Reliance is set to pick up a majority 72.69 percent stake in online education platform Embibe, which uses data analytics to deliver personalised learning outcomes to students.
Reliance today agreed to invest the rupee equivalent of $180 million into Embibe, the Bengaluru-based AI education platform, over the next three years. A part of this will be towards acquiring a stake of 72.69 percent from Embibe's existing investors. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
This is one of the biggest transactions in the Indian education and deep technology space. Aditi Avasthi, Founder and CEO, Embibe, will continue in her leadership role and will drive growth of the business.
Embibe is an education platform, which leverages data analytics to deliver personalised learning outcomes for students. This capital will be used towards deepening Embibe’s R&D on AI in education and focus on business growth and geographic expansion.
The focus of the platform will remain students across K-12, higher education, professional skilling, vernacular languages, and all curriculum categories across India and internationally.
Prashant Mehta, Partner at Lightbox said:
“From the start, we believed in Aditi’s vision of making a massive impact in education by investing in data science and AI-led technology platforms. Our conviction was confirmed as we saw real impact – both in absolute outcomes and in scale – for millions of aspiring students across some of the hardest education formats in the country. We couldn’t be more thrilled to see the partnership between Reliance and Embibe take this vision to improve the quality of education and make it available to every student in this nation and the world.”
Citibank acted as financial advisor, Anand and Anand were chief legal IP advisors who were part of the due diligence, AZB & Partners, Covington & Burling LLP and KPMG acted as legal advisors, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers provided tax advisory and diligence services to RIL. Embibe was advised by Arpwood Capital, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Partners, and Khaitan & Company as legal advisors, and had Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu Limited for tax advisory services.
Aditi says the Embibe team has built an great technology platform focused on delivering personalised learning outcomes in a truly scalable way across all education markets.
With AI stacks focused on content intelligence and automation, behavioural recommendations, and student intelligence, Embibe’s products are redefining the way edtech can impact the lives of students and teachers.
“We are supercharging our platform with the ability to deliver both content and outcomes for every learning goal in every student’s journey, to be the leader in personalising education for India and the world. We are excited to partner with Jio – bringing unrivalled acceleration to our growth story through data and device access. Most of all, we are delighted to partner with Reliance and share their deep conviction and visionary passion to sow the seeds of a new India with data as the new soil.”
This is the second major transaction by Reliance in the year. Last month, Reliance inked a strategic deal with New York-based music-and-artiste platform Saavn to merge its own digital music offering, Jio Music. The deal was valued at $1 billion, with Jio Music’s implied valuation at $670 million.
Speaking on the Embibe deal, Akash Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio, said
“The investment in Embibe underlines Reliance’s commitment to growing the education sector in India and the world, and making education accessible to the widest possible group of students by deploying technology. Reliance aims to connect over 1.9 million schools and 58,000 universities across India with technology. We are delighted to announce this partnership with Embibe, and believe that their highly experienced management team will be instrumental in enabling Reliance to realise its vision for the education sector, and strengthening Jio’s leadership position as a digital technology company.”
The edtech space in India hasn’t seen a large exit or transaction of this scale till date. While there have been several learning platforms over the years , Embibe’s focus has been on deep technology and product innovation.
The company uses data analytics and technology to capture student weaknesses centred on critical exam performance metrics like speed, accuracy, time management, attempt planning, stamina, and also addresses psychological factors like confidence. With 18 billion metadata points associated with insight mining and five patents in progress, Embibe was recently recognised as the best AI company in education by Amazon India. Over the last five years, Embibe has touched the lives of over 15 million students.
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is India’s largest private sector company, with a consolidated turnover of Rs 330,180 crore ($ 50.9 billion), cash profit of Rs 42,800 crore ($ 6.6 billion), and net profit of Rs 29,901 crore ($ 4.6 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2017.
Embibe being Reliance’s second major transaction of the year, it will be interesting to see what other kind of investments this corporate giant will make in the startup world. It is also interesting that large Indian corporates are now keenly looking at investing in the Indian startup ecosystem.