Byju’s valuation tops $22 bn after $800-mn funding led by founder

Byju Raveendran makes a personal investment of $400 mn. His stake in the ed-tech firm has risen from 22% to 25%, say sources


BYJU’s | BlackRock | Unacademy

Peerzada Abrar  | 

Byju’s has raised $800 million from Sumeru Ventures, Vitruvian Partners, and BlackRock, as the world’s most valuable edtech company focuses on expanding its business in global markets and explores to do more acquisitions. Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of Byju’s, which has 150 million learners globally, is also part of this fund-raise and has made a personal investment of $400 million.

The round has increased the valuation of the Bengaluru-based firm to about $22 billion, from its previous valuation of $18 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. After making the personal investment of $400 million in the company, founder and CEO Byju Raveendran’s stake in the firm has increased from 22 per cent to about 25 per cent, according to the sources.

The funding comes at a time when the firm is in talks with Churchill Capital to raise $4 billion and go public through the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) route. The round is expected to more than double the valuation of the Bengaluru-based firm to about $48 billion, according to the sources.

“We continue to witness accelerated growth in India and international markets through both organic and inorganic routes,” said Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO, Byju’s. “Our sustained focus is on achieving our long term goals around creating life-long value for our learners. For that, we are imagining and reimagining the way students will learn, unlearn and relearn in the future. Our aspiration is to build something that will last for decades.”

Last year in October, Byju’s raised about $300 million as part of a larger round of new investment from investors such as Oxshott Venture Fund, along with the participation of Edelweiss Private Investments Trust and others. The new funding had valued Byju’s at $18 billion, up from a valuation of $16.5 billion in June last year. In June last year, Byju’s became India’s most valuable unicorn with a valuation of $16.5 billion, surpassing fintech company Paytm’s $16 billion valuation and which later went for an IPO (initial public offering).

Early this year, food tech firm Swiggy became the second most valuable startup in India after its valuation almost doubled to $10.7 billion, when it raised $700 million in Invesco-led new funding.

But Byju’s is the first domestic start-up to reach such a mark in terms of valuation and global scale. Emphasizing on the importance of India in the global edtech ecosystem, Raveendran said he always believes that edtech is a sector where India has the potential to create global champions by solving the trilemma of cost, quality and scale. “We will continue to invest in multiple learning models to provide students with quality education across the world,” said Raveendran.

With over 150 million learners on its platform, an annual renewal rate of 86 per cent, and an NPS (net promoter score) of 76, Byju’s said it is constantly innovating and introducing multiple learning programs in various formats across age groups and geographies. With value creation and student-centricity at its core, Byju’s said it has been redefining how students learn and teachers teach around the world, creating job opportunities, and putting learners in the drivers’ seat. Through its social impact initiative ‘Education for All’, launched 15 months ago, the company has empowered 3.4 million children from the remotest parts of the country with digital learning. By 2025, the initiative aims to impact the lives of 10 million children.

Byju’s is planning to go public this year in the US, according to the sources. But India is also a strong option. It may do a primary listing in the US and a secondary listing in India or vice-versa. Both the US and India are large and key markets for it. The firm expects to hit a revenue of $3 billion for the calendar year 2023, according to people familiar with the matter. It has already crossed revenue of about $1.5 billion. The listing would help accelerate the firm’s plan to become one of the largest players in the space in the US, with a target to hit revenues of $1 billion in the next three years.

The edtech major has raised about $4.5 billion since it was founded 10 years ago by Byju Raveendran — a former teacher and the son of educators from Azhikode village in Kerala — and his wife Divya Gokulnath.

Today, its app has over 115 million registered students and 7.5 million annual paid subscriptions. With an average time of 71 minutes being spent by a student on the app every day from over 1700 cities. The app is creating a whole new way of learning through visual lessons. It competes with players such as Simplilearn, Unacademy, upGrad and Vedantu and Eruditus.

The start-up is also on an acquisition spree in India and globally as the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online education. Students and professionals are looking to upgrade their skills, while schools and offices remain shut.

The start-up acquired about 9 companies in India and the US last year and spent more than $2 billion in the past several months on these acquisitions, according to sources.

Infographics: Increase in valuation for Byju’s

Sept 2016: $0.5 bn

Late 2017: $1 bn

Dec 2018: $3.6 bn

Jul 2019: $5.75 bn

Jan 2020: $8 bn

Jun 2020: $10.5 bn

Sept 2020: $10.8 bn

Sept 2020: $11.1 bn

Nov 2020: $12 bn

Mar 2021: $13 bn

Apr 2021: $15 bn

Jun 2021: $16.5 bn

Oct 2021: $18.0 bn

March 2022: $22.0 bn

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