As demand for online education drops with the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, edtech firm Unacademy has taken a cue from its key rival Byju’s and announced its foray into the offline learning space by launching its own coaching centres, offering tuitions for competitive examinations.
With this move, Unacademy is pitting itself squarely against its biggest rival and India’s most valued edtech startup Byju’s, which acquired Aakash Educational Services Ltd last year for nearly $1 billion, marking its foray into the offline education market.
Like Aakash, Unacademy will also focus on NEET UG, IIT JEE and foundation courses for IX to XII grade students. However, Unacademy would still have a long way to go to match Byju’s-owned Aakash’s reach in the country, which has more than 200 tutoring centres.
The move comes at a time when demand for online education has started to drop as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted across the country. This is forcing edtech firms to tap into the offline learning market as well.
It also coincides with a general slowdown in funding in Indian startups amid geopolitical tensions led by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and a massive correction in tech stocks globally and in India, which has forced companies to not only reduce their cash burn, but look for newer avenues of revenue generation.
Unacademy, which was last valued at $3.4 billion, recently laid off more than 600 employees and tutors to reduce its cash burn.
When asked, the firm declined to comment on how much cash it was planning to infuse in its offline foray.
The firm said it would launch its first offline centre in Kota, the private coaching hub of the country. It will then launch similar centres in Jaipur, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Patna, Pune and Delhi. It hopes to enrol up to 15,000 students in the first batch.
Unacademy will also soon conduct a national scholarship admission test for batch enrolments.