Byju’s becomes India’s most valued startup after $350 million funding

Education technology major Byju’s has raised close to Rs 2,500 crore, or around $350 million, from investors such as UBS Group, Zoom founder Eric Yuan’s family office, Blackstone, Abu Dhabi government fund ADQ and Phoenix Rising – Beacon Holdings, according to regulatory filings. ET has accessed these filings from the Registrar of Companies (RoC).

This is part of the broader $1.5 billion the company started raising in April, sources close to the development said. In April, regulatory filings from Byju’s showed it has
raised over $1 billion from investors led by Baron Funds, Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group, and US-based investment hedge fund XN Exponent Holding. Its existing investors also participated in this round.

The funding round values the company at around $16.5 billion post-money, making it the most valued startup in India. So far, Paytm, backed by Aliababa and SoftBank, was the
most valued startup at $16 billion.

A Byju’s spokesperson declined to comment on Saturday.

Byju’s has been on a
fundraising spree since last year as ed-tech startups continued cornering most of the capital coming to the startup ecosystem as the pandemic fueled the demand for online education. Just last year alone, it had raised around $1 billion. Ed-tech startups
cumulatively raised $2.2 billion in 2020 compared to $553 million in 2019, according to Venture Intelligence data. ET had reported on April 30 saying UBS Group was in talks with Byju’s to invest in the Bengaluru-based firm, post which it would be valued at $16.5 billion.

Byju’s latest fundraise comes
following its acquisition of tutorial chain Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) in a cash and stock deal estimated at $950 million. This was the largest buyout for Byju’s as well as the online education sector. Earlier this week, the Competition Commission of India also cleared the AESL acquisition.

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The edtech major has been on an acquisition spree triggering consolidation in the sector where smaller niche businesses are being bought out by the decacorn. After having
acquired WhiteHat Jr, Scholr, Osmo, and Toppr, the firm is in talks to scoop up Gradeup and Great Learning, recent news reports said. Byju’s is
yet to announce the closure of Toppr acquisition.

This investment led by UBS comes at a time when the company is looking to expand internationally with the launch of its Byju’s Future School platform through which it is eyeing an entry into the United States, UK, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico in May, ET
reported on April 29.

Byju Raveendran, cofounder of Byju’s, recently said its
revenue grew by 100% in the financial year ended March 2021. This would translate into revenue of around Rs 5,600 crore, compared to Rs 2,800 crore in the year before. According to Byju’s, it has a cumulative base of over 80 million students, with 5.5 million being annual paid subscribers. It says its annual renewal rate is 86% and that it added 45 million new students in the first six months of the lockdown last year.

The Indian edtech sector is
projected to become a $30 billion industry in 10 years, according to a recent report published by transaction advisory firm RBSA Advisors.

Some of the company’s early backers include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Qatar Investment Authority, Owl Ventures, General Atlantic, Tiger Global, Tencent, Verlinvest and Sofina, among others.


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