Edtech unicorn Byju's has raised Rs 2,200 crore ($297.5 million) in fresh capital, underlining increasing investor faith in India's most-valued startup despite its widening losses. The latest funding was led by New York-based Oxshott Capital Partners as part a Series F round at an issue price of Rs 285,072 per share, according to regulatory filings reported by research platform Tofler.
Oxshott pooled in Rs 1,200 crore while other investors in the round included Edelweiss (Rs 344.9 crore), IIFL (Rs 110 crore), Verition Multi Strategy Master Fund (Rs 147 crore) and XN Exponent Holdings (Rs 150 crore).
The edtech unicorn got some of the largest cheques from institutional investors this year. In June, Byju’s raised $1.5 billion from UBS Group, Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ, and Blackstone Group, among others, at a valuation of $16.5 billion. Prior to that 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. The fundraising had valued the company at around $15 billion.
Byju’s valuation has skyrocketed since last year as the pandemic fuelled an online learning boom with parents enrolling kids in online classes. The edtech has been on a buying spree and has shelled out over $2.2 billion in acquisitions this year alone.
Just last month, it bought US-based kids coding platform Tynker in its ninth acquisition this year. It also acquired online exam preparation platform Gradeup in September. Earlier this year, the edtech major 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.
Bjyu’s has witnessed around 80% growth in its consolidated net sales during FY19-20 as compared to a year before, acccording to regulatory filings of the company. However, its losses grew nearly 30 times during the period under review.
Last month, Byju’s appointed Ola executive Puneet Bhirani as senior vice-president of operations. vccircle.com/byju-s-ropes-in-ola-exec-puneet-bhirani-as-senior-vice-president-of-operations In an interaction with Mint last month, Byju’s founder and chief executive Byju Raveendran, said the company is considering an initial public offering (IPO) and will be raising its last private round as talks are currently on. The company is also considering and exploring both US and India markets for its listing for now, he had added.
Food delivery startup Zomato became the first tech unicorn to list on the domestic stock exchanges this year, which was followed by online used car marketplace CarTrade’s listing. A slew of other tech unicorns including Paytm, Oyo, PolicyBazaar and Nykaa have also filed papers for their public float while other tech giants such as Ola, PharmEasy, and Delhivery are also set to file papers for IPO.
Other edtech startups have also attracted significant funding during the pandemic. Just last week, Vedantu Innovation Pvt Ltd, which operates a live tutoring platform, became the fifth digital learning startup in India to hit unicorn status after raising $100 million (Rs 740 crore) in its Series E round led by Singapore-based impact investor ABC World Asia.
Other edtech companies that turned unicorn during the pandemic are Unacademy, UpGrad and Eruditus. Unacademy turned into a unicorn in September last year after a whopping $150 million (Rs 1,094 crore) in a new funding round led by SoftBank. Unacademy has also been quite active on the acquisition front. This year it acquired Rheo TV and TapChief for an undisclosed amount.
Ronnie Screwvala’s UpGrad turned into a unicorn after it closed at $185 million (Rs 1,373.7 crore) funding round led by Singapore-based sovereign fund Temasek; and Eruditus achieved unicorn status after it raised $650 million as a part of its latest Series E funding round led by Accel US and Softbank.