Edtech unicorn BYJU’S eyeing big acquisitions with 100 percent growth year-on-year
India’s first edtech unicorn BYJU’S was started by Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath in 2011 in Bengaluru. It provides online video-based learning programs to students in the K-12 segment, as well as aspirants of competitive exams such as JEE, IAS, etc. As of today, BYJU’s, with an estimated valuation of $16.5 billion, is the most valued startup in India.
Anita Kishore, Chief Strategy Officer, BYJU’S, says the organic and inorganic businesses of the startup is growing strongly. The company made two significant acquisitions in the recent years – Osmo and WhiteHat Jr.
Osmo is a Palo Alto-based educational play system for kids. The core Osmo technology is put into all of BYJU’s primary offerings. “It gives kids an additional format of learning, a physical to digital interaction,” she says. Osmo was at a $25 million revenue and BYJU’S helped to scale that up to over 4x in a span of two years to $110 million.
Whitehat Jr, which is a one-on-one coding live tutoring platform, was at a $75 million run rate before BYJU’S acquisition, and has now scaled to $230 million run rate - a growth of over 3x.
“We are clearly looking at acquisitions as a way to continue scaling our business. Wherever we see synergies either in terms of business or products and there is a clear opportunity to partner, those are the cases where we have done acquisition,” says Anita.
BYJU’S is also expanding internationally, with the US being a significant market for the company outside of India, says Anita.
In July this year, it acquired Epic, a digital reading platform for children aged 12 and below, as there were synergies both in terms of products as well as the markets. With a strong brand name and distribution in the US market, its products are personalised and promotes the idea of “learning by reading”.
In addition to this, BYJU’S also recently acquired Great Learning, an online educational platform, in 2021 Historically, K12 as a category has been a primary focus area for the company.
“The education space is a very underinvested sector. So, a lot more needs to be done in the space, and technology is just starting to make an intervention,” says Anita.
Anita shares that India will continue to be the largest market for BYJU’S. The market has barely been penetrated by two percent, and thus a lot more needs to be done in India. However, the international scale up is progressing with over $300 million in revenue from the US this year.
“We expect about a third of our revenue to be from our international markets and two thirds of it will continue to be from India,” says Anita.
She adds that the company is well-capitalised, and its core business models are profitable. It is generating enough cash to invest in the new businesses as well. BYJU’S has always entered businesses where the fundamentals have been strong, with strong unit economics. The company’s plan is to invest on scaling some of these businesses in the international market over the next couple of years.
Anita says that from an acquisition perspective, there is nothing specific on the roadmap as of now. Wherever there is an opportunity, and if there is a strong alignment in vision, as well as products and businesses, the company is open to it. BYJU’s also plans to double its revenue this year as the core business continues to grow strongly.
“Over the last five to six years, we have consistently grown 100 percent year-on-year. We will accelerate that and grow at a much faster rate,” says Anita.
She concludes by saying the IPO is just another milestone for BYJU’S as there is no pressing need for the company to go public immediately. However, going public is certainly an aspiration for the company, and it is looking at a timeline of about 15 to 18 months.
As of now, the edtech major is backed by Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global, Bond Capital, Naspers, Silver Lake, Owl Ventures, and others.