In a deal that was rumoured for quite some time, ed-tech behemoth Byju’s has acquired Mumbai-based WhiteHat Jr., in an all-cash deal worth a massive $300 Million. The roughly 18 months old WhiteHat Jr., which gives kids their first taste of coding, will continue to operate as a separate entity under Byju’s.
In terms of the sheer size of the deal, it is a rare exit for such a young company, especially in the Indian startup ecosystem. But then, when you are running a company with a $150 million annual revenue run-rate, you ought to get big bucks when acquired. In terms of external capital raised, WhiteHat Jr. had raised about $11 million from Omidyar Network, Owl Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners.
According to an official statement released by Byju’s, it will make significant investments in WhiteHat Jr’s technology platform, product innovation while expanding the teacher base to cater to demand from new markets. Karan Bajaj, founder of WhiteHat Jr, will continue to lead and scale this business in India and the US. Bajaj was earlier the chief executive for Discovery Networks India.
Coding as a skill, is gaining fast momentum among India’s school kids. In fact, the recently announced overhaul to India’s National Education Policy, puts special focus on coding with government-enforced plans of introducing the same in Grade 6 itself. With WhiteHat Jr. by its side now, Byju’s can now expand rapidly into this domain, and at a scale that is difficult for newer entrants to achieve.
“WhiteHat Jr is the leader in the live online coding space. Karan has proven his mettle as an exceptional founder and the credit goes to him and his team for creating coding programs that are loved by kids. Under his leadership the company has achieved phenomenal growth in India and the US in a short span of time,” said Byju Raveendran, founder and chief executive of Byju’s.
Ed-tech has grown tremendously in the past 6 months or so, as COVID-19 pandemic forced schools, colleges and universities to close. And with the pandemic only showing signs of further increase, educational institutions are expected to remain closed for some time. That has accelerated an otherwise dreadfully slow shift to online education, specially in India. Such has been the pace that India now has the world’s most valued edtech company in Byju’s and the country is now among the world’s top three markets for online education.