DST Global, an investment firm led by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, is connected in a $400 million investment deal with an Indian online education firm Byju’s, as said by two people associated with the matter.
Byju’s is currently valued at around $10.5 billion and is the second-most valued startup in India since the launch of Paytm.
With the spread of COVID pandemic and every country’s desperate attempt to contain the spread of the virus, most schools, colleges, universities, factories, offices, etc have been shut. To aid in maintaining a somewhat proper academic trajectory, most schools and colleges have shifted to online classes. Online education is one of the very few sectors which has received an extraordinary boost during COVID lockdown due to the lack of other options to support the traditional ways of a classroom.
Platforms like Byju’s provide online classes to children from Kindergarten to class 12, and with the pandemic situation in full-blown rigour, it has recently shifted to live classes as well. It also helps competitive exam aspirants with test preparations and entrance exams.
Although Byju’s have refused to comment on this and DST Global have not responded to any emails regarding this situation, an insider has said, “Byju’s are looking for a large acquisition target in the US, for which they will need the capital.”
Founded by former teacher Byju’s Raveendran, the nine year-old company has recently turned to acquisitions to grow. Only last year in January, they had accepted a deal with Osmo, a US-based educational games company, worth $120 million. It has since been involved in negotiations with DoubtNut, a doubt solving app for students for $100 million. They are also in advanced stages of dealings to purchase WhiteHat Jr. which is a one and a half year-old platform providing coding classes online. That deal is marked somewhere around $300 million. This was reported by Moneycontrol first on 3rd of July.
The background we have on DST Global is that it is one of the leading late stage investors with names like Facebook, Spotify, Alibaba, Twitter, and Airbnb being some of the companies under their belt. If the deal with Byju’s comes to fruition, that also spells an entrance for DST into the Indian market. Post September 2016, DST has only invested in food delivery startup Swiggy and another firm called Udaan.
Some of Byju’s existing investors are Naspers, General Atlantic, Tiger Global Management, the Chan Zucker Initiative, and Sequoia Capital. The company has said that its FY2020 revenue has doubled to Rs. 2,800 crores with more than 3.5 million active customers. While the profit figures of FY2020 will be unclear until the financial closing of this year, Byju’s had made a profit of Rs. 19 crores in FY2019.