Credits: Wikimedia commons

BYJU’s (often stylized as Byju’s), the most valued edtech startup globally, has just bagged a new title, one that is sure to make many envious of its growing stature. The firm has been declared as the most valuable startup in India, with a valuation of $16.5 billion. It has successfully surpassed Paytm, the largest fintech firm in India, which is currently valued at $16 billion.

The transition comes after the company raised fresh funds worth $350 million, in a financial round led by UBS Group, and Eric Yuan (the founder of online conferencing platform Zoom), among others.

The new fundraiser is part of Byju’s larger financial round, which has been taking place in bits and parts for a few months now. The edtech firm is eyeing to rake in funds worth a total of $1.5 billion. ADQ, the state fund from Abu Dhabi, private equity giant Blackstone, and Phoenix Rising are among the other investors who participated in the recent round.

Byju’s is looking to take over a number of different online learning platforms by making use of the fresh set of funds. It is currently in talks for acquiring Toppr, the largest doubt-solving community in the country, and had acquired coaching institute chain Aakash Institute earlier this year, in a deal worth around $1 billion.

According to a new filing, the firm has become the 11st highest valued unicorn startup in the world. The total number of unicorn startups in the world currently stands at 708, and their combined value is $2319 billion. As of now, ByteDance, the name behind viral video sharing giant TikTok, is the world leader in unicorn startups, standing at a value of $140 billion.

For the unversed, a startup is granted the status of being a unicorn when its valuation crosses the milestone of $1 billion. Facebook, Google, and Airbnb are among popular unicorns. India has recently been seeing a steady growth in the number of unicorn firms, thanks to a large number of investments that are being made by global giants like Tiger Global, UBS, etc., in Indian companies.

Startups like Zomato (at a valuation of $5.4 billion) Ola Cabs (at a value of $6.3 billion), and Oyo Rooms (valued at about $9 billion) are some of the most well-known unicorns established (and functional) in India.

The edtech industry has been expanding at unprecedented rates, thanks to the widespread shift towards online learning, as schools, colleges, and other educational institutions were forced to shut down due to the pandemic. Teachers and students took to online methods for studying and teaching, so as to ensure that the flow of information wouldn’t stop.

Byju’s was originally set up to help students pursuing undergraduate and graduate-level courses, but has now become synonymous with online teaching for school-going students. The most appealing and interactive feature about the platform is that teachers delve into the concepts by making use of real-life examples like toys and food. The platform had said earlier this year that it now has a user base spanning 80 million people, with 5.5 million of them being paid subscribers.