Ed-tech unicorn Byju’s raises fresh funding at nearly $4 bn valuation
Ed-tech unicorn Byju’s, run by Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd, has raised $4.76 million (Rs 33.2 crore at current exchange rates) in a fresh round of funding from existing investor New York-headquartered private equity firm General Atlantic, filings with Registrar of Companies show.
The company raised this sum earlier this month by issuing compulsorily convertible preference shares.
TechCircle estimates show that Byju’s raised this sum at an approximate valuation of $3.85 billion (Rs 26,940.55 crore at current exchange rates).
However, a report in The Economic Times, citing information sourced by data research and intelligence platform Paper.vc, said that Chinese internet giant Tencent also put in money, taking the total capital raised by Byju’s in this round to Rs 80 crore ($11.44 million). ET pegged the company’s valuation at over $4 billion.
In December last year, Byju’s had announced securing $540 million (Rs 3,855 crore then) in a round led by South African tech conglomerate Naspers. However, the firm’s RoC filings stated that the firm had raised $322.64 million (Rs 2,300 crore then).
General Atlantic had also participated in that round, and a Times of India report stated that existing investor Sequoia Capital was partially offloading its stake for $185-190 million
It is unclear whether the current infusion is part of the $540-million round or is a new fundraise. Email queries sent to Byju’s in this regard did not elicit a response at the time of filing this report.
Founded in 2011, the venture runs learning apps for school students and produces all its content in-house. Byju's originally started off as a coaching platform for competitive entrance exams and for students studying in classes 6-12. Last year, it launched content for students from classes 4 to 5, helping them further accelerate their growth and then targeted an app for students in class 1-3.
The company is the best-funded and most valued Indian startup in the ed-tech segment.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic foundation of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, Belgian family office Verlinvest, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation are among the firm's investors.
Byju’s sharply narrowed its loss for the year through March 2018, as a two-fold jump in operating revenue offset a rise in expenses.
The company reported net sales of Rs 471.18 crore for 2017-18, up from Rs 230.22 crore the previous year.
The company’s net loss reduced by almost half to Rs 37.15 crore from Rs 61.23 crore. This was despite an increase in total expenses to Rs 537.38 crore from Rs 309.38 crore.
Mrinal Mohit, chief operating officer at Byju's, had recently told TechCircle that the company was on track to triple its revenue for 2018-19 to Rs 1,400 crore.
Byju’s has made a number of acquisitions in its quest for growth. It made its fifth acquisition in January this year by buying US-based digital learning platform Osmo for $120 million (Rs 840 crore then).
In July last year, it had bought math learning platform Math Adventures for an undisclosed sum.
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.