🕹Why is Unacademy spending so much money on creators?

Insights on Graphy: Unacademy's product for creators

Last year in June: Gaurav Munjal teases Unacademy's newest product, Graphy

January, this year: Graphy is launched

May: Graphy gets 100+ creators and 50 lakhs in GMV

June: Graphy announces Rs. 100 crore grant for creators.

July: Graphy Select, a mentorship program for creators, launches.

Stop.

Did you notice something? None of this is remotely related to edtech, yet it's clear that Unacademy is pouring a lot of money into this.

Why?

This is what I'll answer in today's newsletter.

  1. First, I'll give you a summary of Unacademy's business till now

  2. Then, I'll tell you about the current state of the creator economy

  3. Once you have understood both Unacademy and the creator economy, I'll tell you the reasons why Unacademy is spending so much money on creators.

  4. Reason #1

  5. Reason #2

  6. Reason #3

Cool? Let's go🚀🚀


🕹Unacademy, till now:

Unacademy Group, one of India's largest ed-tech companies, has 3 products: Unacademy, Relevel, and Graphy.

The first product, Unacademy is the biggest player in the test-prep market. Lots of teachers sell courses for JEE, NEET, UPSC, etc on Unacademy. Recently, Unacademy has been expanding into the K12 (basically, kindergarten to 12th grade) market as well.

The second product, Relevel is like the placement cell of a college. Relevel talks with companies and has built a placement network sort of thing, so that people can get jobs in Relevel companies after completing Unacademy courses.

I'll tell you about the 3rd product, Graphy, later on.

🕹Creator Economy, till now:

Creator Economy means people earn money by following their passion and having interactions with the audience they have built by following their passion. This pic below gives you a comprehensive idea about what a creator economy is-

Earlier, if someone was interested in singing, they had to follow a difficult path of getting their voice noticed, clearing auditions, etc. Because unless you are Arijit Singh or Badshah, it is difficult for you to make a career by singing.

But with the creator economy, becoming successful as a singer has become simpler: make a YouTube channel and start singing. Or make a TikTok account and start singing. You'll get an audience for your singing and you'll make a living out of it.

That's what the creator economy is: people earn a living by following their passion.

Today, we have lots of companies that want to "help creators earn a living by following their passion".

Patreon helps creators make money by providing exclusive content to their fans. Gumroad helps creators make money by selling digital products(like ebooks or notion pages). Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok: all these social media giants are also supporting creators with creator funds, live shopping, etc. And YouTube has been supporting the creator economy for a long time with stuff like AdSense and super chat and channel memberships.

🕹Now you have understood both Unacademy and the Creator Economy.

Unacademy's main business is making and selling online courses.

Creator economy's goal is to help people earn a living by following their passion.

Let's understand why Unacademy is spending so much money on creators.


🕹Reason #1: Creator Economy is going to be big

The Creator economy is going to be big, we all know that. India's creator economy is still at a nascent stage. Currently, the Indian creator economy base is only 80-100 million- less than 10% of the total population. The market in India is currently valued at approximately $75-150 million whereas the global market size is around $1.25 billion. This clearly shows that despite the quick growth of the creator economy in the country, it is going to be much bigger.

So this is the first reason why Unacademy is betting on creators: they want a piece of this huge market.


🕹Reason #2: Unacademy's unique advantage

Once Unacademy had decided to enter the creator economy, the only question was how.

How would Unacademy expand into the creator economy?

As I told you above, companies in the creator economy help creators earn money in various ways. If Unacademy wanted to expand into the creator economy, it had to find a way to help creators make money.

The answer was: courses.

This was Unacademy's unique advantage: they could help creators earn money by making and selling courses because that's what they are good at. Unacademy has lots of experience and expertise in making and selling courses through its main edtech business!

The result? Graphy: Unacademy's product for creators. It's a tool for creators to make and sell courses.

Graphy was the perfect way for Unacademy to expand to into the creator economy:

Creators can earn money by selling courses about their area of expertise. And Unacademy could incorporate their experience and expertise into Graphy to help creators make courses.


🕹Reason #3: The Future of Edtech

But these 2 reasons alone don't make sense. If Unacademy only wanted a small piece of the creator economy by helping creators make courses, they didn't have to spend so much money on creators.

There is a deeper reason behind Unacademy's huge investments in Graphy.

To understand that reason, let me tell you about an interesting course I saw on Graphy.

This is a course on memes. It is created by RVCJ, the popular meme page on social media.

My first thoughts after seeing this course:

Who will waste time on a course about memes?

And that too paid?

Why does anyone want to learn about memes?

If people are spending money on online courses, they will spend it on physics and maths courses. Not a meme course, right?

But that's when it hit me: of course people would be interested in learning all these things!

People have realized that they don't need to study boring subjects to earn money. They can follow their passion and learn what's interesting to them and still earn money.

Now people don’t want to learn only academic stuff. They want to learn tiktoking and vlogging and writing and gaming and meming and designing and other cool stuff. In the future, there will huge demand for these subjects.

But schools can't teach these subjects. Neither can Unacademy.

The only people who can teach these subjects are the creators. Because they have the necessary experience and expertise in these subjects.

When people see that RVCJ has become so big by posting memes on Insta, they want to learn meming from RVCJ.

When I saw writers becoming rich by writing newsletters, I wanted to learn "writing a newsletter" from these writers.

When you see Charli D'Amelio got famous by dancing on TikTok, you want to learn tiktoking from her.

Therefore, creator-led courses are the future of edtech.

And Unacademy wants to own this future. That’s why they are spending so much money on creators and making huge investments into Graphy.

Their goal is to establish Graphy as the place where people can learn from creators.

That's why we get big announcements like this:

And this:

The reason behind both these announcements is clear: attract creators to Graphy so that they make courses. This will attract people to learn on Graphy. This will establish Graphy as the edtech platform of the future: a place where people can learn useful skills from creators.

Smart strategy, isn’t it?


This wraps up today’s newsletter, I hope you found it insightful. Thanks to Adwait Pisharody and Yash Agarwal for helping me out with the article.

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