Corporate learning platform Simplilearn to sell controlling stake to Blackstone

Corporate learning platform Simplilearn to sell controlling stake to Blackstone
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19 Jul, 2021

Global alternative assets manager Blackstone Group has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in ed-tech firm Simplilearn Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which provides training destination for professional certification courses.  

The transaction marked the global private equity major’s second major bet in the digital learning space in India.  However, the transaction details couldn’t be immediately ascertained.

In June, Blackstone backed Byju’s, which is considered to be most valued startup till date.

Blackstone had also forayed into education space through Aakash Educational Services, one of the leading test-prep platforms.

The PE firm earlier this year sold the firm to Byju’s.

“Like many other sectors, technology is disrupting education and education technology has been a high conviction theme for Blackstone in India and globally. Simplilearn is a differentiated player in the digital skilling space with premium content created in partnership with marquee university and industry partners,” Amit Dixit, head of Asia for Blackstone Private Equity, said.

The startup was founded in 2010 by Krishna Kumar, a graduate in electronics and communication engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka. 

The platform offers over 100 programmes to help early to mid-career professionals acquire new-age digital skills across cloud, DevOps, data science, AI & ML, digital marketing, cyber security and many more.

“The pandemic has only accelerated the need for digital skills and the industry has demonstrated absolute readiness for upskilling online. Hence, this is the most opportune time to take the next big leap in our journey to build the world’s largest digital skilling company,” Kumar added.

Based in San Francisco, California and Bangalore, the ed-tech firm claims to have helped over two million professionals, and companies in over 150 countries get trained, acquire certifications and upskill their employees.

The company is currently collaborating with renowned educational institutes such as Caltech CTME, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, UMass Amherst and the Isenberg School of Management, Purdue Online, Jagdish Sheth School of Management and IIT Kanpur and companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and KPMG.  

The edtech sector has been attracting many Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and investor attention after the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a surge in demand for online learning platforms and solutions. 

Recently, Mumbai headquartered edtech platform upGrad earmarked $250 million for M&A deals over the next 7-9 months.  

Quizizz, which gamifies quizzes and interactive lessons, raised $31.5 million last month in its Series B round of funding led by Tiger Global Management.