Unacademy, the edtech unicorn, will be letting go of 40 employees from its upskilling platform Relevel, as the division will now shift focus to test products from education business, CEO Gaurav Munjal told employees in an internal mail on Tuesday.
While 20% of the Relevel team will be impacted by the company’s decision, the remaining 80% will continue to work and also scale Unacademy’s newly launched LinkedIn-like platform, NextLevel.
“Relevel’s core team will focus on building NextLevel. Almost 80% of Relevel’s remaining team will be absorbed by other businesses of (the) Unacademy group and we will have to let go of around 20%, around 40 people, of the team because of lack of availability of roles for them,” Munjal wrote to employees. FE has reviewed a copy of the mail.
Relevel is Unacademy’s job guarantee portal where certain course takers were assured of a job. Once the course was complete, a student’s average salary stood at `6 lakh per annum, according to the company’s website. After upskilling, the salary hikes were as high as 350% with placements happening in 11 days, the site promises.
But, Byju’s – Unacademy’s main competitor – bought great learning for $600 million in July 2021 to strengthen its position in the upskilling space and said the assurance of a job guarantee wasn’t viable.
“One cannot deliver on guarantees. Guarantee is a bad word in our company. If we guarantee something, no one will actually have the motivation to work for it” Mohan Lakhamraju, CEO, Great Learning, told FE.
Separately, Munjal said the affected Relevel staffers would receive similar assistance that Unacademy offered to people it had sacked in November. That includes severance pay, which is a total of the salary during the notice period and an additional two months, among others.
Unacademy, along with several other edtechs, had fired over 1,000 employees in 2022. In total, new-age companies have axed at least 18,000 jobs, of which edtechs alone accounted for around 8,000 as the demand for pure-online teaching continues to diminish. The waning demand has also forced edtech startups to resort to a more hybrid form of teaching while some expansion to different models. Unacademy’s NextLevel is one such project.
NextLevel, as defined by Munjal, is an app where one gets “a professional rating in the area where you want to build a career by competing with others. It doesn’t matter where you went for college or if you even went to one.”
“It’s a continuous process and not a singular stamp that you got years ago,” he added while saying Microsoft’s LinkedIn “feels like a product from early 2000.”