BYJU’S is raising about US$300mil (RM1.2bil) in a funding round led by New York-based Tiger Global Management, securing new capital at a valuation of US$8bil for the online education startup’s global expansion.
Tiger has invested about US$150mil in Byju-parent Think and Learn Pvt, according to people familiar with the deal. Existing investors will likely contribute about the same amount.
The new funding round confers on Byju’s the title of India’s most valuable startup after Ant Financial-backed fintech firm Paytm and the budget hotel rooms startup OYO. Byju’s, last valued at about US$5.7bil, overtakes online retailer Snapdeal and is the only one of the top three that hasn’t taken funding from SoftBank Group Corp or its Vision Fund. Paytm rose to the fore after Walmart Inc acquired Flipkart Online Services Pvt – also SoftBank-backed – in a US$16bil deal in 2018.
“Byju’s has emerged as the leader in the Indian education-tech sector, ” Scott Shleifer, a partner at Tiger Global, said in a statement that didn’t specify financial details. “They are pioneering technology shaping the future of learning for millions of school students in India.”
Byju’s was founded by Byju Raveendran in 2011, a former teacher and son of educators, who conceived a smartphone app to help students learn and master concepts from math and science using short videos. In a country that places a premium on education, Byju’s launched its app just as smartphones were becoming ubiquitous. The app caters to students from kindergarten through 12th grade and now plans to go global and launch in English-speaking countries around the world, including the US, Canada and the UK.
It also plans to go deeper in its home country, where it’s working on launching learning modules in Indian languages to make it more accessible. Byju’s, also backed by Facebook Inc chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg through the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Naspers Ventures and Sequoia Capital India, has over 42 million registered users and 3 million paid subscribers from both rural areas and India’s cities. On average, students spend between 64 minutes to 71 minutes per day on the app. Annual renewal rates were up as high as 85% in the past year, the startup said. — Bloomberg
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