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Byju's pips Ola as India's 3rd largest Unicorn

January 10, 2020 19:18 IST

Byju’s has emerged as the leader in the Indian education-tech sector. They are pioneering technology shaping the future of learning for millions of school students in India.

Byju Ravindran

IMAGE: The edu-tech firm was started in 2011 by maths teacher Byju Ravindran, joined by a handful of his early students.. Photograph via Twitter.

Education technology company Byju’s is learnt to have raised $200 million in a funding round from Tiger Global Management, which has valued the Bengaluru-based start-up around $8 billion, making it the third largest unicorn (startup valued over $1 billion) in the country.

With this, the Byju Raveendran founded company has seen over 50 per cent jump in its valuation in just around nine months.


In March 2019, Byju’s was valued $5.4 billion, when it raised around $31 million from General Atlantic, and Chinese investment giant Tencent.

At the current valuation, Byju’s has now replaced home-grown cab hailing major Ola as the third largest unicorn, next only to Paytm and OYO, which are valued around $16 billion and $10 billion, respectively.

Byju’s confirmed the transaction through a press statement, though the company declined to share any specific details of the deal.

Tiger Global could not be immediately reached for its comments.

“We are happy to partner with a strong investor like Tiger Global Management.

"They share our sense of purpose and this partnership will advance our long-term vision of creating an impact by changing the way students learn,” said Raveendran.

“This partnership is both a validation of the impact created by us so far and a vote of confidence for our long-term vision.”

This is Tiger Global’s second investment in the edutech space in India after Vendantu, an online tutoring platform, where it led a $42 million round along with WestBridge Capital in August.

An early backer of India’s internet growth story, the New York-headquartered Tiger Global has been a prolific investor in the Indian startup space.

It’s portfolio in the country ranges from consumer focused e-commerce companies that are vital for the growth of the sector, such as Flipkart, Delhivery, Grofers, Quikr and PolicyBazaar to mention a few.

After tasting success with Flipkart, one of its earliest investments, where it had pumped in around $1 billion, the PE major is now doubling down its focus on the Indian strartup space, under its new investment head Scott Shleifer.

Shleifer, who set up international private equity practice for Tiger Global, is said to be as aggressive deal maker like his predecessor Lee Fixel, who left the investment firm in March.

Since then, Tiger has also invested in a host of technology-focused companies in diverse sectors including Ninjacart, CRED, NoBroker and Facilio to mention a few.

“Byju’s has emerged as the leader in the Indian education-tech sector.

"They are pioneering technology shaping the future of learning for millions of school students in India,” Shleifer was quoted in the press statement issued by the edutech firm.

For Byju’s, the fresh investment is also a testimony to the scorching pace of its growth and its prospects.

It claims to have over 42 million registered users and three million paid subscribers across the country.

The company has also seen the average time a student spends on the app increase from 64 minutes to 71 minutes per day over 2019.

In the financial year 2018-19 (FY19), Byju’s saw its revenues grow close to three-fold to Rs 1,480 crore, while the company claimed to have achieved profitability on a full-year basis.

For FY20, the company which is also backed by investors like Sequoia Capital, Light Speed Ventures, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and Naspers, among others, has set a target of hitting Rs 3,000 crore in revenues.

Last January, Byju's had forayed into the US with the acquisition of Silicon Valley-based educational gaming startup Osmo, which it bought for around $120 million.

It is also looking to launch its platform in several English-speaking countries in Europe, and Australia.

“While these are early days, there is tremendous potential in this segment to create a highly scalable and sustainable model that can equip and prepare the current generation for the unseen jobs of tomorrow,” Byju added.

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra in Bengaluru
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