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Byju’s Learning secures funding from China’s Tencent

Bangalore-based education technology startup Byju’s Learning, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings. The fresh funding will help Byju’s to accelerate product development for new markets and for acquisitions. A VCCircle report pegged the size of the investment at $35 million at a valuation of $776 million.

Launched in 2015, Byju’s provides personalized learning courses for students from 4th to 12th standard, and learning content for competitive exams like GMAT, CAT, GRE, IAS, NEET among others. The company claims that it has around 4.5 million annual paid subscribers, and that it has an average engagement rate of 40 minutes per day per user, with over 90% of users renewing their subscriptions. 

The company added that it turned profitable last quarter, and registered revenues of Rs 260 crores in FY17, as compared to Rs115 crore in FY16, up 126% year on year.

Previous Funding

Byju’s has raised funding from multiple investors since its inception in 2011, as pointed out by this Mint report.

  • Just over four months back, Byju’s had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Verlinvest, an investment firm based in Belgium, four months ago.
  • In December last year, the company raised close to $15 million from the International Finance Corporation, an investment arm of the World Bank.
  • In September 2016, Byju’s raised a $50 million round led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — the philanthropic fund from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. Other investors included Sequoia, Sofina, Lightspeed Ventures & Times Internet.
  • In March 2016, the company secured $75 million from Sequoia Capital and Sofina for expanding its product line.
  •  Its first round of $9 million funding was in November 2011, followed by $25M by  Aarin Capital in 2013.

Acquisitions

The company has made two acquisitions till date:

  • Earlier this month, Byju’s acquired two education tech startups–global education company Pearson Plc’s online tutoring provider Tutorvista, and e-learning content company Edurite
  • In January this year, Byju’s had acquired Bangalore-based Vidyartha, a data-driven platform which offers customized learning to students.

Competition

Byju’s competes with many large and medium companies in e-learning space. In June this year, IL&FS Education & Technology Services Ltd. (IETS), the social infrastructure arm of IL&FS Group, launched ‘Geneo’, a personalized digital learning platform targeting the K-12 segment. Gurgaon based CollegeDekho is another online platform that lists colleges across streams in India and offers test preparation material. Search giant Google has an Internet education program for rural women in India, and Amazon India has an Exam Central product which lists solved papers and articles from academicians for entrance exams. Other competitors include Vedantu, Jigsaw Academy, CollegeDekho, S Chand, Smartivity  Labs, Unacademy and Schoolguru among others.

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