Overestimated potential of e-learning: Unacademy CEO

BENGALURU: Hit by the slump in startup funding and a broader slowdown in sectoral growth, SoftBank-backed edtech unicorn Unacademy said the company had “overestimated” the potential of the online mode of learning.
“I overestimated the potential of online… during Covid, I didn’t estimate the impact of offline. But a large section of people wants online plus offline (mode of learning). And that was the miscalculation we did. Majority of the laid off employees were in the online space,”

Gaurav Munjal

, co-founder & CEO at the

Unacademy Group

, told TOI in an interview. “We shut down many verticals. My approach has now changed – I do not want to do 10 things… I want to do few things but I want to do them right,” he said.
Munjal said that hybrid mode of learning is the future of edtech and that he plans to bet aggressively on the expansion of the firm’s offline centres.
“I don’t think an edtech company can become big in India without having an offline play. The online business has degrown but offline has massively bounced back. Last year, we had enrolled around 7,000 students in our offline centres and we plan to end this year with 35,000 students,” Munjal said, adding that the strategy will be to open new centres in existing cities. “Kota, Delhi, and Indore have worked well for us. We will open centres in those places,” he added.

Unacademy has Rs 2,100 crore in the bank and can manage without raising funds from investors. Munjal claimed that the company’s cash burn is now one-fifth of what it used to be. “We have five to six years of runway (the amount of time a business has before it runs out of cash). Next calendar year, the online business will be fully profitable on an annual basis,” he said.
Edtech may be going through a rough patch, but the market for it exists, Munjal said. “People want to study, get better jobs, crack examinations – the edtech model is here to stay,” he added.

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