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Byju’s founder Byju Raveendran.
Byju’s founder Byju Raveendran.

Byju’s onboards new investors, valuation now at $11.1 bn

  • 'We are excited to welcome Blackrock, Sands Capital and Alkeon as our partners,' says the edtech startup's founder Byju Raveendran
  • Since the lockdown, Byju’s has added over 25 million new students on its platform

Bengaluru: Online education startup Byju’s on Tuesday said BlackRock, Sands Capital and Alkeon Capital have joined as new investors, as part of the ongoing $500-million fundraising round.

Earlier this month, Byju’s raised funds from a group of investors, including private equity firm Silver Lake Partners along with existing investors General Atlantic, Owl Ventures and Tiger Global at a valuation of $10.8 billion.

The valuation of the edtech startup is now at $11.1 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.

“We are excited to welcome Blackrock, Sands Capital and Alkeon as our partners. As we continue to create engaging and personalised learning solutions, partnerships like these reaffirm our commitment to build and transform the global learning landscape through technology, innovation and quality pedagogy. Continued support from our existing investors is a testament of their confidence in us and our mission," said Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO.

Since the lockdown, Byju’s has added over 25 million new students on its platform. The app has over 70 million registered students and 4.5 million annual paid subscriptions. It has also introduced an online tutoring program Byju’s Classes to cater to the after-school learning needs of students. Learning programs in multiple vernacular languages like Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Malayalam and Gujarati have been introduced during the lockdown too.

Last month, Byju’s acquired WhiteHat Jr., a Mumbai-based coding platform to expand their product offerings and reach across markets. With coding fast emerging as a key skill for the future, this integration will also accelerate the firm’s international expansion plans.

The company, named after its founder Byju Raveendran, has raised around $1 billion since January, reflecting the surge in investor interest in Indian edtech startups as remote learning replaced classrooms amid the lockdown. Companies such as Byju’s are benefiting from the readiness of Indian middle-class families to spend a big chunk of their income on education and tutoring to give their children an edge amid rampant unemployment.

The surge in investor interest has catapulted Byju’s into India’s second-most valuable startup, also earning it the decacorn status—the handful of startups that are valued at more than $10 billion.

Byju’s was valued at around $8 billion in January when it raised $200 million in equity funding from New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management. That round had elevated Byju’s valuation by 45%. Since then, Byju’s valuation has increased by a further 35%. It had turned into a unicorn in late 2017 when it raised money from a group of investors, led by China’s Tencent.

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