Lazada investor Verlinvest injects US$30M into Indian startup Byju’s; global expansion, acquisitions on the anvil

Sainul Abudheen

Byju’s is a K-12 learning app with 8 million users and 4,00,000 annual paid subscriptions

Byju’s Founder and CEO Byju Raveendran

Byju’s, a popular K-12 learning app, has raised funding from Verlinvest, a Belgian investment company and investor in Southeast Asian e-commerce company Lazada. While the size of the amount is not officially disclosed, a source privy to the development told e27 that Verlinvest pumped US$30 million into the firm at a valuation of over US$650 million.

The Bangalore-headquartered startup will use the funding for international expansion and acquisitions. “We are mainly looking at expansion to English-speaking markets in Europe, America, and the Commonwealth of Nations,” Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO of Byju’s, told e27.

Raveendran also added that the edtech startup is in talks with some companies for acquisitions. “We are looking to acquire foreign companies and are in the process of identifying some. However, we cannot disclose their names.”

“We are very happy to partner with the talented team at Byju’s to expand in India and abroad. A 1:1 learning experience is a dream ratio, and it is very encouraging to see that an Indian company has created a product which closely addresses this need by offering engaging and personalised learning experiences enabled by technology. We have seen a lot of edtech companies, but Byju’s offers personalised learning to an extent which we haven’t seen in any product across the globe. We look forward to supporting the management team to expand to new markets and to further build the brand,” Nicholas Cator, Executive Director of Verlinvest, said.

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Launched in 2015, Byju’s is the creator of K-12 learning app which offers adaptive, engaging learning programmes for students in classes 4-12 (K-12) and competitive exams like JEE, NEET, CAT, IAS, GRE and GMAT. The app claims to have acquired 8 million users and 4,00,000 annual paid subscriptions to date. It has an average time of 40 minutes being spent by a student on the app every day from over 1700 cities and towns.

“In the last 18 months, we have witnessed exponential growth in India. While these numbers are very exciting, there is a long way to go before we can call it a revolution. The fact that we are still reaching to less than 1 per cent of the student population, shows the immense potential and the impact we can create. In fact, our teams are continuously working towards creating learning products that will enable our efforts to make learning more accessible, engaging and personalised for students,” adde Raveendran.

Byju’s is one of the hottest edtech startups in India. It has raised over US$174 million in investment to date for its innovation on K-12 learning. In December last year, it received funding from International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. This was followed by a US$50 million in funding round, co-led by Sequoia Capital and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a fund launched by Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan. Previously, Byju’s had raised US$75 million from Sequoia and Belgium-based Sofina in March this year — the largest ever funding round by an Indian edtech company.

Byju Raveendran

Byju Raveendran

In January this year, Byju’s acquired Bangalore-based Vidyartha, a data-driven platform offering customised learning guidance to students.

Founded in 1995, Verlinvest is a private Belgian family investment company with offices in Brussels, New York and Singapore. It specialises in growth capital with the objective to diversify its investors’ holdings for the long term by making private investments in branded consumer companies in the F&B, retail and hospitality, consumer digital and education segments. Some of its portfolio companies include Vitacoco, Sula Wines, Future group, Lazada, XSEED and Global Fashion Group.

Image Credit: Byju’s

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