Silver Lake backs Byju’s in second India bet this year
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US-based private equity firm Silver Lake has led a new round of funding in education-technology company Byju’s, as investor interest in this segment continues to surge in the wake of growing demand for online learning. 

Existing investors Tiger Global, General Atlantic and Owl Ventures also participated in this round, Byju’s said in a statement.

Byju’s, operated by Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd, did not disclose the amount it raised. However, multiple media reports said Silver Lake and other investors put in $500 million (Rs 3,680 crore) in Byju’s at a valuation of $10.8-11 billion.

The fundraise comes less than two weeks after Byju’s secured $122 million (Rs 901.6 crore at current exchange rates) in funding from DST Global.

Earlier this year, Byju’s had also raised an undisclosed sum from Bond Capital, a venture capital firm co-founded by former Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker. 

For Silver Lake, which focuses on technology platforms, Byju’s is the second Indian company it has backed this year. The PE firm had invested around $747 million in Reliance Industries Ltd unit Jio Platforms Ltd in May and committed $600 million more in June.

Silver Lake is also said to be in talks to invest in Reliance Retail.

Byju’s is one of the country’s most heavily-funded startups, and the biggest ed-tech startup. The company raised $200 million from the US-based Tiger Global Management in January at a valuation of $8 billion.

Byju’s valuation had crossed $5 billion after it raised $31.3 million in a funding round in March last year led by existing investors General Atlantic and Tencent Holdings Ltd. In December 2018, Byju’s had secured $540 million in a round led by South African tech conglomerate Naspers.

Byju Raveendran, founder & CEO of the company, said the coronavirus pandemic has brought online learning to the forefront. “Our classrooms are changing possibly for the first time in 100 years and I’m really excited about the opportunities that we have to redefine the future of learning,” he said.

The company said it doubled its revenue from Rs 1,430 crore for 2018-19 to Rs 2,800 crore for 2019-20. 

Byju’s app has more than 64 million registered students and 4.2 million annual paid subscriptions, the company said. 

The company has made at least six acquisitions with the aim of expanding its product portfolio and business. Earlier this month, it acquired WhiteHat Jr for $300 million in a deal that has given blockbuster exits to investors such as Nexus Venture Partners, Omidyar Network and Owl Ventures.

Previously, Byju’s had bought math learning platform Math Adventures in 2018 and Pearson-owned Tutorvista and Edurite as part of a single deal in 2017.

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