From Byju’s to Eruditus — India now has four edtech unicorns, thanks to a $4 billion fund flowing in since 2020

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From Byju’s to Eruditus — India now has four edtech unicorns, thanks to a $4 billion fund flowing in since 2020
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  • India has seen three startups turn unicorn and one into a decacorn between January 2020 and August 2021.
  • Dexter Capital Advisors's CEO believes that Teachmint, Classplus, Quizziz could make an entry to the unicorn club.
  • Indian edtech startups have raised about $4 billion in the same time frame.
Education technology or edtech was one of the least funded sectors in India until 2019, but the rise of remote learning during the COVID-ridden 2020 has given a new set of wings to this otherwise ignored segment.

From January 2020 to halfway through 2021, India has seen three startups turn unicorn and one into a decacorn. A unicorn — in a startup parlance — is a company valued at above $1 billion and a decacorn is a company valued above $10 billion.

A major reason for this series of edtech unicorns in India has been the greater interest of the investors in the segment. Indian edtech startups have raised about $4 billion since 2020, of which $2.2 billion was raised in 2020 and $1.9 billion was raised between January-August 3, 2021.

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From Byju’s to Eruditus — India now has four edtech unicorns, thanks to a $4 billion fund flowing in since 2020
BI India

India’s edtech unicorn revolution to continue

Byju’s was the first Indian edtech company to turn into a unicorn in 2018. The company is now valued at a whopping $16.5 billion, positioning it as the highest valued Indian startup and the highest valued edtech startup across the globe.

It took about two years and a pandemic to make Unacademy the second Indian edtech unicorn in September 2020. In 2021, India has found two unicorns in Ronnie Screwvala-led upGrad and Ashwin Damera-led Eruditus. Meanwhile, kids' live learning platform Vedantu is reportedly all set for its unicorn round and is in talks with investors across the board.

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UnicornValuationYear
Byju’s$16.5 billion2018
Unacademy$3.4 billion2020
Eruditus $3.2 billion2021
UpGrad$1.2 billion2021

Devendra Agrawal, founder and CEO of Dexter Capital Advisors told Business Insider as the edtech sector matures, more sectors can be seen progressing in the unicorn directions. “Though, it may take some time as scale wise a number of players are still not that big. The players, which have a good growth momentum definitely have a shot at this coveted slot and in that players like Teachmint, Classplus, Quizziz should lead the pack,” he added.

Edtech startups speculated to sashay their way into India’s unicorn club

StartupFunding to dateKey investors
Teachmint$40 millionLearn Capital, Better Capital, Lightspeed India Partners
Classplus$60 millionFalcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global Management, RTP Global, GSV Ventures
Quizziz$47 millionTiger Global, Nexus Venture Partners, GSV Ventures, Eight Roads Ventures India

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Vaibhav Tamrakar, senior vice president at consultancy firm PGA Labs, in an email interaction with Business Insider shared that India’s edtech domain will gain more investor confidence especially after China’s latest regulation that has ordered all school curriculum and live tutoring edtech startups to go non-profit.

“India is well-positioned to be the ‘tutor of the world’ with a strong presence of key ingredients including a large market of over 350 million learners, English-speaking population and tutors, and access to capital including both domestic and foreign investors. Edtech players in India had already expanded footprints in the global markets pre-COVID-19,” he added.

Sydney-based maths learning platform Matific — which has operations across 60 countries — decided to enter India in 2019.

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Its chief executive Craig Shotland, talking about why Matific decided to expand to India, told Business Insider, “We see India as a key strategic market driven by factors like robust market potential, strong demand for edtech, and government policies like NEP. But most importantly the passion for education and learning, willingness to adopt technology, and strong affinity to gamified educational content makes it a great place to be right now.”

What led to the rise of Indian edtech

Tamrakar of PGA Labs told Business Insider, “While these trends [National Education Policy, accessibility to education and teachers, demand in upskilling and remote learning] were already transforming the market pre-COVID-19, the lockdowns did to edtech what demonetisation did to the fintech sector in India [in 2016] – accelerate these decade-long shifts within a year.”

Dexter Capital Advisors’ Agrawal noted that the edtech sector was forgotten till 2015 and the issue was whether the companies operating in this segment could scale up. He added that proven players like Byju’s were able to build investors' trust in the segment and show that India had an appetite for edtech as well.
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