A look at BYJU'S $2B shopping bill and what's next for the edtech unicorn

Edtech unicorn BYJU’S has acquired US-based startup Epic for a whopping $500 million. The edtech giant is inching close to pumping in $2 billion into acquiring startups. Here is a look at its top acquisitions and likely future ones.
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On Wednesday, Bengaluru-based edtech unicorn BYJUS announced that it had acquired US-based startup Epic, a digital reading platform for children aged 12 and under, for $500 million. Between 2020 and 2021, BYJUS has already acquired three companies and is in the process of buying two more. 

This bill for this shopping list amounts to a cumulative sum of $2 billion.

The edtech giant has raised $1.5 billion in funding in the same time frame. The startup is currently the most valued startup in India at $16.5 billion.

BYJU’S has marquee investors on its captable, which include Bond Capital, Yuri Milner's DST Global, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global, Silver Lake, and Owl Ventures among others.

Given the COVID-19 backdrop and increased demand for online learning, the user base of BYJU’S has surged to 80 million with 5.5 million paid subscribers. The course renewal rate is at a whopping 86 percent.

BYJU’S also added 45 million new users to its platform in the first six months of the pandemic, primarily from Tier II and beyond towns.

According to Sensor Tower, it has emerged as one the top 10 education apps during the lockdown. The edtech unicorn has emerged as the leading player in the segment with its closest competitors being players like Unacademy and Vedantu.

Here’s a look at BYJU’S key acquisitions and likely future ones: 

Coding startup WhiteHat Jr for $300 million 

In August last year, BYJU’s had acquired WhiteHat Jr for $300 million, making it one of the biggest deals in the edtech space then. This was BYJU’S focus in its plans to expand further into the US market. The unicorn was also looking to provide coding programmes for kids, an area of expertise for WhiteHat Jr.

BYJU'S had stated it was also looking to make significant investments in WhiteHat Jr.’s technology platform and product innovation while expanding the teacher base to cater to demand from new markets.

Karan Bajaj, Founder and CEO of WhiteHat Jr.

Blackstone-backed Aakash Educational Services for $900 million, reportedly $1 billion

In the works since January this year, this was one of the largest domestic deals made by a company, and also marked BYJUS first acquisition in a  brick-and-mortar based company. Aakash Educational Services is present in around 200 locations, with media reports saying that AES has half-a-million paying students enrolled in its programmes. 

BYJU’S then had close to five million paying students out of around 80 million users. When combined, this is a significant deal as it would focus on the ‘phygital’ approach to teaching students in secondary education, and preparing them for entrance exams. 

Image credit: Anubhav

US-based digital reading startup Epic for $500 million 

On Wednesday, the edtech giant acquired US-based startup Epic, a digital reading platform for children aged 12 and under, for $500 million. The company stated this acquisition would help expand BYJU’S US footprint by providing access to more than two million teachers and 50 million children who are part of Epic’s existing global user base, which more than doubled over the last year.

BYJUs stated  it was looking to make a revenue of $300 million from the US market in the coming year. The edtech giant is also looking to invest $1 billion in North America, with a focus to accelerate its growth in the region. 

Suren and Kevin, Founders of Epic

Next up?

BYJU’S to reportedly acquire Toppr for $150 million 

Reports have stated that BYJU’s will be acquiring K-12 learning startup Toppr for approximately $150 million. The deal is yet to be confirmed by the company.

Founded in 2013 by IIT Bombay alumni Hayath and Hemanth Goteti, Toppr uses artificial intelligence-based machine learning algorithms to personalise learning paths for every learner. It provides K-12 syllabus coverage with thousands of course combinations and has over 16 million students on the platform.

BYJU’s to reportedly acquire upskilling platform Great Learning for $150 million 

Founded by former India MD of Tiger Global Mohan Lakhamraju in 2013, Great Learning  is an inclusive higher education and upskilling platform. In seven years it has delivered 60 million hours of learning to 1.5 million students, and crossed $100 million ARR.

BYJU’S is reportedly acquiring the startup for $150 million. This deal will mark BYJUs entry in the upskilling segment; it has till now restricted its growth to the K-12 and school segment. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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