the past few years, especially in pandemic-ridden 2020, which forced schools, colleges and universities shut.  Byju's, Vedantu, Toppr and Eruditus received big cheques last year.

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