Byju’s acquires test prep platform Gradeup in eighth buy this year

By Debjyoti Roy

  • 08 Sep 2021

Byju’s, the most valued startup in India, has acquired online exam preparation platform Gradeup, marking its eighth acquisition since January this year. 

Gradeup will be rebranded as Byju's Exam Prep and will cater to students preparing for over 150 entrance exams across 25 exam categories covering government jobs and post graduate entrance exams such as IAS, GATE, CAT, Bank PO/Clerk, Defence, and UGC-NET.

The financial details of the transaction couldn’t be immediately ascertained. “With Gradeup on board, we will be able to further scale and expand our test-prep offerings in postgraduate level exams,” said Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO at BYJU’S.  

GradeStack, which was founded in August 2012, counts Times Internet Ltd (TIL), a subsidiary of media house Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd among its investor.  

“By combining live classes, assessments, and quality study material, we have built a highly specialised offering for students preparing for competitive exams,” said Shobhit Bhatnagar, CEO at Gradeup.  

Byju’s has been on a buying spree and has shelled out over $2.2bn  in acquisitions, this year alone.  It  acquired  higher education platform Great Learning for $600 million, kids’ digital reading platform Epic for $500 million, and test preparation provider Aakash Educational Services for $1 billion in quick succession.  

Byju’s has more than 65 million subscribers, but the edtech startup has seen faster growth over the past year, with at least 25 million new users signing up to use its platform after the lockdown was announced last year in March.  

The edtech unicorn also got some of the largest cheques from institutional investors this year. Last month, VCCircle reported that Byju’s is in talks with several investors to raise $1-1.5 billion at a valuation of nearly $22 billion.  

In June this year, Byju’s raised $1.5 billion from UBS Group, Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ, Blackstone Group, among others, at a valuation of $16.5 billion.  

In April, Byju’s had raised over $1 billion from investors led by Baron Funds, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group, and US-based investment hedge fund XN Exponent Holding which valued the company at $15bn.  

Last December, Byju’s raised about $1.5 billion in three tranches of Series F from investors such as Black Rock and T. Rowe Price.  

However, the meteoric rise of Byju’s in the broader education space has come at a price. The company reported an 80X jump in revenues but its losses widened by 30 times during fiscal year 2019-20, as per its latest financials filed last week.

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