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DealStreetAsia

Indian unicorn Byju's raises cash from Mary Meeker's venture fund

Edtech company has over 57m registered users and 3.5m paid subscribers

The Byju's education app has seen strong growth in users and paid subscribers over the past year, the company says, drawing a number of well-known venture-fund backers.

NEW DELHI -- Mary Meeker, a well-known investor who backed high-profile tech companies, including Twitter and Facebook in their startup days, and now runs the U.S.-based technology specialist Bond Capital, has invested an undisclosed amount in Indian edtech unicorn Byju's, the fund announced Friday. 

The move is Bond Capital's first investment in India. According to media reports, the latest funding, which is likely to be under $100 million, values Bangalore-based Think and Learn, the parent company of Byju's, at about $10.5 billion.

"Endorsed by millions of students, Byju's has emerged as a clear leader in education technology," said Meeker. "We are excited to support a visionary like Byju and his team in their quest to continue to innovate and shape the future of education."

Meeker, a former partner at Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins, last year launched Bond Capital, a $1.25 billion growth investment fund that seeks to invest in later-stage startups. The San Francisco-based fund's other high-profile bets include Airbnb, Houzz, Instacart, and Uber.

Earlier in June, DealStreetAsia reported on Byju's being in talks with Hong Kong's Baring Private Equity Asia. The negotiations are understood to be at an advanced stage, sources said, indicating the company is seeking a total of $500 million to $600 million in fresh financing to expand its operations.

Byju's was reportedly valued at about $8 billion when it raised funds from General Atlantic in February this year. The private equity firm had earlier pumped in around 4.1 billion rupees ($54.2 million) for a 3.85% stake in the company in 2018, according to data sourced by Paper.vc.

In January, Tiger Global invested about $200 million in Think and Learn.

Launched in 2015, Byju's offers learning programs for K through 12 students, in addition to helping older students prepare for aptitude tests such as the JEE, NEET, CAT, IAS, GRE and GMAT. Today, Byju's app has more than 47 million registered users and 3.5 million annual paid subscriptions.

In the past year, Byju's says it has seen tremendous growth and now has over 57 million registered students, more than 3.5 million paid subscribers and annual renewal rates as high as 85%. The company doubled its revenue from 14.3 billion rupees to 28 billion rupees in the 2019-20 financial year.

"This partnership is a testament to the role that Byju's is playing in helping students learn better by customizing our platform to their abilities. It also demonstrates the rising global interest in education technology, as digital learning becomes increasingly accepted and embraced," said Byju Raveendran, the startup's founder and CEO.

In response to schools being shut down due to COVID-19, Byju's has made content on its learning app free for all students. Byju's has also introduced live classes to foster student engagement.

Other Byju's backers include the Qatar Investment Authority, Owl Ventures, Lightspeed India Partners, Aarin Capital, and Sequoia Capital India. The company has so far raised $1.4 billion in external funding, per data from Crunchbase.

For the original story from DealStreetAsia, click here.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on corporate investment activity in Asia especially Southeast Asia and India. Nikkei owns a majority stake in the company

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