Byju’s is set to hire around 4,000 staff this year to meet a surge in demand for its online courses
Byju’s has been in a fundraising mode since the start of 2020 and has already secured funding worth $500 million in its current round from investors
DST Global, the late-stage venture capital fund backed by Israeli-Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, is in advanced talks to invest around $400 million in online education platform Byju’s, said two people aware of the talks.
Byju’s has been in a fundraising mode since the start of 2020 and has already secured funding worth $500 million in its current round from investors including US-based technology investor Bond, General Atlantic and Tiger Global. The edtech startup is being valued at $10.5 billion in the current funding round.
Bengaluru-based Byju’s will look to raise an additional $200 million from existing investors apart from DST in the ongoing round, said one of the two people cited above, who is aware of the fundraising plans.
A spokesperson for Byju’s declined to comment.
A deal could be signed as early as this weekend, according to Bloomberg, which first reported on DST Global’s investment plans.
Hong Kong-based DST Global has been actively investing in Indian tech startups, including firms such as business-to-business supplier Udaan, food delivery firm Swiggy and social commerce startup Meesho.
Byju’s is the second-most valued startup in India, overtaking hospitality unicorn Oyo, which was last valued at $10 billion. Paytm was valued at $16 billion in late 2019, when it raised $1 billion in a round led by T Rowe Price and existing investors Ant Financial and SoftBank Vision Fund.
The edtech startup last raised around $100 million from Bond Capital, a global technology investment firm co-founded by Mary Meeker, and $200 million from Tiger Global in January, when it was valued at $8 billion.
Since its launch in 2011, Byju’s has raised over $1 billion from Naspers Ltd, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Verlinvest Group SA, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India Partners, and General Atlantic, among others.
Between January and June, edtech startups raised $795 million from venture capital firms, compared with $108 million in the year-ago period, according to data from Venture Intelligence research. Edtech and health tech are the two sectors among startups that have performed well despite the covid-19 crisis.
Byju’s offers learning content on its app and web platform. The programmes have been designed to cater to students across age groups, from kindergarten to higher secondary classes. The app is aimed at students for a variety of programmes, including competitive exams such as the Common Aptitude Test and the Indian Administrative Services.
Recently, it launched a freemium model, providing free access to important courses in response to the government’s decision to shut down schools and educational institutions to help contain the spread of covid-19.
Since then, demand for Byju’s courses has risen sharply as students began embracing online tools for learning.
Byju’s is set to hire around 4,000 staff this year to meet a surge in demand for its online courses, Mint reported in June.
In March, when the lockdown was first imposed, Byju’s added 6 million new students on the platform and another 7.5 million students in April, where most of them were organic users.
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