Ever since the pandemic started, the Indian Ed-tech sector has seen a massive boom in the demand for online learning as students in large numbers are finding alternatives to the traditional teaching-learning methods. At the forefront of the Ed-tech revolution in India is Bengaluru based start-up ‘Byju’s’ which has successfully raised $1.5 Billion since the beginning of the pandemic and currently has the distinction of being India’s largest startup valued at more than $16.5 Billion and is backed by marquee investors, including General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Naspers, Silver Lake and Tiger Global.
The startup has also been on a shopping spree as it has acquired or is in talks to do so half-a-dozen other Ed-tech startups for more than $2 Billion.
The latest addition for Byju’s is a US-based Digital reading platform for children aged 12 and under named ‘Epic’ for a staggering $500 million in cash and stock.
This comes as a part of Byju’s plans to increase footprint in North America and bridge the learning gap among kids there.
Byjus’s has also planned to invest $1 Billion in the region.
The purchase of Byju’s will allow the company to deepen its presence in the US and expand into other English-speaking markets as it had purchased another US educational gaming startup called OSMO back in 2019 for $120 Million.
Epic will now be soon available in India and other English-speaking markets such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
With Epic’s acquisition, Byju’s will have acces to more than 2 million teachers and 50 million kids in Epic’s existing user base, which more than doubled over the last year due to the pandemic.
Epic’s chief executive Suren Markosian and co-founder Kevin Donahue will remain in their respective roles.
Talking about the deal, Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of Byju’s, said in an interview, “Reading is a powerful tool to learn. While Epic looks at creating lifelong readers, for us, it’s about making lifelong learners. Both are very complementary. We are yet to meet in person, but we realized there are a lot of synergies, and it’s an expertise we don’t have. There is an opportunity to disrupt almost everything in learning because it’s still early days for what technology can do. There is an opportunity to scale Epic globally and build the platform together.”
Back in India Byju’s has a staggering 80 million user base with 5.5 million paid subscribers. The course renewal rate being at a whopping 86 per cent.
BYJU’S also added more than 45 million new users to its platform in the first six months of the pandemic, primarily from Tier II and beyond towns.
Byju’s has made around 10 acquisitions in recent years. The most significant of them being Aakash Institute for $1 Billion.
Last year in August it purchased WhiteHat Jr for $300 Million as the startup has an area of expertise in providing coding programmes for kids. It also acquired tutoring firm HashLearn and doubt clearing platform Scholr this year and has plans to buy Toppr and Great Learning for $150 Million each.