Mary Meeker’s VC firm Bond invests in Byju’s, marking first funding in India

Mary Meeker. Photo: Reuters

Mary Meeker’s technology investment firm Bond, a backer of high-profile companies including Twitter and Facebook, has invested an undisclosed amount in Indian edtech unicorn Byju’s, marking its first investment in the country, per an announcement on Friday.

According to media reports, the latest funding, which is likely to be under $100 million, has valued Bengaluru-based Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd, the parent company of Byju’s, at about $10.5 billion.

“Endorsed by millions of students, Byju’s has emerged as a clear leader in education technology,” said Meeker. “We are excited to support a visionary like Byju and his team in their quest to continue to innovate and shape the future of education.”

Meeker, a former partner at Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins launched Bond, a $1.25 billion growth investment fund last year that seeks to invest in later stage startups. The San Francisco-based fund’s other high-profile bets include Airbnb, Houzz, Instacart, and Uber.

Earlier in June, we at DealStreetAsia had reported about Byju’s being in talks with Hong Kong-headquartered Baring Private Equity Asia. Talks are understood to be at an advanced stage, sources had said, indicating that the company is seeking to rake in a total of about $500-600 million in fresh financing to expand its operations.

Byju’s was reportedly valued at about $8 billion when it raised funding from General Atlantic in February this year. The private equity firm had earlier pumped in around Rs410 crore for a 3.85% stake in the company in 2018, according to data sourced by Paper.vc.

In January, Tiger Global had invested about $200 million into Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd, the education technology firm that owns and operates learning app Byju’s.

Launched in 2015, Byju’s offers learning programmes for those studying in kindergarten to class 12 (K-12), besides helping senior students with preparation for competitive exams such as JEE, NEET, CAT, IAS, GRE and GMAT.

In the past year, Byju’s claims to have seen tremendous growth and now has over 57 million registered students, more than 3.5 million paid subscribers and annual renewal rates as high as 85 per cent. The company doubled its revenue from Rs 1,430 crore to Rs 2,800 crore in FY 19-20.

“This partnership is a testament to the role that BYJU’S is playing in helping students learn better by customizing our platform to their abilities. It also demonstrates the rising global interest in education technology as digital learning becomes increasingly accepted and embraced,” Byju Raveendran, founder & CEO of Byju’s said.

In response to schools being shut down due to COVID-19, BYJU’S has made content on its learning app free for all students. BYJU’S has also introduced LIVE classes to further student engagement.

Other Byju’s backers include Qatar Investment Authority, Owl Ventures, Lightspeed India Partners, Aarin Capital, and Sequoia Capital India. The company has so far raised $1.4 billion in external funding, per data available with Crunchbase.

 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.