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Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO, Byju's Image:Nishant Ratnakar
Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd., which operates Byju’s, an online learning app, has raised $150 million from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, and Owl Ventures, the Bengaluru-based education-tech company said in a press release on July 10.
Byju’s will use the money for “aggressive plans of international market expansion and the creation of world-class learning products for students across the globe,” the company said in its statement. This investment is also the first primary investment from Owl Ventures in India, according to the press release.
India’s online app-based companies such as Byju’s have risen on the back of deeper internet penetration enabled by a smartphone boom and cheaper data rates over the last few years. India now has some 450 million internet users. Byju’s, which was founded in 2008, now touches more than 1,700 cities, with over 35 million registered students and 2.4 million annual paid subscriptions.
“High adoption and 85 percent annual renewal from small towns and cities shows the increasing acceptance of digital learning as a primary tool for learning at home,” Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO said in the release. The investment will help the company in creating “immersive tech-enabled learning programs for students in smaller cities, regions and newer markets,” he added.
Byju’s offers learning programmes for students in classes 1 to 12 in India. Recently, the company launched an early learning app for children in classes 1-3 in collaboration with Disney. The Bengaluru venture is backed by investors including the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Tencent Holdings and Nasper Ventures.
Prior to the latest investment, the company had raised about $1.1 billion and an Economic Times report in March said Byju’s was valued at $5.4 billion. In January, it acquired Osmo, a Palo Alto-based education game maker for $120 million.
The company tripled its revenue to Rs 1,430 crore in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, and also turned profitable on a full-year basis. It expects to end the current fiscal year with revenue of Rs 3,000 crore.
Amit Patel, Managing Director, Owl Ventures, said in the release: “With the world’s largest school-age population of 260 million, India’s education sector is at an inflection point. Byju’s has been at the forefront of providing quality auxiliary education to new-age learners.”