Education technology start-up Byju’s (Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd) has acquired global education company Pearson Plc.’s TutorVista and Edurite for an undisclosed amount, in a move aimed at expanding global reach as well as offerings for students.
“This partnership will enhance our product offerings and give us access in some of the new markets when we launch our international products. We are excited to work with the talented and experienced team who will come on-board as a part of this acquisition,” Byju Raveendran, founder and chief executive at Byju’s, said in a statement.
“With increased brand awareness, our core offering has witnessed massive adoption amongst students across grades (classes 4-12). We strongly believe that a product like ours can change the way students learn all across the world. Today, with a wider bandwidth, we have started creating similar products for the international markets that further boost our reach as well as product portfolio,” he added.
TutorVista gets about 70% of the traffic on its website from the US.
Pearson in 2009 acquired a 17% stake in Bangalore-headquartered TutorVista and in January 2011 purchased another 59% stake for Rs577 crore. It increased its controlling stake to 80% from 76% in the same year. In February 2013, it acquired the remaining 20%.
TutorVista operates in four business segments-online tutorials; digital content and information and communication technologies for schools; test preparation and offline coaching to students; and the management of K-12 schools.
TutorVista, promoted by serial entrepreneurs K.Ganesh and Meena Ganesh, acquired Edurite in 2007. Today, Edurite sells educational CDs and DVDs.
“Edurite and TutorVista are pioneer brands in their respective spaces and enjoy great customer goodwill. We are pleased that a leading online education company in India sees value in the Edurite and TutorVista businesses, brands and employees,” Deepak Mehrotra, managing director at Pearson India said in a statement.
Byju’s has been one of the few growth stage start-ups to have raised multiple rounds of funds in 2016, apart from food tech start-up Swiggy (Bundl Technologies Pvt. Ltd).
The company raised about $75 million from Sequoia Capital and Belgian family office Sofina in March 2016. In September, Byju’s raised $50 million in a round led by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, becoming the first Asian investment for the personal fund set up by Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. In December, the company raised another $15 million from World Bank arm International Finance Corp.
Byju’s also raised an undisclosed amount in venture debt from InnoVen Capital. Lightspeed Venture Partners invested about $20 million in the firm earlier in 2016 in a secondary transaction which saw Aarin Capital partially selling its stake.
This takes total capital infusion in Byju’s last year to at least $160 million. The company, founded by Byju Raveendran in November 2011, has so far raised close to $200 million in equity and debt funding since inception.
Byju’s provides learning programmes for class VI to XII students and preparation programmes for competitive examinations such as JEE, CAT, IAS, GRE and GMAT, among others. Byju’s plans to expand globally, especially in the US and UK, introduce new subjects beyond physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics as well as roll out products for classes IV and V, Raveendran said in an interview in September last year.
The company claims to have about 8 million app downloads and more than 400,000 paid consumers.
Raveendran had claimed in May that Byju’s clocked revenues of Rs260 crore last fiscal and will turn profitable in fiscal 2017-18.
India’s online education market is set to grow to $1.96 billion and about 9.6 million users by 2021 from $247 million and about 1.6 million users in 2016, according to a May report by KPMG and Google Inc.
“Primary and secondary supplemental education is expected to be the faster growing category in online education in India. This is a classic case of consolidation in an emerging market like India in the Internet business. With this acquisition, Byju’s will get two primary benefits, access to international markets like the US and UK through the current customers of TutorVista platform, as well as the access to the schools and students in India through the Edurite platform. The content and teaching mechanism popularized by Byju’s would thus get a powerful channel through Tutorvista to the international market. Further this acquisition can enhance the adoption of Byju’s way of content and teaching to the customers of both these companies,” said Sreedhar Prasad, partner-Internet business at KPMG in India.