Byju’s becomes India’s most valuable startup ahead of Paytm

Bju's edtech
Image courtesy Byju's

India’s edtech startup Byju’s has reportedly become the country’s most valuable startup with $350 million funding at a valuation of $16.5 billion, ahead of fintech major Paytm, which was last valued at $16 billion in 2019.

Byju’s valuation stood at $11 billion in 2020, up from $5.75 billion in July 2019, as per various reports. 

The latest round of funding saw participation from UBS Group and Zoom founder Eric Yuan, Blackstone, Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ and Phoenix Rising–Beacon Holdings, as per regulatory filings accessed by various Indian media outlets. 

The edtech startup, which raised a total of $1 billion in 2020, has continued its fundraising spree in 2021 and raised another $1 billion in April this year from investors like Baron Funds, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group, and US-based hedge fund XN Exponent Holding. 

ByJu’s fundraising in 2021 aims to acquire more startups to bolster its offering and foray into the international market. The April round of investment coincided with Byju’s acquisition of Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL), a leader in exam preparation, for nearly $1 billion in a stock-and-cash deal. This was the largest acquisition deal by size in India’s online education sector.

Byju’s had previously acquired WhiteHat Jr, Scholr, Osmo and Toppr, and is currently in talks to buy  Gradeup and Great Learning. However, the company hasn’t officially announced the Toppr acquisition. 

It has also started discussions with the US-based Epic, as per a report by TechCrunch.

Byju’s, which has over 80 million registered students and 5.5 million annual paid subscriptions, recently claimed that the app has an annual renewal rate of 86. It also claimed to have added 45 million new students in the first six months of the lockdown last year.

According to a separate report by India’s Economic Times, Byju’s revenue doubled in the financial year ended March 2021 from the previous year. “…this would translate into revenue of around Rs 5,600 crore, compared with Rs 2,800 crore the year before,” Cofounder Byju Raveendran was quoted as saying by the publication in April. 

India’s Edtech space is growing, with all major players raising funds to grow operations. Almost all of them have claimed to have seen dramatic growth in their engagement numbers since April 2020, when COVID-19 induced lockdown forced schools to shut down, resulting in an immediate need for online education.

According to a recent report by transaction advisory firm RBSA Advisor, India’s ed-tech sector is projected to become a $30 billion industry in 10 years.

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