Edtech startups that are Unicorns

Answering the question - what makes an EdTech startup a unicorn?

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The term unicorn (mythical single-horned creature) has been used by investors as a symbol for phenomenally successful startups with valuations of over $1 billion that are still private (neither acquired nor gone public with an IPO).


It would be rare to spot a startup with a valuation above a billion dollars that still exists as a private entity (not acquired nor gone public with an IPO), and as such would be a great investment opportunity for venture capital firms and other equity investors.

Unicorn startups are not so rare anymore. The world now has over 1,104 of these startups with a valuation of $1 billion or more. Cumulatively, data from CB Insights pegs their valuation at approximately $3,677 billion.

While some have already been acquired or gone the IPO way, there are still 34 EdTech unicorns around the world, offering the most phenomenally successful educational technology platforms and innovative new methods of teaching that is expanding access to education for students all over the world.

We list here, in order of valuation, all 34 of the EdTech startups that are in the elite billionaire club of unicorns. The focus of our listing here is not so much on the valuation, but more on what each one does that has made them so highly valuable.

EdTech startups (unicorns) Valuation Country
01. BYJU’s $22 billion India
02. Yuanfudao $15.5 billion China
03. Zuoyebang $10 billion China
04. Articulate $4.75 billion United States
05. BetterUp $4.7 billion United States
06. Course Hero $4.6 billion United States
07. VIPKid $4.5 billion China
08. GoStudent $3.5 billion Austria
09. Handshake $3.5 billion United States
10. Unacademy $3.4 billion India
11. Emeritus $3.2 billion India
12. ApplyBoard $3.2 billion Canada
13. Age of Learning $3.0 billion United States
14. Outschool $3.0 billion United States
15. MasterClass $2.75 billion United States
16. Kajabi $2.0 billion United States
17. Fenbi Education $1.9 billion China
18. Changingedu $1.5 billion China
19. Degreed $1.5 billion United States
20. UpGrad $1.2 billion India
21. Pipa Coding $1.2 billion China
22. Luoji Siwei $1.18 billion China
23. LEAD School $1.1 billion India
24. Udacity $1.1 billion United States
25. HuJiang $1.0 billion China
26. iTutorGroup $1.0 billion China
27. Huike Group $1.0 billion China
28. KnowBox $1.0 billion China
29. Quizlet $1.0 billion United States
30. Yunxuetang $1.0 billion China
31. JoyTunes $1.0 billion Israel
32. Vedantu $1.0 billion India
33. Guild Education $1.0 billion United States
34. PhysicsWallah $1.0 billion India

Top 10 EdTech startups by valuation

What has made all the above listed EdTech startups successful? You can learn a lot from their tagline. The most famous example - Get the BYJU’s Advantage - shows how the world’s most valuable EdTech has successfully tapped into the desire that parents have to provide some kind of a learning edge to their children.

Some have cornered a niche and become the market leaders, like VIPKid (English language coaching) and Articulate (course creation tools for workplace learning).

Others have created algorithms for personalised training (Yuanfudao), or brought together a large repository of training materials and experts as a community (Course Hero) of users who learn, teach and study.

The common theme among all these successful startups is summed up by the tagline of Europe’s most successful EdTech GoStudent - “Unlocking the potential of every child.”

They’re doing via digital platforms what the schools and teachers want to do, but are sometimes unable to do on account of resource and time constraints. As Unacademy says on their website, let’s “Democratise access to high quality education.”

Here we take a detailed look at each of the top 10 most valuable EdTech startups in the world, and find out what has made them successful.

EdTech startups #1: BYJU’s


Headquarters: Bengaluru

Address: 2nd Floor, Tower D, IBC Knowledge Park, 4/1, Bannerghatta MainRoad, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India 560095

Phone: +91-9880031619

Email: support@byjus.com

Website: https://byjus.com/


BYJU'S is India's largest ed-tech company with over 115 million registered students.

Launched in 2015, the BYJU'S school learning app offers personalised learning programs for classes 1 - 12 (K-12), and for competitive exams like JEE, IAS, etc

Tagline: Get the BYJU'S advantage.

Their phenomenal pace of growth through partnerships with educational institutions has not slowed down, and is being further fueled along by acquisitions including Gradeup, Great Learning, Toppr, Aakash, and Whitehat Jr, among others.

Founded: 2011

Founders: Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath.

Funding raised: $5.583 billion

Investors: Tencent Holdings, Lightspeed India Partners, Sequoia Capital India

Valuation: $22 billion

Employees: 40,000+


Divya Gokulnath


Byju Raveendran

EdTech startups #2: Yuanfudao

Headquarters: Beijing

Address: 6th Floor, Area F, Block A, Lei Shing Hong Center; No. 8 Guangshun South Street, Wangjing, Chaoyang District; Beijing, China 100000

Phone: +86-4000789100

Email: pr@fenbi.com

Website: https://www.yuanfudao.com/


Launched in 2012, Yuanfudao is China's leading online education platform providing K-12 after school tutoring, pre-school enlightenment and adult education services to over 400 million users across China.

