BlackRock cuts Byju’s valuation by nearly two-thirds to $8.4 billion

BlackRock, a minority investor in Byju’s, has yet again cut the valuation of its holding in the Bengaluru-based startup, this time to about $8.4 billion, even as the most valuable Indian startup continues to raise capital at a better price.

BlackRock cut the value of Byju’s share in its holding by about 62% in the quarter ending March this year, from a year ago, it disclosed in a filing. BlackRock had slashed Byju’s valuation to $11.5 billion in October last year. Byju’s declined to comment Monday.

Nonetheless, a series of qualifications merit attention: BlackRock is not a substantial stakeholder in Byju’s, and owns less than 1% equity in the startup.

A similar move from Prosus, one of the more prominent investors in Byju’s, would have raised greater alarms for the Indian edtech leader. Additionally, it’s worth noting that valuation methodologies may vary across different investors. Thus, other portfolio investors could potentially hold vastly contrasting views.

Furthermore, Byju’s secured $250 million in fresh funding at a valuation cap of $22 billion earlier this month, indicating that the startup continues to be valued higher by other backers.

BlackRock’s price adjustment is the latest in a series of valuation markdowns for the Indian startup ecosystem. Invesco has cut the valuation of Swiggy by half, and Pine Labs, Ola and PharmEasy have also seen their values being cut by some investors.

The recent valuation reductions bring a fresh perspective to the effects of waning global market conditions on Indian startups. Last year witnessed a decline in funding activity within the Indian startup ecosystem, but the valuations of many larger startups remained unchanged as they either raised capital via convertible notes (thus deferring price discovery to a later stage) or opted not to raise funds at all.