After making it to TIME Magazine’s first-ever list of 100 most influential companies, the ed-tech startup Byju’s is set to become India’s most valuable startup. The Bengaluru-based startup will raise about USD 150 million from Swiss multinational investment bank UBS Group AG at a valuation of about USD 16.5 billion. It is in discussions to invest additional money, which would take its total investment in Byju’s to about $300 million, people familiar with the deal said.
Launched in 2015, Byju’s has over 80 million students cumulatively learning from the app, 5.5 million annual paid subscriptions, and an annual renewal rate of 86 percent. During April-September 2020, Byju’s added 45 million new students to its platform.
The investment from 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.
The company recently signed a nearly $1 billion deal to acquire Aakash Educational Services Ltd – estimated to be the most expensive acquisition in the ed-tech space in India. The acquisition will grow its presence in the test preparation space, just as its $300 million acquisition of WhiteHat Jr, last year helped it expand in the coding-for-kids segment.
Byju’s raised more than $1.18 billion in FY21 alone, from investors including Mary Meeker’s venture capital firm Bond Capital; DST Global; US investment firms BlackRock and T. Rowe Price; Silver Lake and MC Global.
Byju’s founder Byju Raveendran, who owns a third of the company said that the pandemic dramatically altered the acceptance of online learning in India. He added the Byju’s K-12 app has more than 80 million registered users in India. This app provides animated tutorials of math and science via animated games featuring tutor demos. Byju’s, which reaped massive gains from the COVID-19 fuelled online learning boom in India, has added many big names to its list of investors.