EdTech Firm Unacademy Bets as IPL Official Partners

Unacademy pumps in INR 120-130 crore for 3 seasons of the IPL as the official partner.


In a celebratory development for Indian start-ups, Unacademy, an Indian ed-tech firm bagged the title of ‘Official Sponsor’ for 3 seasons of the IPL starting the 2020 edition. 

Unacademy steals the spotlight

Unacademy is a Bengaluru based EdTech start-up which along with its comrades brought disruption into the Indian education sector and found favour in the market owing to the solution it presented to the Covid problem.

Unacademy is considered a ‘high-intensity’ brand and had set its sights high to win the ‘title sponsorship’ which Dream 11 dramatically stole, and which we have already witnessed. 

Unacademy was matched in competency by its nemesis Byju’s which was also battling for both title sponsorship as well as for becoming the ‘Official sponsor’.

Unacademy will retain its ‘official sponsor’ title from the 13th chapter of the Premier League which already concluded in November last year.

After Future Group announced that it would be taking a step back from last year’s IPL, Unacademy’s path was cleared, and they didn’t hesitate to pump in almost 120-130 INR crores to seal their position for the next 3 seasons.

The EdTech sector participated in a very blatant showdown in the IPL 2020. Byju’s has already joined hands with the International Cricket Council (ICC). Whereas Unacademy was over enthusiastic for taking on Vivo in its race for the Title Sponsorship.

Still, Unacademy has relentlessly been pursuing Vivo who are on the lookout for a suitable company to exit out of the IPL deal by transferring their title sponsorship rights.

If Unacademy  successfully makes an offer to help Vivo pay the cricket board a balance of INR 1436 Cr, the former will be assigned rights and Vivo can exit. 

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For an Indian EdTech start-up to win the central sponsorship is commendable because it goes to show that start-ups can quickly rise to the top and stand shoulder to shoulder with advertising giants.

Unacademy is flexing its money muscle

Unacademy recently raised INR 1125 Cr in a second round of funding where Softbank Vision entered as a new participant. Other contributors to this funding series included Unacademy’s existing investors like Facebook, General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, and Blume Ventures. 

This series of funding saw Unacademy’s net worth shoot up by 3 folds from INR 3825 Cr. To INR 10900 Cr. Which automatically pushed Unacademy into the start-up unicorn club. 

Owing to this development, Unacademy flexed its money muscle and went all out to benefit from the IPL. 

Another factor seems to be working in its favour. All the hullabaloo around ‘Make in India’ coupled with India becoming averse to Chinese or foreign funded companies being showcased on such a grand platform has worked in their favour. 

What’s in it for me?

Just like any other start-up, Unacademy followed in the footsteps of other start-ups who were investing heavily in the IPL including Dream11 and PayTM. 

For an Indian EdTech start-up to win the central sponsorship is commendable because it goes to show that start-ups can quickly rise to the top and stand shoulder to shoulder with advertising giants. 

However, the fee is relatively high and start-ups that have already gone through a few rounds of funding can afford to pay up the sponsorship money. 

The fact that IPL sponsorships are going through a new wave of young new age start-ups is certainly good news and very encouraging for more EdTech companies like Unacademy.

It’s a huge shift from the permanent backers the IPL has always seen like Pepsi and Future Group. 

Anju Nambiar
Anju Nambiar
Anju has 5 years of experience covering business. She writes on startups, business life cycle and startup ecosystem. Her stints include Amazon and Adjetter Media Network.

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