Byju’s, India’s most loved and valuable e-learning app, has just received $150 million that will help the firm’s CEO, Byju Raveendran, fulfil his plans to launch the app in the West. The app offers learning programs for students in first grade through 12th grade in India. It has around 35 million registered users, about 2.4 million of whom are paid customers.
According to Tech Crunch, the new round valued Byju’s at $5.75 billion, up from nearly $4 billion last year.
The unnamed financing round was led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, and included participation from Owl Ventures, a leading US-based investor in education tech startups.
The move marks Owl Ventures first investment in an Indian startup.
“This investment underscores QIA’s strong commitment to the education sector and our focus on investing in leading innovators in the TMT industry globally,” said Mansoor Al-Mahmoud, CEO of QIA, in a statement.
Byju’s success is down to the app’s ability to merge tech, media and content to create an interactive, personalised and fun learning experience that helps kids understand faster.
The app’s funding news comes just six months after It acquired Osmo, a US-based learning startup popular among children aged between five and 12, for $120 million earlier this year. The acquisition will surely help propel the companies mentioned plans to expand to the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
The latest round also comes just seven months after Byju’s raised $540 million in a round led by South African media giant Naspers that had made it the fifth-most valued company in India. To company has raised $925 million to date.
“We are happy to have strong partners like QIA and Owl Ventures on board with us,” said Byju Raveendran, CEO of Byju’s. “Investment from prominent sovereign and pension funds validates our strong business fundamentals. Indian ed-tech firms attracting interest from eminent investors demonstrates that India is pioneering the digital learning space globally.”
He added, “High adoption and 85% annual renewal from small towns and cities shows the increasing acceptance of digital learning as a primary tool for learning at home. This partnership will support and strengthen our vision of creating and delivering personalised learning experiences to students. This will help us explore and leverage our expertise in creating immersive tech-enabled learning programs for students in smaller cities, regions and newer markets.”
India has the largest population in the world in the age bracket of five to 24 years.
“With the world’s largest school-age population of 260 million, India’s education sector is at an inflection point,” said Amit Patel, managing director of Owl Ventures, in a statement. “Byju’s has been at the forefront of providing quality auxiliary education to new-age learners. This new partnership with BYJU’S reinforces our commitment to creating the best and most unique learning journeys for every student.”
A 2017 report by KPMG and Google estimated that India’s online education market would grow to $1.96 billion of sales by 2021, meaning there is plenty of space for Byju’s and its competitors to continue to scale up over the next few years.
Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber
Sheikh Nawaf al-Saud al-Nasser al Sabah