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

Education technology company Byju’s has raised close to Rs 2,500 crore (about $340 million) from investors such as the UBS Group, Zoom founder Eric Yuan, Blackstone, Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ and Phoenix Rising–Beacon Holdings, regulatory filings accessed by ET showed.

The latest funding, which people close to the matter said was part of $1.5 billion the company started raising in April, values Byju’s at around $16.5 billion post investment. This makes it the most-valued startup in India, ahead of Paytm which was
valued at $16 billion after its last funding round in late 2019.

In April, regulatory filings showed that Byju’s had
raised more than $1 billion from investors led by Baron Funds, Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group, and US-based hedge fund XN Exponent Holding. Its existing investors also participated in that round.

ET accessed the filings from the Registrar of Companies.

A Byju’s spokesperson declined to comment.

Byju’s has been on a
fundraising spree since last year, when ed-tech companies cornered most of the capital that came to the startup ecosystem, as the pandemic fuelled demand for online education.

In 2020, Byju’s raised around $1 billion. India’s ed-tech startups together
raised $2.2 billion in the year compared with $553 million in 2019, according to Venture Intelligence data.

ET reported on April 30 that the 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 fundraising comes after its
acquisition of tutorial chain Aakash Educational Services in a cash-and-stock deal estimated at $950 million. This was the largest buyout in India’s online education sector. Last Monday, the Competition Commission of India cleared the deal.

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Byju’s has also acquired several smaller and niche businesses in the past year, triggering consolidation in the sector. After having
acquired WhiteHat Jr, Scholr, Osmo and Toppr, it is in talks to scoop up Gradeup and Great Learning, recent news reports said. It has
yet to announce the closure of the Toppr deal.

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

Cofounder Byju Raveendran recently told ET that the company’s
revenue doubled in the financial year ended March 2021 from the previous year. This would translate into revenue of around Rs 5,600 crore, compared with Rs 2,800 crore the year before.

According to Byju’s, more than 80 million students, including 5.5 million annual paid subscribers, use its services. The annual renewal rate is 86% and the company added 45 million new students in the first six months of the lockdown last year, it said.

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

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



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