One sector that has seen unprecedented surge in growth and usage during the coronavirus pandemic, is online learning. And Byju’s — India’s largest elearning startup — has seen the bulk of that growth. The company is now looking to cash in on that growth further, and is looking to raise fresh capital, at a $10B valuation. The news comes via a report on TechCrunch, which cited people familiar to the deal.
The deal, if it materializes, would further add on to a record fund-raising spree that Byju’s has been on, within this year. In the past 4 months or so, Byju’s has raised over $400 Million in external capital from Tiger Global and General Atlantic. Valuations are officially unknown, but reports have suggested that the last round pegged the company’s valuation at $8 Billion.
When asked about the deal, a Byju’s spokesperson declined to comment on the same.
eLearning companies have been among a very few, who have seen a surge in user metrics. Not just Byju’s, but other elearning companies too, such as Facebook-backed Unacademy, professionals-focused Udemy among others have seen growth in numbers too. And while growth in most other sectors is being considered temporary, education is expected to witness a sea change in how learning is imparted. Online learning could become a crucial part of a child’s learning curve going forward, hence the big bets on these edtech companies.
According to a recent report in India Today, 72 per cent Indians prefer online or e-learning as compared to traditional classroom training. Statista had predicted India’s elearning market to be worth $2 Billion by 2021. But those projections came in a pre-COVID 19 era. With the current outbreak disrupting lives the way it has and schools/colleges remaining shut for well over the next two months, the number will see a dramatic spike.
Byju’s in particular, has been successful in penetrating to the Tier 2/Tier 3 cities in India. In fact, 65% of the company’s sign ups are happening from outside India’s Metropolitans, Byju’s CEO and founder Byju Raveendran said in February last year. “Today, over 65% of our students are from outside the top 10 cities. This is a validation of how technology can make high-quality learning content more accessible to students, irrespective of their geographies.”, he had then said.
The elearning platform also recently announced free live classes for all students, as a part of its “Learn from home” initiative. Byju’s will provide daily live lectures for essential subjects to students, as most of them remain confined to their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.