Tagline: China's leading online education platform.

Their Zebra AI Class is the largest online course platform for preschool education in China.

It became so popular because of the algorithm that personalized exercises for each student, figuring how each user can do the exercise in a way that is most efficient for them.

Founded: 2012

Founders: Yong Li, Xin Li, and Ke Shuai

Funding raised: $4.044 billion

Investors: Tencent Holdings, Warbug Pincus, IDG Capital

Valuation: $15.5 billion

Employees: 30,000+



EdTech startups #3: Zuoyebang

Headquarters: Beijing

Address: 4001, 4th Floor, No. 1, Kaikai Road, Shangdi Information Industry Base, Haidian District, Beijing, China

Phone: +86-4006110100

Email: service@zuoyebang.com

Website: https://www.zybang.com/


Founded in 2014, Zuoyebang is the largest K12 online education platform in China.

By October 2020, Zuoyebang had over 800 million registered user devices, with over 50 million daily active users and over 170 million monthly active users.

Their homework help app aim to provide affordable high quality after-school education that may not otherwise be available to all students.

Tagline: Making Quality Education Accessible To All.

Founded: 2014

Founders: Changjuan Hu

Investors: Fountainvest Partners, Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital China, SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Primavera Capital, GGV Capital, Xiang He Capital, Tiantu Capital, and Taihecap, among others.

Funding raised: $3.435 billion

Valuation: $10 billion

Employees: 10,001+ employees



EdTech startups #4: Articulate

Headquarters: New York

Address: 244 5th Avenue, Suite 2960 New York, NY 10001

Phone: +1 (800) 861-4880

Email: sales@articulate.com

Website: https://articulate.com/


Founded in 2002, Articulate builds products that make it easy to create, distribute, and manage online training.

Tagline: Leading creator platform for online workplace learning.

Their Articulate 360 (enterprise creator platform for workplace learning) and Rise.com (all-in-one training system for small to medium businesses) platforms have grown Articulate to 122 million learners and 115,000 organizations in 167 countries.

Their E-Learning Heroes Community has more than a million members and is the largest and fastest-growing community in the training industry.

Founded: 2002

Founders: Adam Schwartz

Investors: Alder Companies, LionTree Partners, General Atlantic, Blackstone Growth and ICONIQ Growth, among others.

Funding raised: $1.5 billion

Valuation: $3.75 billion


Adam Schwartz

EdTech startups #5: BetterUp

Headquarters: San Francisco

Address: 1200 Folsom Street San Francisco, California, 94103, United States

Phone: +1 (844) 303-9595

Email: sales@betterup.co

Website: https://www.betterup.com/


Founded in 2013, BetterUp is the global leader in mental fitness coaching and human transformation for the enterprise.

Tagline: Your company grows when your people do.

With the world’s largest network of over 3,000 coaches, BetterUp offers coaching in 46 languages across over 90 countries.

BetterUp combines world-class coaching with AI technology and behavioral science to deliver personalized behavior change.

Their recent growth has been fueled by companies eager to provide as much help for their employees as possible in making pandemic-induced adjustments.

Founded: 2013

Founders: Eduardo Medina and Alexi Robichaux

Investors: Wellington Management, ICONIQ Growth, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, Mubadala Investment Company, Sapphire Ventures, Morningside Group, SV Angel, and PLUS Capital.

Funding raised: $600 million

Valuation: $4.7 billion

Employees: 2,300


Alexi Robichaux


Eduardo Medina

EdTech startups #6: Course Hero


Headquarters: Redwood City

Address: 2000 Seaport Blvd Floor 3 Redwood City, California, 94063, United States

Phone: +1 (888) 634-9397

Email: support@coursehero.com

Website: https://www.coursehero.com/


Founded in 2006, Course Hero has created a vibrant community of users who can learn, teach, and study.

Tagline: Make every study hour count.

Students can subscribe (and contribute) to access millions of learning materials including practice problems, study guides, textbook solutions, and step-by-step explanations for every subject.

More than 80,000 educators on the platform contribute assignments, quizzes, case studies, lecture notes, and more. Workshops, discussions, and community gatherings help teachers learn new strategies from subject matter experts and instructors.

Founded: 2006

Founders: Andrew Grauer

Investors: GSV Capital, IDG Capital, NewView Capital, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, OMERS growth equity, and D1 Capital Partners, among others.

