Silver Lake, DST lead $500m in Byju’s, valuation hits $11bn

Madhav.Chanchani@timesgroup.com
Bengaluru: Top global technology investment firms Silver Lake Partners and DST Global are leading a $500-million round in education technology startup Byju’s, pushing the company’s valuation close to $11 billion. The move comes as the sector continues to get consumer transaction and strong investor interest amid the pandemic.
The new round — which will also see participation of existing investors like General Atlantic, Tiger Global and Owl Ventures — is expected to take the total capital mopped up by the company to about $1 billion this year.
While the Bengaluru-based startup announced the Silver Lake investment on Tuesday, it didn’t comment on the one by DST. Silver Lake, known for backing companies like Airbnb, Skype and Dell, was in the news earlier this year for backing Reliance Jio and is also reportedly in talks to back Reliance Retail.
“Some other new investors are also expected to participate in the new round of funding. Some formalities regarding DST Global are still being finalised as they are expected to bring in co-investors as well,” said one of the sources briefed on the matter. Byju’s is raising capital broadly as a mix of a fresh issue of shares and a secondary sale by existing investors as well.
The new set of backers join the list of other top-tier ones of Byju’s, which include venture firms like Sequoia and Lightspeed, sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, pension funds like Canada’s CPPIB and strategics like Tencent and Prosus Ventures.
The capital is likely to be used by the company to push its global expansion and to finance acquisitions. Earlier this year, it acquired online coding classes startup WhiteHat Jr for $300 million in one of the rare all-cash deals in the startup ecosystem. WhiteHat claimed an annualised revenue run rate of $150 million when the deal was announced. Byju’s is also reportedly in talks to acquire doubt-solving startup Doubtnut for over $100 million to further fuel its growth.
The 39-year-old Byju Raveendran had started the company as an offline coaching class for Common Admission Test (CAT) to enter IIMs back in 2007.
Then several of his students joined him in 2009, and he registered his company as Think & Learn in 2011. The company tried out a tablet-based format, but tasted major success after launching an app in 2015.
This has been driven by the financial metrics of the company. Byju’s claimed that it has doubled its revenues from $189 million (Rs 1,430 crore) in FY19, when it was also profitable, to Rs 2,800 crore in FY20. Last month, the company hit an annualised revenue run rate of $800 million.
Byju’s also says that it has 64 million registered students and 4.2 million paid subscribers. Over the years the company has also signed a partnership with Walt Disney to use its characters to teach kids besides also becoming the lead sponsor for the Indian cricket team.



[Source – Times Of India]

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