The edtech giant BYJU’s, set for an IPO in the next 8-10 months at over $16.8 Bn market valuation, has left no stone unturned in acquiring edtech startups this year. With a total of eight acquisitions in its kitty with spending over $2.4 Bn, the edtech unicorn has been on an aggressive acquisition spree to create a unilateral market.
The edtech sector in India has witnessed a stupendous boom in the remote learning era. According to reports, the sector has raked in over $4 Bn in the last five years and is expected to evolve into a $30 Bn industry in the next 10 years from its current size of $700 Mn. The market has other significant players such as Vedantu, Unacademy and Upgrad, among several others, but the company that has been making the most noise is India’s second highest valued startup, BYJU’S.
Here are the eight acquisitions this year that have catapulted the edtech unicorn in a different league altogether in the growing Indian startup ecosystem.
The Aakash Acquisition
In one of the biggest edtech deals in the country, BYJU’s acquired Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL) for $1 Bn in April this year. Founder JC Chaudhary’s 33-year old coaching classes has over 200 physical coaching centres across 130 cities in India. It provides engineering and medical test prep services for classes 10-12 students.
The HashLearn Acquisition
In May this year, BYJU’S acquired an online coaching platform for competitive exams, HashLearn. As part of the deal, cofounders Jayadev Gopalakrishnan and Gokul Janga joined BYJU’S team. Reports suggest that both the cofounders are currently working as consultants in the business unit of WhiteHat Jr.
The Scholr Acquisition
In February this year, BYJU’S acquired Scholr — an AI-enabled online education company — for $180 Mn. The startup was started in 2015 by Piyush Agarwal, Himanshu Nimje, and Manil Gupta. With the acquisition, BYJU’S marked its foray into on-demand doubt clearance space.
The Great Learning Acquisition
Marking its third acquisition in July, the edtech unicorn acquired Singapore-based Great Learning for $600 Mn. Launched in 2013 by Mohan Lakhamraju, Hari Nair and Arjun Nair, Great Learning offers educational content to the professional and higher education segment.
As part of the deal, Great Learning operates as an independent entity under BYJU’S group and accelerates its organic and inorganic growth in India and across global markets.
The Toppr Acquisition
In July, BYJU’S acquired K-12 learning app Toppr for $150 Mn. Launched in 2015 by Zishaan Hayath and Hemanth Goteti, Toppr now holds a 1% share of BYJU’S. The company was brought in to strengthen BYJU’S market position in the K-12 segment, considering it faces heavy competition from other edtech startups like Vedantu, Unacademy, and others.
The Epic Acquisition
Another acquisition that took place in July was the US-based reading platform Epic. BYJU’S acquired the eight-year old company for $500 Mn. Marking its entry into the US market as part of the deal, its founders Suren Markosian and Kevin Donahue have continued their roles in the company.
With the new acquisition, other than making its mark in the international market, BYJU’S has also brought in engaging and interactive reading and learning experiences as part of its product portfolio.
The Whodat Acquisition
In August this year, the edtech unicorn took over computer vision and augmented reality (AR) startup Whodat for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 2013 by Sriram Ganesh and Kaushik Das, Whodat’s entire team and the proprietary computer vision platform have been transferred to BYJU’S to accelerate its product development in key areas.
The Gradeup Acquisition
The latest and 8th acquisition in BYJU’S list was of online exam prep startup Gradeup for an undisclosed amount. With Gradeup, BYJU’S will strengthen and expand its portfolio in the test-prep segment for postgraduate level exams.
Although BYJU’S aggressive acquisition pattern came to light in 2021, it started its spree back in 2020 with WhiteHat Jr for $300 Mn. For FY 20, it clocked a 152% profit year-on-year with revenue growth of 81% in FY 2020, but its expenses also jumped 80% for the same period to INR 2,383.