Bengaluru/New Delhi: Online tutoring start-up Byju’s is in advanced talks with at least two new investors—private equity firm General Atlantic and Singapore government-owned Temasek Holdings—to raise $200-300 million, according to three people directly aware of the development. If the talks are successful, the deal will value Byju’s, run by Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd, at $2.2-2.4 billion, the people said on condition of anonymity. The transaction is expected to close within the next few weeks, they said.
If Bengaluru-based Byju’s manages to raise the funds at a $2 billion-plus valuation, it would more than double the company’s value from its previous round, and cement its status as one of the breakout startups from India in the past five years.
“Please note that as a matter of policy, Temasek does not comment on market speculation and rumours,” a Temasek spokesperson said in an email. General Atlantic declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for Byju’s declined to comment.
Mint had first reported in July that Byju’s was in talks with new and existing investors to raise fresh funds of more than $150 million at a valuation of $1.8-2 billion. However, the round may now end up being larger than anticipated, according to the people cited earlier.
One of the three people cited before said that either General Atlantic or Temasek will participate in the funding round, and may not invest simultaneously. Existing investors, including China’s Tencent Holdings, may also participate.
Byju’s is part of a small, but growing bunch of tech startups, which have rapidly grown their businesses and consistently attracted blue-chip investors.
In July 2017, Byju’s had raised about $40 million from Tencent, months after raising $30 million from Verlinvest. Since starting out in 2008, Byju’s has raised over $240 million from Tencent, Verlinvest, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Aarin Capital, among others.
In the past three years, Byju’s has exceeded investor expectations. The company, which started out as an offline teaching centre in Bengaluru, launched an app in 2015 to increase its customer base. It currently offers two separate learning apps—its flagship learning app caters to students from Classes VI to XII, while the second targets students of Classes IV and V. The online education startup plans to launch another app for younger students soon.
The move to a digital education platform has been lucrative for the company. In June, Byju’s said that it touched ₹100 crore in monthly revenue and raised its annual revenue target for this year to ₹ 1,400 crore. The company claims it is one of the few Indian unicorns that has become profitable.
The online content space in India is attracting an unprecedented amount of interest from investors. In August, Mint had reported that investors are aggressively backing content start-ups, which can attract tens of millions of users, hoping that someday they will be able to convince advertisers to spend big on their platforms. More than a dozen content deals amounting to over $400 million are expected to be closed before the end of the year, according to Mint research.