India’s highest-valued startup and edtech giant BYJU’s has announced the acquisition of the online exam preparation platform, Gradeup, for an undisclosed sum. The IPO-ready startup, currently valued at $16.5 Bn, has rebranded Gradeup as its Exam Prep that will cater to students preparing for more than 150 exams, including Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), Bank/PO and UGC-NET, among others.
When contacted by Inc42, BYJU’s spokesperson did not reveal the acquisition amount but stated that Gradeup founders will continue to lead the vertical in new roles in the company.
BYJU’s, which has acquired 16+ companies, was in talks to acquire Gradeup as well as Great Learning in April 2021 in a deal worth $400 Mn. The Great Learning acquisition came through in July when BYJU’s acquired the Gurugram-based upskilling platform for $600 Mn.
Founded in 2015 by Shobhit Bhatnagar, Sanjeev Kumar, and Vibhu Bhushan, Gradeup offers test prep courses across sectors, with banking and SSC prep being the most popular segments. The company claimed to have more than 250K paid subscribers and over 20 Mn registrations. It also claimed that its net revenue stood close to INR 60 Cr in FY20.
Byju Raveendran, founder, and CEO, BYJU’s, said that with Gradeup on board, BYJU’s will be able to scale and expand its test-prep offerings in postgraduate level exams.
“We aim to bring our complementary strengths and expertise together to create engaging and personalised learning experiences,” he said.
“Together with BYJU’S, we will accelerate our growth and expand our reach across the country. Further, we will leverage their strengths in content to deepen our current product offering and broaden our coverage of exams,” added Bhatnagar.
The startup already hosts BYJU’s IAS, a UPSC preparation platform, and books for CAT, GRE and GMAT which will be integrated into Gradeup (now BYJU’s Test Prep), adding other PG-level entrance exam prep, the spokesperson confirmed.
BYJU’S has banked upon big acquisitions to get more control on the edtech market in India. In August 2020, it had acquired coding for kids startup WhiteHat Jr in August 2020 for $300 Mn. This year, the company acquired test prep giant Aakash Educational Services for $1 Bn, which has over 200 physical test prep coaching centres. It also acquired Mumbai-based K12 rival Toppr for $150 Mn.
Launched by Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath in 2011, Bengaluru-based BYJU’s boasts over 100 Mn students on its platform backed by marquee investors such as General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Naspers, Silver Lake, Tiger Global, among others.
The company also claims to have over 6.5 Mn annual paid subscribers with an annual renewal rate of 86% on its personalised learning programs. BYJU’s raised $50 Mn in its Series F round in July led by IIFL’s private equity fund and Maitri Edtech.