Indian online learning platform Unacademy said on Tuesday it has acquired Chandigarh-based startup PrepLadder for $50 million — in a cash and stock deal — as the Facebook-backed edtech giant scouts for deals to expand its presence in the country.
PrepLadder, which employs about 150 people, offers courses aimed at medical students. The two-year-old startup, which never raised any capital from external investors, has more than 80,000 subscribers, said PrepLadder co-founder Deepanshu Goyal.
“Unacademy and PrepLadder are working towards the common goal of making quality education accessible to all. We believe that the synergies between both products will truly create a mark in the industry,” he said.
The acquisition of PrepLadder comes as both Unacademy and Byju’s — the two edtech leaders in India — have engaged in M&A talks with several local startups in recent months to further their dominance in the nation. In a call with reporters today, Gaurav Munjal, co-founder and chief executive of Unacademy, said he was open to talking with more startups to explore opportunities for them to work together.
TechCrunch reported last month that Byju’s is in advanced stages of talks to acquire Doubtnut, another edtech startup, for as much as $150 million. The nine-year-old firm, which was valued at $10.5 billion last month, is also in talks with Whitehat Jr, an online platform that teaches kids how to code, Indian daily Economic Times reported last week. The Morning Context, which first wrote about Unacademy’s imminent deal with PrepLadder, reported on Tuesday that the Indian startup is also in talks with Bangalore-based tutoring startup Mastree.
Unacademy has accelerated its growth in recent months as schools across the country closed in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The startup, which began as a YouTube channel in 2015, has amassed over 30 million learners on the platform. More than 700,000 users access its app and website each day.
Unacademy continues to offer dozens of courses for school-going students at no charge. But last year it also launched a paid subscription service. Munjal said today that the platform had amassed over 200,000 subscribers. In the last three months, Unacademy’s subscriber base has surged by 100%, he said.
“With increased emphasis on online learning in recent times, the average daily watch time across Unacademy platforms has witnessed a steep increase of 100%. The monthly watch time minutes has also reached an all-time high of over 1 billion,” the startup said in a statement.