BENGALURU: Online education startup Byju’s is in advanced stages of talks to raise $200 million in fresh capital from US-based investors T Rowe Price and BlackRock at a valuation of $12 billion, a person directly aware of the matter said. BlackRock is an existing investor in the firm.
The development comes less than two months after Byju’s raised $500 million from top global technology investment firms Silver Lake Partners, DST Global and others at a valuation of close to $11 billion. Once formally closed, the latest round would take Byju’s total fund-raise to over $1 billion this year as demand for online education remains high amid the pandemic. T Rowe Price has previously backed large Indian internet firms like Paytm and Flipkart.
The Bengaluru-based Byju’s had announced the investment from Silver Lake Partners last month, but did not comment on DST Global’s participation.
Silver Lake has been in the news for its recent investments in Reliance Retail as well as Reliance’s Jio Platforms.
“This round should be closed in the coming few weeks,” the person mentioned earlier said. A spokesperson of Byju’s declined to comment, while emails to T Rowe Price and BlackRock did not elicit any response.
Byju’s has other marquee investors including Tencent, Prosus Ventures, Sequoia, Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital, and General Atlantic. The capital being raised would be used for global expansion as well as to finance acquisitions to strengthen its offerings. Earlier this year, it acquired code-learning startup WhiteHat Jr in a $300-million cash deal.
With the pandemic accelerating the adoption of online education in India, the sector has seen an increase of nearly four times in investments at $1.5 billion in the first nine months of 2020, compared to $409 million in the whole of 2019, according to data from Venture Intelligence. Unacademy, Vedantu and Eruditus are some of the other prominent names in the space that have raised capital from investors like SoftBank, US-based Coatue and South Africa’s Prosus Ventures.
Byju’s was started by Byju Raveendran in 2007 as an offline coaching class for the Common Admission Test (CAT) to enter IIMs. Later in 2009, several of his students joined him to start Think & Learn, which tried the tablet-based format and eventually found significant traction after launching as an app in 2015. According to the company, it has doubled its revenues from $189 million in the financial year ending March 2019 to $378 million in the financial year ending March 2020. In September, it said it has 64 million registered students, of which 4.2 million are paid subscribers.
Source From : Times Of India