Mary Meeker founded Bond marks first India bet with edtech unicorn Byju’s

Mary Meeker founded Bond marks first India bet with edtech unicorn Byju’s
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26 Jun, 2020

Bengaluru headquartered online learning platform Byju’s is raising an undisclosed amount from Bond, the growth equity investment firm founded by former Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker. 

San Francisco headquartered Bond raised a $1.25 billion debut fund, Bond Capital Fund, LP, last year. Think & Learn, the company that owns Byju’s, marks Bond Capital Fund’s first bet in India.

The new round values Byju’s at a little over $10 billion, a person privy to the transaction confirmed to TechCircle. 

Byju’s did not respond to specific email queries from TechCircle.

The latest infusion takes the total equity capital raised by Byju’s so far to over $1 billion. Early investors in the nearly 10-year-old company include Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India, Aarin Capital, Verlinvest as well as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg backed Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

In February this year, it raised $200 million from New York-based private equity firm General Atlantic, a returning investor in the company. The round valued the company, post money, at $8.2 billion at the time. Earlier in January, it raised a similar amount from New York headquartered alternative investments firm Tiger Global Management.

“Endorsed by millions of students, Byju’s has emerged as a clear leader in education technology,” Bond general partner Meeker said in a statement. “We are excited to support a visionary like Byju and his team in their quest to continue to innovate and shape the future of education,” she added.

Founded in 2011 by Byju Raveendran, the company launched its K-12 learning app for classes 4th to 12th in 2015. It has gone on to add programmes for competitive exams including JEE, NEET and the IAS. Its flagship product, The Learning App, has over 57 million registered students and 3.5 million annual paid subscriptions. The firm also made content on its learning app free for students in view of schools being shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“This partnership is a testament to the role that Byju’s is playing in helping students learn better by customising our platform to their abilities. It also demonstrates the rising global interest in education technology as digital learning becomes increasingly accepted and embraced,” Raveendran said in the statement.

Byju’s also claims to have doubled its revenues from Rs 1,430 crore to Rs 2,800 crore in financial year 2019-20. 

As education shifts online for the foreseeable future due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ed-tech space has seen keen investor interest. 

The edtech space in India has another contender for the unicorn mark, with Unacademy reportedly in talks to raise $100 million. The test preparation platform raised $110 million in growth round from Facebook and General Atlantic, a common investor of Byju’s in February. Earlier this year, live online tutoring company Vedantu raised $24 million in an extended Series C round from GGV Capital.