Exclusive: Byju’s lines up another $100 mn in extended funding round

Exclusive: Byju’s lines up another $100 mn in extended funding round
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Ed-tech unicorn Byju’s is in talks to raise another $100 million (around Rs 720 crore at current exchange rates) as part of an ongoing fundraising exercise, two people privy to the development told TechCircle.  

This will be over and above the $322.64 million (around Rs 2,300 crore) that Byju’s raised recently in a fresh round of funding led by Naspers Ventures, the investment arm of the South African media conglomerate. TechCircle had reported that development on Tuesday, pegging Byju’s valuation at $3.3 billion.

Now, Byju’s is looking to raise an additional sum as part of that round primarily from US-based investors and could close the deal within the next few weeks, one of the above-mentioned persons said on the condition of anonymity.

A second person said that New York-headquartered private equity firm General Atlantic, an existing investor, would likely put in more money.

According to Bengaluru-based Byju’s filings with the Registrar of Companies, General Atlantic had invested Rs 199.10 crore ($27.54 million) in October. Apart from General Atlantic and Naspers, pension fund Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) had also participated in the round.

A fresh infusion could take the total capital raised in this round to around $422-425 million (a little over Rs 3,000 crore) and could see Byju’s valuation cross $3.6 billion, as per TechCircle estimates.

A Byju's spokesperson declined to comment while e-mail queries sent to founder Byju Raveendran did not elicit a response till the time of publishing this report.

Run by Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd, Byju's is the most well-funded ed-tech startup in India. It became a unicorn in August last year, a person privy to the development had told TechCircle, though the development was only reported this year.

The firm is backed by investors such as Tencent, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg), Belgian family office Verlinvest and the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation.

Before the latest infusion, Byju’s had last raised funding in July 2017 from Tencent, which reportedly put in about $35 million (Rs 225 crore) into the startup. 

The deal valued Byju’s at around $776 million (Rs 5,000 crore).

The company runs learning apps for school students and produces all its content in-house.

The venture originally started off as a coaching platform for competitive entrance exams like IIT-JEE, CAT, UPSC, GMAT, GRE, Engineering/Medical and for students studying in classes 6-12. Later, it launched content for students from classes 4 to 5 last year, helping them further accelerate their growth.

It now plans to launch an app for students in class 1-3 by end of this year.  

In an interview with TechCircle earlier this year, Raveendran had said that Byju's was eyeing Rs 1,200 crore in revenue in 2018-19. He had said the company might break even in 2017-18 after recording a loss of Rs 59 crore in the previous fiscal.

He further said that the company might close with revenue of Rs 510-540 crore in 2017-18.

Byju's posted revenue of Rs 45 crore in 2014-15, Rs 110 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 240 crore in 2016-17.

Byju's also has plans to expand overseas starting with English-speaking territories

It has been scouting for distribution partners in markets like the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore among others.

While scaling up, the company has also made five known acquisitions till date. In its most recent buyout, Byju’s bought math learning platform Math Adventures for an undisclosed sum in July this year.

In July 2017, it bought Pearson-owned Tutorvista and Edurite as part of a single deal.

Six months before that, it had acquired Bengaluru-based learning guidance tool and student profile-builder Vidyartha for an undisclosed amount.

In 2015, the company had acquired Zeus Education Pvt Ltd, which operates Infinite Student, a communication and learning platforms for schools.