The Indian unicorn, Byju’s, has undertaken a spate of buyouts in the previous year that have helped it enhance its core products.
During the Covid-19 epidemic, the Indian ed-tech unicorn used an aggressive acquisition strategy to become the world’s largest firm in the field. One of India’s top digital unicorns, Byju’s, is valued at $22 billion.
These purchases include augmented reality firm Whodat in Bengaluru, upskilling platform Great Learning in Singapore and digital reading platform Epic in the United States.
According to Tracxn statistics, Byju’s has spent over $2.6 billion on acquisitions in 2011. Most of these partnerships — particularly the big-ticket ones – occurred after the Covid-19 epidemic, which boosted online schooling.
Highlights of Byju’s
- Byju’s, unlike many other learning platforms, has become a one-stop-shop for all afterschool learning needs.
- They provide tailored education for pupils ranging from kindergarten to job applicants taking competitive tests.
- Byju’s is also not your usual Edtech firm; instead, they specialise in Education Media Technology.
- Byju’s programs are more thorough and interactive because they incorporate movie-like videos and game-like engagement into their material.
- They also provide live online tutoring sessions (BYJU’S Classes), computer coding for youngsters (WhiteHat Jr), and test preparation courses.
- Aside from this, their website contains an archive of government career recommendations, information, and study materials.
- They’ve partnered with Disney, Osmo, and others. This will guarantee that their material stays interesting, interactive, and well ahead of the competition in terms of quality.
- Byju’s offer classes in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and other languages. This broadens their appeal and broadens the scope of their offers.
- They’re expanding globally, including excursions into Middle Eastern markets. Localised material is being rolled out for the North American and European markets.
- Its new frontier might be Africa. Their largest potential may be the hitherto underserved education market.
The Expansion of the Universe
Byju’s currently has over 64+ million learners using the app, 4.7 million yearly paying customers, and an 86 per cent year-over-year renewal rate.
According to Aurojyoti Bose, principal analyst at GlobalData, Byju’s appears to be following an inorganic development strategy, keeping an eye on potential merger and acquisition candidates, which it sees as a strategic match for its company expansion goals. Its acquisition strategy appears to revolve around staying competitive, foraying into adjacent industries, developing better learning products, and expanding the firm. Certainly, Byju’s has been exploring ways to expand both in India and beyond.
In order to enter the US market, Byju’s purchased Osmo in 2019.
At the time, Osmo’s revenue was around $25 million. It’s currently worth roughly $110 million, having increased four times in two years.
White Hat Jr.
In August of 2020, Byju’s paid $300 million for the online coding business WhiteHat Jr. WhiteHat Jr’s income increased thrice in the year after the acquisition.
Aakash Educational Services
Aakash Educational Services was purchased by Byju’s for $1 billion at the start of 2021. Aakash Education CEO Abhishek Maheshwari mentioned that following the merger, AESL was transitioning into a hybrid edtech company. Byju’s cooperation with Aakash will also enable it to grow its customer base to tier 2 and 3 cities where Aakash has a physical presence.
With the $600 million acquisition of Singapore-based Great Learning in July, Byju’s expanded beyond school children and test prep into the professional and higher education divisions.
The purchases have served as stepping stones to increasing tech innovation as well as diversifying segments to help the students better learn and upskill.
Byju’s instructor and user base will be bolstered by the $500 million acquisition of Epic, the California-based digital reading platform, in July. Epic has access to more than 5 lakh children and 20 lakh teachers throughout the world.
The business did not reply or comment, but the chief strategy officer of Byju’s, Anita Kishore, said that not even a single company considered selling the company. The majority of the founders wanted to keep going. These purchases are more like collaborations or integrations with Byju’s.
Byju’s has regularly permitted the founders of purchased enterprises to continue running them independently, in keeping with this objective.
The founders of Great Learning, Arjun Nair, Hari Nair, and Mohan Lakhamraju have been retained, as have Epic co-founder Kevin Donahue and CEO Suren Markosian. After the acquisition, Trupti Mukker, who formerly supervised WhiteHat Jr’s customer experience, took Bajaj’s place and WhiteHat Jr was led by Karan Bajaj, the CEO and Founder, until he stepped down in early August.
The objective seems to delegate authority to the specialists.
Of course, the payout from these buyouts has yet to materialise. It’s too early to know how Byju’s inorganic expansion plan will work out. But there will undoubtedly be additional acquisitions. Byju’s is “just scraping the surface.”
The Larger Acquisition Space
According to data analytics and consulting firm GlobalData, Byju’s merger and acquisition strategies were more focused on making several smaller purchases in the past, but there looks to be a shift in focus in 2021, as it has already made some major investments this year.
“It has become vital for Byju’s to pursue an inorganic expansion strategy to stay competitive as its contemporaries such as Unacademy and Vedantu are also exploring mergers and acquisitions competing for a larger chunk of the market,” said GlobalData’s Bose. This year, Vedantu bought Pedagogy, a personalised learning platform, and InstaSolv, a doubt-solving tool. Unacademy has acquired nine startups so far, largely in the ed-tech industry.
The Smart Investments
Byju’s advantage is that it has a good safety net that allows it to continue taking significant risks. Qatar Investment Authority, Tencent, Tiger Global, BlackRock, Silver Lake, Sequoia Capital India, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, and others are among the firm’s investors.
“Byju’s is presenting itself as the leading business in the education area, with access to capital from multiple houses, including sovereign funds,” said Anand S, vice president of Frost & Sullivan TechVision category. “Their policy of not allowing any competition to hinder their expansion is aggressive.”
With Byju’s widening its horizon after acquiring companies, stay tuned with Seekho and stay updated.