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Rediff.com  » Business » Zuckerberg invests $50 mn in Bengaluru firm

Zuckerberg invests $50 mn in Bengaluru firm

September 09, 2016 09:22 IST

This is the first investment in Asia from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which was founded by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s investment arm for education and healthcare, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, has made its first investment in Asia in BYJU’s, a Bengaluru-based education technology firm.

The $50 million commitment saw funding from investors such as Sequoia Capital, Sofina and Lightspeed Ventures, and Times Internet. The investment would be used for expansion, BYJU’s said in a statement.

Vivian Wu, who manages Zuckerberg’s education venture, will join BYJU’s board. This is the first investment in Asia from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which was founded by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. It was launched to advance human potential and promote equality and funds non-profit organisations.

“Education can give young people and their families a path to a better future, and families in India work hard to give their children that chance. BYJU’s represents an opportunity to help even more students develop a love for learning and unlock their potential,” said Vivian Wu.

The BYJU’s app has been downloaded more than 5.5 million times and reached 250,000 annual subscribers across India. It has an average engagement rate of 40 minutes per day and 90 per cent of users renew their subscription.

In March, the company raised $75 million from Sequoia Capital and Sofina Capital. “We are excited to partner with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to usher in the next stage of growth at BYJU’s. Our vision closely aligns with their vision of advancing human potential and promoting equality,” said Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of BYJU’s.

“We are delighted to have CZI and other companies partner with us to help BYJU’s expand opportunity for more young people. Over the last few years, the team has worked hard to make high-quality education accessible across the country, and we are proud to have students from across 1,400 towns learning through the product,” said GV Ravishankar, managing director of Sequoia Capital India Advisors and BYJU’s board member.

Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters

Apurva Venkat in Bengaluru
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