Handa's New Funda: From Academy to Unacademy
Forbes India|April 23, 2021
How IITian Ravi Handa scaled up his seven-year-old online venture for MBA preparation, and eventually sold it to an edtech major
RAJIV SINGH

The first thing that strikes you about Ravi Handa is his brutal honesty. A teacher, after all, needs to be upfront. The IITian starts the conversation by making two confessions. First, he reveals his weak spot: Computer science. “I was bad at it, and I mean really bad,” smiles the 37-year-old edtech founder of online CAT (common admission test) and MBA coaching venture Handa ka Funda. An IIT-Kharagpur alumnus, Handa has dual degree (BTech and MTech) in computer science and engineering. A few weeks ago, Handa ka Funda was acquired by edtech major Unacademy for an undisclosed amount.

Unlike a fellow IITian who would have cashed in on the prized engineering tag by joining some fancy multinational company and settling for a hefty pay pack, Handa was the odd one out. Reason: He knew his limitations. “I did not try apart from the campus placement,” he concedes. Poor computer science, he underlines, would have been a major handicap. “Even if I could get a job because of the IIT brand, I was sure I would get fired once they realised I was Jon Snow,” he laughs, alluding to the fictional character in A Game of Thrones.

The second confession is what changed his life: Love for math. He settled for a career in coaching. In short, teaching math. “I loved the subject. I never felt that I was working while teaching math,” he says. Apart from his love for the subject, there was one more overwhelming personality trait that kept him glued to coaching: Laziness. “I am a really lazy person and I liked the idea that it (teaching) wasn’t hard work,” he says, explaining why he got hooked to coaching. “It’s a pretty comfortable job to stand in front of a bunch of 40 to 50 graduates, and explain basic math to them, something they already know, but have forgotten,” he smiles.

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