How have edtech major Byju's acquisitions panned out?
Byju's recently acquired Austrian math learning company GeoGebra. How have the startups acquired by BYJU's have performed since their take over? Let's understand this in our next report
The world’s highest-valued edtech company, Byju’s, is on a shopping spree, with an aim to build an edtech empire out of India, encompassing everything from K12 to test preparation to courses for mid-career professionals.
Byju’s, valued at $18 bn, has been gobbling up smaller startups with niche offerings for the last two years, capitalising on the massive shift to online learning that we have witnessed amid the pandemic. This week, the company acquired Austrian math-learning platform GeoGebra for around $100 mn.
Byju's has acquired nine startups so far this year. Last year, it acquired two companies. In 2019, it took over the US-based Osmo for $120 mn. In 2018, it acquired math learning platform Math Adventures. In 2017, it took over TutorVista and Edurite from UK-based Pearson and also acquired Vidyartha.
This year alone, Byju’s has spent around $2.4 bn in acquisitions. The company’s chief strategy officer, Anita Kishore, has talked about how acquisitions as an inorganic growth route have worked well for the company. Let us look at how some of Byju’s acquired startups are doing.
Byju’s acquired Osmo in 2019 to tap into the US market.
Osmo’s revenue was about $25 million at that time. It has now grown four times in two years to around $110 million.
Byju’s acquired online coding startup WhiteHat Jr in August last year for $300 million. Anita Kishore has told media outlets that in the one year since the acquisition, WhiteHat Jr’s revenue has grown three times.
Byju’s acquired Aakash Educational Services for $1 bn earlier this year. In an interview with Business Standard, Aakash Education’s CEO Abhishek Maheshwari said that after the deal, AESL was transforming into a hybrid edtech firm. For Byju’s too, the partnership with Aakash would allow it to expand its base to tier 2 and 3 cities, where Aakash has a physical presence.
Founder Byju Raveendran has said that he is expecting his company to clock a revenue of Rs 10,000 crore this year. In FY20, the company reported a revenue of over Rs 2,400 crore.
Industry experts are of the view that mergers and acquisitions help startups do away with long sale cycles. Instead of taking months to develop and deploy a new product, bigger players would rather acquire an existing company with a solid product market fit and scale it up.
However, it is worth mentioning that Byju’s, which is growing so aggressively, has faced criticism in the recent past for precisely that reason. The company’s pricing of around Rs 15,000-20,000 per year is unaffordable for students living beyond the metro cities, which is why the Aakash acquisition was important.
Former salespeople at Byju’s have claimed that by playing on the typical Indian parent’s fixation with their children’s grades, Byju’s pushes its products on parents who cannot afford them.
There is another downside to the consolidation spree in the edtech space. “There are hundreds of edtech start-ups right now closing down or getting acquired because they can’t raise meaningful funds to grow and build,” said Shreyasi Singh, CEO, Harappa Education.
It remains to be seen if growing consolidation in the Indian edtech sector, and the emergence of a few big monoliths will enhance the user experience or kill competition in the space.