Byju’s to become India’s most-valuable startup after $150M funding

byju's funding

Byju’s is raising around $150 million from UBS Group AG at a valuation of around $16.5 billion, several people aware of the deal revealed. 

The funding will make it the country’s most valuable startup. An entity that is a member of UBS Asset Management is investing. It is in talks to invest additional money, which would take its total investment in Byju’s to around $300 million, the people said, who requested anonymity as the discussions are private. 

The startup could bring in another backer to take the latest funding to $400 million, one of the people stated.

Byju’s recently raised around $1 billion from B Capital Group as well as Baron Funds and XN, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month quoting a person familiar with the developments. India’s startup industry is witnessing several new unicorns rapidly.

The UBS investment will take the valuation of Byju’s past Paytm, which was last valued at $16 billion. The online education startup officially called Think & Learn Pvt., has accumulated a large group of investors including private equity giant Silver Lake Management, Owl Ventures, and T. Rowe Price, along with existing investors like Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Naspers Ltd., and Tiger Global Management. 

Musaab Javed, a money manager at UBS, moderated and structured the investment, a person familiar with the matter said.

The Bangalore-based startup was established by Byju Raveendran, a former tutor whose parents were also teachers. Raveendran, 39, owns around a third of the company.

In a recent interview, Raveendran stated the pandemic had majorly altered parents’, teachers’, and students’ acceptance of online learning. The startup’s eponymous K-12 app, which brings in most of its revenues, has more than 80 million registered users in the country who understand math and science fundamentals through animated games and videos featuring tutor demos.

In recent months, Byju’s has accelerated the speed of acquisitions including a company teaching one-on-one coding to school goers in markets like the U.S., Latin America, and Australia besides India. It bought another that focuses on offline test-prep classes for Indian school graduates aspiring to enter ultra-competitive engineering and medical schools.

After the pandemic-induced hike in online learning, Byju’s has accelerated its push into international markets by renaming the coding lessons unit Byju’s Future School. Its one-on-one coding and math lessons are now available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, as well as Mexico, in Spanish, and Portuguese in Brazil. It’s expanding its subject repertoire to add music, English, and the creative arts.

Byju’s is the leader in the edtech segment and the pandemic has fueled its growth further. The freshly infused funds would offer great opportunities to the company to grow and expand its business further.

Shishir Gupta, Founder and CEO, StartupLanes

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