The coronavirus lockdowns are largely over, and schools are beginning to reopen, but India’s ed-tech boom shows no sign of slowing down.
Vedantu has become India’s latest unicorn startup after raising $100 million in its Series E financing round led by private equity firm ABC World Asia. Existing investors Coatue Management, Tiger Global, GGV Capital, and WestBridge also participated in the round. The round values Vedantu at $1 billion, making it the 28th Indian startup to enter the unicorn club this year.
“We have grown two-three times across metrics,” Vedantu cofounder Vamsi Krishna told ET. “Currently we are at a $65 million (Rs. 500 crore) annualised revenue run-rate which is three times higher than last year,” he added.
Vedantu says that it wants to target languages other than Hindi and English, and also expand internationally after its new fundraise. “Vernacular languages are going to be a big focus for us in the next two years. We are also going to look seriously at international expansion over the next 15 months. We are looking at geographies like Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as well as the Southeast Asian markets, Europe and others,” Krishna added.
Vedantu had been founded in 2014 by Anand Prakash, Vamsi Krishna, Pulkit Jain and Saurabh Saxena, and connected students and teachers through online classes. “We wanted to democratize education in India. Why should students be forced to attend a particular teacher’s classes, and vice versa? We wanted to give both the teachers and the freedom to choose,” the founders had told OfficeChai in an interview in 2015.
Vedantu has come a long way since then, and offers live and interactive classes for students in Classes 6 to 12. The company now has 35 million monthly active users, and as of last year, had 200,000 paying customers. Vedantu also has partnerships with Airtel and Tata Sky to offer its courses on their respective satellite cable TVs, and offers a large library of lessons at no cost to students.
Like other ed-tech startups, Vedantu really came into its own during the coronavirus pandemic — the lockdowns meant that students couldn’t attend classes in school, and its live tutoriting product suddenly found a captive new audience. Vedantu was valued at $275 million in early 2020, and has managed to cross the $1 billion mark just a year later.
Other ed-tech startups have similarly thrived. Vedantu is the fifth ed-tech startup to enter India’s unicorn club, apart from Byju’s, Unacademy, Upgrad and Eruditus. All these companies have seen a surge in their userbases — and their valuations — thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. But the bigger challenge might just lie ahead — these startups will now need to maintain their traction as lockdowns ease, and students weigh their options of returning to traditional means of education.