Unacademy’s Tough Decision: Laying Off 150 Employees Amid Pandemic

Introduction

Unacademy is an Indian education technology company headquartered in Bengaluru. It was founded in 2015 by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh with an aim to provide free quality education to everyone. The company offers interactive online classes conducted by experienced teachers for various competitive examinations including engineering, medical, civil services, and others. It has raised over $838 million in funding from renowned investors such as SoftBank, Facebook, Sequoia Capital, and others.

History

Unacademy started its journey as a YouTube channel, where Gaurav Munjal used to post informative educational videos. Soon, the channel became quite popular and grew to one of the largest educational channels on YouTube. In 2015, Munjal joined hands with Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh and founded Unacademy as an educational technology company with an ambitious goal of democratizing education in India.

Funding and Investors

Unacademy has been quite successful in attracting investors’ attention and has raised around $838 million in funding so far. SoftBank led the company’s latest funding round of $440 million in April 2021, followed by other investors such as Facebook, Sequoia Capital, Blume Ventures, and others.

Performance

Unacademy has been growing at a rapid pace since its inception. It has more than 50,000 registered educators and over 60 million registered users. The company has expanded its offerings from just YouTube videos to a comprehensive learning platform with interactive live classes, study material, quizzes, doubt-solving sessions, and personalized learning plans. In 2020, Unacademy acquired various edtech startups such as CodeChef, PrepLadder, and Coursavy to expand its reach and offerings.

Layoffs

In recent news, Unacademy announced that it would be laying off 150 employees due to restructuring and cost-cutting measures. The layoffs represent 1.4% of the total employee strength of Unacademy. The move has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial impact and the increasing competition in the edtech space. Unacademy is not the only edtech company that has resorted to layoffs in recent months. Several other similar companies have also faced significant financial headwinds due to the pandemic.

Statement from Stakeholders

In response to the layoffs, Unacademy’s co-founder and CEO, Gaurav Munjal, stated that the decision was a difficult one, but the company had to make some tough calls to remain competitive. He further stated that Unacademy remained committed to its employees and would do everything possible to support them during the transition. The laid-off employees would receive a severance package, health insurance coverage until December 2022, and other benefits as per the company’s policy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Unacademy has been among the few Indian edtech startups that have made impressive progress in recent years. It has attracted significant funding and is poised to grow further. However, the layoffs indicate that the company is not immune to financial hardships, and it may need to take some tough decisions to remain competitive. The edtech sector in India is crowded, and companies need to be agile and innovative to succeed in the long run. The pandemic and the resulting economic uncertainty have only made things more challenging for the sector. As such, Unacademy and other edtech companies need to stay focused and committed to their goals to emerge stronger from the crisis.

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