Education technology firm Byju’s is in talks to close fresh financing of around $ 200 million from US asset manager T Rowe Price and existing investor BlackRock valuing the Bengaluru-based firm at $ 12 billion, two people in the know said.
The latest fundraising comes at a time when the edtech major has been racking up capital from myriad investors as its valuation goes up almost every few months. From $ 5.7 billion in July 2019 to around $ 10.8 billion in its previous round, the company has recorded one of the fastest ramp ups in valuation for a domestic internet firm.
T Rowe Price, which manages more than $ 1 trillion in assets, has been fairly selective as far its India technology bets go. If the deal with Byju’s goes through, it will only be its third investment in a privately held Indian startup, after having backed digital payments firm Paytm and Flipkart.
When contacted a Byju’s spokesperson did not comment on the development, while an emailed query sent to T Rowe Price did not elicit a response.
Byju’s has gained significantly due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown which led to parents opting for online courses as schools across India have remained shut. As of September, Byju’s said it added over 25 million new students since the start of the lockdown taking its base of users to 70 million, including 4.5 million paid subscribers.
While there is no immediate IPO plan for Byju’s, the new funds will help it grow inorganically and enter lucrative markets such as the US.
Graphic: Rahul Awasthi
In August, this year, it acquired WhiteHat Jr for which teaches students to code in the K-12 space and broader edtech sector. It had also acquired Osmo, an edtech startup based in the US, last year, as a way to get its foot into the door in that market. Byju’s also acquired Hubli-based LabInApp, a startup creating virtual simulations of science experiments, an in-demand solution at a time when schools are closed and students don’t have access to science labs.
In September, Byju’s added BlackRock, Sands Capital and Alkeon Capital to its expanding list of growing backers. The investment was part of an ongoing funding round announced earlier this month led by US private equity major Silver Lake. Byju’s said at the time that it will raise as much as $ 500 million in the current funding round at a $ 10.8 billion valuation, making it the second most valuable startup in the country after digital payments giant Paytm. General Atlantic, Owl Ventures and Tiger Global also participated in the previous fundraise.