Edtech major Byju’s rode the easy money wave during the Covid pandemic, using that time to acquire companies that allowed it to enter a new vertical or geography.
Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters
From those highs, the Bengaluru-headquartered company founded in 2011 is now looking to sell two companies it lists as “well-known acquisitions” on its website — Epic and Great Learning.
But strategic buys have been critical to its quick expansion.
The company got a valuation of about $8 billion by January 2020 after becoming a unicorn in late 2017.
Then, during the Covid-19 pandemic its growth was turbocharged by its fundraise.
The valuation of the company led by Byju Raveendran jumped to $15 billion by April 2021.
Raveendran used the funds to acquire some 20 companies worldwide.
Sample this: In July 2021, Byju’s acquired the US-based digital reading platform Epic for $500 million.
The acquisition helped Byju’s expand its US footprint by providing access to more than 2 million teachers and 50 million students in Epic’s existing global user base.
In the same month, it acquired Great Learning, a leading Singapore-based global player in the professional and higher education segment for $600 million, comprising cash, stock, and earnout.
But as the pandemic waned, the easy money began to dry up.
Startups in India attracted just $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2023, down from $12 billion the previous year, according to market research and data tracking entity Tracxn.