Indian tech firm raises $50 mn from Zuckerberg arm, partners

BYJU pulls in $50 mln

BYJUs, India ed-tech startup has, in a new round of funding raised Dollars 50 Million.

Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, is leading the $50 million investment along with other venture capital firms.

The immediate focus for Byju’s is to expand its user base in India, even as it starts building out product for global expansion which will take 18 months.

This is the first Asian investment for Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a personal fund set up by Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

BYJU’S, creator of India’s largest K-12 learning app, is reinventing how students learn in the age of mobile devices. “Byju’s represents an opportunity to help even more students develop a love for learning and unlock their potential”, said Vivian Wu of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in a statement.

The investment by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative – a company whose aim is to “advance human potential and promote equality” – values Byju’s, which is registered as Think Learn Private Limited, at about $470 million, or Rs 3,200 crore, according to two people familiar with the development.

The app makes use of original content, watch-and-learn videos, rich animations and interactive simulations that make learning contextual and visual. It has been created to adapt to the unique learning style and pace of every student.

“Lightspeed has invested in education technology companies in the US, China and India”, said Dev Khare, Managing Director, Lightspeed India Partners Advisors.

Meanwhile, the company said its app has been downloaded more than 5.5 million times and reached 250,000 annual subscribers across India. The company mentions that it has an average engagement rate of 40 minutes per day per user, with over 90% of users renewing their subscriptions.

Strong growth at the startup founded five years ago by Raveendran, who hails from Azhikode, a small village in northern Kerala, has offered rich dividends to its early investor Aarin Capital, which part-exited with high returns earlier this year. “Once children fall in love with learning, they will start learning on their own”.

Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of the startup, said the funding will help the company move forward on its next stage of growth.

Note that the company had previously raised $75 million from Sequoia Capital and Sofina in March this year.

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