Bengaluru: Unacademy, a start-up that offers free video courses, on Thursday said it has raised $500,000 from early stage venture firm Blume Ventures and individual investors Rajan Anandan, Sumit Jain, Aprameya Radhakrishna and Phanindra Sama, to develop its product.

Unacademy, run by Sorting Hat Technologies Private Limited, started out as a YouTube channel with about 15 million views, and launched a web portal in January, featuring 1,500 10-minute video lessons on topics ranging from learning how to code in Hindi, to preparing for the civil services examinations. Anyone can become educators on the platform after they get through a screening process by the company.

Unacademy competes with companies such as Khan Academy, Coursera, and EdX.

The firm was started by Gaurav Munjal and Hemesh Singh—who had started and later sold the start-up Flatchat to real estate portal CommonFloor—and Roman Saini, a doctor who quit the Indian Administrative Service while he was the assistant collector of Jabalpur.

“Whether it’s the brightest kid in class summarising course material for his fellow classmates or someone getting tips for a civil services exam or a first-time traveller to the US getting life tips, these were non-scalable in the past. By fluidly weaving them into the content format that Unacademy has, teaching and learning can be truly democratic—at an unprecedented scale," said Karthik Reddy, managing partner, Blume Ventures, in a statement.

Investments in education start-ups in India have picked up this year. Byju’s Classes, which offers learning programmes for Class VI to XII students and preparation programmes for competitive exams, alone raised $75 million in March, compared to the $70 million that all the education start-ups together raised last year, according to data from start-up tracker Tracxn.