/SoftBank leads $150 million funding in Unacademy, valuation jumps to $1.5 billion

SoftBank leads $150 million funding in Unacademy, valuation jumps to $1.5 billion

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is leading a $ 150 million funding round in education technology startup Unacademy, boosting the firm’s valuation to $ 1.5 billion, second only to industry leader Byju’s.

Existing investors Facebook, General Atlantic, Sequoia India, Nexus Venture Partners, and Blume Ventures also participated in this funding round. Unacademy last picked up $ 110 million from Facebook and PE firm General Atlantic in February, at a valuation of $ 510 million.

ET had reported about this deal on August 15.

This is SoftBank’s first investment in an Indian firm since December, when it had backed eyewear retailer Lenskart. The famed technology investor has over the past year slowed down new bets globally, cutting fewer cheques following the IPO debacle at portfolio firm WeWork.

SoftBank Vision Fund’s other big Indian portfolio companies such as budget hotels chain Oyo and digital payments platform Paytm have also been under the scanner due to mounting losses.

This funding comes amid increased investor interest in the online education sector that has seen stupendous growth amid the pandemic. Byju’s saw its valuation increase to $ 10.5 billion in June, from $ 8 billion in January while live online learning platform Vedantu also saw its valuation soar to $ 600 million.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s philanthropic organisation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative also participated in the edtech firm Eruditus’s $ 113 million fundraise last week, led by Leeds Illuminate and South African internet giant Prosus Ventures.

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Small Biz-Economic Times