Less than two months after it raised $500 million in a financing round, edtech decacorn Byju's is learnt to have closed $200 million in a fresh round of funding. This has lifted the Bengaluru-based firm’s valuation to $12 billion - close to $1 billion higher when compared with the previous round.
Sources close to the development said private equity players such as BlackRock and T Rowe Price participated in the new round. While BlackRock is an existing investor in Byju’s, T Rowe joined as a new investor.
With this investment, Byju’s has raised over $2.3 billion from investors in over 18 funding rounds.
The experience during the pandemic has already been one of learning, adaptation, and innovation.
The Byju Raveendran-founded company has seen significant rise in its valuation, with education going the ‘distance’ and going remote, and where it’s back to school - at home.
Achieving decacorn status in July after receiving funding from global technology investment firm Bond in July when it was valued at around $10.5 billion, the online tutoring firm saw further rise in its valuation to $11.1 billion when it raised a new round led by Silver Lake and saw participation by BlackRock, Sands Capital, and Alkeon Capital in September.
In a recent interview with Business Standard, Raveendran had said while the company was generating enough cash now, funding by investors would help if the company went for acquisitions.
“There are always investors’ conversations going on. We have also raised money, not necessarily because we need it for any immediate purpose - we are not burning cash in India. Having money in the bank sometimes helps you to take (acquisition) decisions faster,” he had said.
With the fresh round of $200 million, Byju’s has further narrowed the valuation gap with financial services platform Paytm, which has a current valuation of $16 billion, according to the Hurun India Unicorn Index 2020.
The Bengaluru-based firm has also seen stellar growth since the lockdown in March, adding over 25 million new students on its platform.
Today, the app has over 70 million registered students and 4.5 million annual paid subscribers.
The firm had almost doubled its revenue, from ~1,430 crore to ~2,800 crore in 2019-20, and is inching towards the $1-billion revenue milestone.
Looking beyond the home turf, Byju’s is intent on spreading its wings overseas, especially the US. It has also been playing strongly in the acquisition space and has so far made over six acquisitions, including Mumbai-based coding start-up WhiteHat Jr being its biggest bet so far for $300 million.
The coding platform had to recently withdraw certain ads after they were found to be violating the guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India for making unsubstantiated claims.
“If there are companies, people or the team where we can build conviction about the complementary nature of what they are coming out with, you will see us doing a few more acquisitions in the next two to three quarters,” Raveendran had said during the interview.
The edtech segment at large has seen a funding boom after the pandemic, with more and more people realising the potential of remote learning.
Gaurav Munjal's edtech start-up Unacademy in September became a unicorn after it raised $150 million in a round led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank valuing it at $1.45 billion.
Another edtech company Eruditus raised over $100 million from marquee investors such as Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and is on track to become a unicorn next year.
According to the Venture Intelligence data, the capital invested in edtech start-ups in the country has increased 4x to $1.5 billion in the first nine months this year, compared to $409 million in 2019.