Indian edtech giant Byju’s valued at $18 billion in new funding

Byju’s has raised about $300 million as part of a larger round of new investment as the Indian edtech giant focuses on expanding its international business and aggressively explores merger and acquisition opportunities.

A filing, supplied to TechCrunch by research firm Tofler, showed that the new investment values the startup at $18 billion, up from a valuation of $16.5 billion in June this year. At $16.5 billion valuation, Byju’s had already surpassed fintech giant Paytm for the tentpole position in India’s startup ecosystem.

Oxshott Capital Partners led the new tranche of investment while XN Exponent, Edelweiss, Verition Master Fund, IIFL and Time Capital Advisors participated.

TechCrunch understands the new investment is part of a larger financing round that is likely to propel Byju’s valuation above $21 billion.

A Byju’s spokeswoman declined to comment Monday.

The new investment comes at a time when Byju’s is also engaging with bankers about potentially filing for an initial public offering sometime next year. Some bankers have given the startup a valuation of up to $50 billion if it lists next year, TechCrunch reported in August. In an interview last month, Byju Raveendran (founder and chief executive of Byju’s) confirmed that the “IPO was on the cards.”

The startup, which has raised over $1.8 billion since the beginning of the pandemic, has used a significant portion of its recent fundraises to acquire firms. Earlier this year, it bought Aakash, one of the largest coaching institutes for high-school students with over 200 centers, for nearly $1 billion. It has also purchased Great Learning, and U.S.-based Epic, among others, for over $1 billion in cash and stock deals. Last month, the startup unveiled it had acquired kids coding platform Tynker for $200 million.

Raveendran said last month that Byju’s is continuing to explore more merger and acquisition opportunities. These acquisitions are helping Byju’s aggressively broaden its offerings and tap international markets in more meaningful ways, he said.

Byju’s prepares students pursuing undergraduate and graduate-level courses, and in recent years it has also expanded its catalog to serve all school-going students. Tutors on the Byju’s app tackle complex subjects using real-life objects such as pizza and cake.

The pandemic, which prompted New Delhi to enforce a months-long nationwide lockdown and close schools, accelerated Byju’s growth, as well as several other online learning startups, including Unacademy and Vedantu.