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Unacademy fires 600 employees in downsizing exercise

April 8, 2022
-Dipta Joshi

Bangalore-based Unacademy (estb.2015), India’s second largest edtech platform has laid off 600 of its employees in a cost-cutting exercise. The platform claims to have 50 million plus active learners with 1000 plus top educators who prepare learners in 60 plus competitive exams including the civil service, banking exams and the IIT JEE etc.  

The downsizing has impacted 300 educators hired on contractual basis and another 300 employees from the sales and content marketing in the test preparation team. The start-up, a unicorn (privately held startup crossing the $ 1 billion valuation mark) has 6000 employees.

Unacademy, which was valued at $3.44 billion in August 2021, has  recorded employee benefits payments as its biggest expense at Rs 7485 million during the financial year 2021. During the same period, payments towards educators, at Rs 5413 million, was the second-largest expense outgo. The company recorded a loss of Rs 15,370 million for the financial year 2021.

According to the official statement sent out by the firm, the layoffs have been “…based on the outcome of several assessments, a small subset of employee, contractor and educator roles were re-evaluated due to role redundancy and performance, as is common for any organisation  of our size and scale. The vast majority of roles impacted has been a result of that process and the efficiency we aim to drive in the broader business”.

The statement further adds, the firm remains focussed on becoming profitable in the fourth quarter of calendar year, 2022. Unacademy’s test prep business has been growing over 50 percent year-on-year. Its skill assessment and hiring test platform for private sector jobs, ‘Relevel’ has over 1.8 million registered users and has delivered more than $2 million worth of job offers to candidates clearing the test.

Co-founded by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh Unacademy aimed to ‘democratise access to high quality education’ and has been a leader in the test-prep business. The group has chalked out plans to expand its Relevel division to global markets and make an initial public offering (IPO) over the next few years.  

Edtech businesses in the country were the biggest beneficiaries of the COVID pandemic induced lockdowns when schools and other educational institutions remained closed. The sector also witnessed a funding spree from overseas investors. Unacademy raised $440 million led by the Singapore based Temasek Holdings Limited in August 2021.

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