2020 was undoubtedly the year for the tech industry. From Paytm and Google Pay to Udemy and Coursera; from Zomato and Swiggy to Vedantu and Brainly, online platforms have seen an unprecedented surge in demand. Consequently, Bengaluru-based ed-tech firm Byju’s has become one of the largest e-learning platforms in the world and one of the top-tier Indian start-ups.
Founded by Byju Raveendran, it witnessed a substantial rise in its valuation due to the pandemic as education has been, to a large extent, moved online with schools and colleges being closed to hinder the spread of the virus. In a year that added over 25 million new students to its platform (it currently has more than 70 million registered students as well as 4.5 million annual paid subscriptions), the company has raised over 1.5 billion, and it does not intend to stop anytime soon.
Byju’s has raised around $460 million (₹3,328.23 crore) in its ongoing Series F round, led by MC Global Edtech Investment Holdings LP, regulatory filings showed. This is the first investment round for Byju’s this year. MC Global Edtech Investment Holdings LP invested ₹1,628 crore or $224 million, almost half of the total capital raised, funding for a stake of 1.73% in the company. Eight other investors participated in the round in which Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, with its global and Asia subsidiaries, invested approximately $77 billion (₹560 crore) and currently has a stake of 0.59%.
Other investors in the round include Tiga Investments, TCDS (India) LP, Arison Holdings, XN Exponent Holdings, Baron Emerging Markets Fund, and Baron Global Advantage Fund (both of which collectively invested ₹581 crore or $80 million), which together picked up a 1.21% stake in the parent company of Byju’s. Hedge fund XN Exponent Holdings invested $41.5 million (₹298 crore.) Arison Holdings and TCDS India LP have invested $15 million (₹108 crore) and $14 million (₹104 crore) respectively.
According to regulatory filings, the company has approved the allotment of 1,40,233 Series F compulsory convertible preference shares (CCPS) at a face value of ₹10 and a premium of ₹2,37,326 per share to raise the sum. This round, which already puts the valuation of Byju’s at over $13 billion, may value the company at over $14-15 billion and raise another $150 million by the time it is completed.
Last week, a report emerged, claiming that Byju’s was mulling over raising around $600-700 million from its investors, which will likely be used to fund the acquisition of Aakash Educational Services, with the size of the deal pegged at $700-800 million. Aakash is a premier coaching center providing guidance for students who wish to pursue NEET (UG), IIT JEE Main, JEE Advanced, NTSE, KVPY Olympiad and other competitive exams. Thus, it’s probable that the new funds will be used to fuel said acquisitions.
While the funding round has not been completed yet, it has already resulted in the dilution of the holding of the promoters group in Byju’s (which includes founder and CEO Byju Raveendran and his family) to 26.09%.
Byju’s claims to have collected over ₹2,800 crore in revenue for the fiscal year 2020. It is also on an acquisition spree – having acquired US-based Osmo for $120 million in 2019 and WhiteHat Jr (a coding platform for kids last year) in August 2020 for $300 million.