Funding raised: $475.68 million

Valuation: $3.6 billion


Andrew Grauer


Gregor Carrigan

EdTech startups #7: VIPKid


Headquarters: Beijing and San Francisco

Address: 301 Howard St #910, San Francisco, CA 94105, United States

Phone: +1 (415) 200-0215

Email: support@vipkid.com

Website: https://www.vipkid.com/

Founded in 2013 in China, VIPKid was launched in 2014 as an ESL EdTech platform to connect students in China to overseas native English speakers in the United States and Canada.

Tagline: The World's #1 Online English Learning Platform

By 2018, it had grown to 500,000 students learning from 60,000 teachers.

In Dec 2021, VIPKid released an updated global platform which is accessible to students around the world.

Founded: 2013

Founders: Cindy Mi, Victor Zhang, and Jessie Chen.

Investors: Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Yunfeng Capital, Coatue Management, Matrix Partners, Sinovation Ventures, Learn Capital, Northern Light VC, Bryant Stibel, among others.

Funding raised: $1.1 billion

Valuation: $4.5 billion

Employees: 10,000+


Cindy Mi

EdTech startups #8: GoStudent


Headquarters: Vienna

Address: Türkenstrasse 25/11, Vienna, Austria, 1190

Phone: +43-670-308-0372

Email: support@gostudent.org

Website: https://www.gostudent.org/


Founded in 2016, GoStudent is Europe’s first EdTech unicorn. They provide one-on-one, video-based tutoring to K-12 students in over 30 subjects, using a membership model.

Tagline: Unlocking the potential of every child.

GoStudent is serving customers in 23 countries, and works with over 19,000 tutors providing 1.5 million tutoring sessions that are booked each month.

Founded: 2016

Founders: Felix Ohswald and Gregor Müller

Funding raised: $669 million

Investors: Prosus Ventures, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Left Lane Capital, Coatue and DST Global.

Valuation: $3.5 billion

Employees: 1,800+


Felix Ohswald


Gregor Müller

EdTech startups #09: Handshake


Headquarters: San Francisco

Address: 225 Bush St Suite 1200 San Francisco, California, 94104, United States 248-255-7341

Phone: +1 (415) 944-9960

Email: team@joinhandshake.com

Website: https://joinhandshake.com/


Launched in 2014, Handshake helps students and alumni build new relationships and skills through virtual career fairs, 1:1 video chats, and direct messaging with recruiters.

Tagline: Launch your career on Handshake.

The Handshake platform now has over 20 million students and young alumni around the world from 1,400 educational institutions, connecting with over 650,000 employers.

Last year, 1.7 million relationships were forged between employers and candidates on the platform.

Founded: 2014

Founders: Garrett Lord, Ben Christensen, and Scott Ringwelski

Investors: Coatue Management, Valiant Peregrine Fund, Base10's Advancement Initiative, Spark, Lightspeed, True Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, EQT Ventures, GGV Capital, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Emerson Collective, and Reach Capital.

Valuation: $3.2 billion

Employees: 745

Garrett-Lord_Ben-Christensen_Scott Ringwelski

Garrett Lord, Ben Christensen, and Scott Ringwelski

EdTech startups #10: Unacademy

Headquarters: Bengaluru

Address: Ground floor, Park Plaza, 353, 12th A Cross Rd, Binnamangala, Hoysala Nagar, Indiranagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560038

Phone: +91-8585858585

Email: help@unacademy.com

Website: https://unacademy.com/


Initially founded as a Youtube channel in 2010 by Dheeraj Meena and Gaurav Munjal, Unacademy was officially launched as an edtech in Bengaluru in 2015.

Tagline: Democratise access to high quality education

By 2017, Unacademy had over a million learners and 40,000 live classes, and by 2018 they had over 200,000 daily active users.

In Jan 2019, Unacademy launched its subscription products. The Unacademy Plus subscription plan offers unlimited access to live lectures, tests and quizzes, and structured courses.

By April 2022, they had over 800,000 subscribers.

Founded: 2015

Founders: Gaurav Munjal, Dr. Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh

Funding raised: $875.73 million

Investors: Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadview Capital, General Atlantic, Temasek, Softbank Vision Fund, Aroa Ventures and Deepinder Goyal.

Valuation: $3.44 billion

Employees: 6,000+


Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Gaurav Munjal

  1. CB Insights - https://www.cbinsights.com/research-unicorn-companies

  2. Impluse.com - https://www.lmspulse.com/2021/american-edtech-unicorns-have-surged-in-2020-what-do-they-tell-us-about-the-sector/

  3. Holon IQ - https://www.holoniq.com/edtech-unicorns/

Note: Data cited in this article is based on above sources, and from the websites or press material provided by the startups mentioned. If you want any corrections or updates related to your startup, please contact us to request the same.

By Zal Dastur

May 20th, 2022

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