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NEW DELHI : Global private equity firm Blackstone has invested $250 million (over 1,870 crore) in Indian edtech company Simplilearn Solutions Pvt. Ltd for a controlling stake, the PE firm said on Monday.

Blackstone will pick up more than 60% stake in Bengaluru-headquartered Simplilearn, one of the oldest firms in the online higher education space founded in 2010, while existing investors Kalaari Capital, Helion Ventures and Mayfield will exit.

“We believe Blackstone can add significant value to our company because of their scale, commitment to building businesses, and global network, which will enable us to develop partnerships with businesses and universities as Simplilearn continues to expand around the world. We would also like to thank our previous investors, Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners and Mayfield Fund for their undaunted support and trust in our journey of becoming a market leader," said Krishna Kumar, founder and chief executive, Simplilearn. In an interaction with Mint in June, Kumar had hinted that new investors were looking to infuse capital in the company and some of its existing investors were looking to exit.

Amit Dixit, head, Asia, Blackstone, said this is the first private equity investment in a consumer technology company in Asia. “Like many other sectors, technology is disrupting education, and education technology has been a high conviction theme for Blackstone in India and globally," he added.

“Simplilearn is a differentiated player in the digital skilling space with premium content created in partnership with marquee university and industry partners. We are excited to partner with Simplilearn’s management team to accelerate growth and build the world’s pre-eminent digital learning company, and we expect this to be the first of many such investments in Asia," Dixit said.

Mukesh Mehta, a senior managing director at Blackstone, said they were impressed with Simplilearn’s synchronous model of pedagogy focused on delivering superior outcomes for learners. “Simplilearn has demonstrated strong, profitable growth and we want to turbocharge that growth through focused investments in technology, leveraging Blackstone’s global network and expertise in education technology and bringing to bear our relationships with global universities and enterprises, Mehta added.

Blackstone is a global PE giant and has previously invested in test-prep firm Aakash Education and Byju’s. The three-decade old Aakash was acquired by Byju’s earlier this year for around $1 billion.

Established in 2010, Simplilearn is said to be profitable for past four years and is looking to aggressively acquire new customers. Currently it has a reach of over two million learners—professional and students.

Kumar said the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital skills and the industry has demonstrated absolute readiness for up-skilling 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. We are excited to partner with Blackstone, a globally recognized investor with a strong track record in the ed-tech sector," he said.

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