JSE-listed technology investment firm Naspers said on Monday it has led a US$540-million (about R7.8-billion) investment round in India’s BYJU’s.
BYJU’s creates the most popular K-12 learning app in India. A “significant” portion of the funding round is being contributed by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).
The investment will “drive BYJU’S team to further innovate, explore and set new benchmarks for tech-enabled learning products”, Naspers said in a statement on Monday.
“The company has plans for international market expansion and will make bold investments in technology that will help to further personalise learning for students. The investment in BYJU’S also represents Naspers’s commitment to India across multiple sectors, and the company’s ongoing investment in entrepreneurs that are building leading technology companies in this high-growth market.”
Launched in 2015, BYJU’S Learning App is the leader in offering personalised learning programmes for school students in the 4th to 12th grades in India, Naspers said. The app merges video, interactive lessons and teachers to bring concepts to life. It adapts to the unique learning style of every student, adjusting to the pace and style of their learning, it added.
“More than 30 million students have used the BYJU’S Learning App and it has amassed over two million cumulative annual paid subscriptions, with an average engagement of 64 minutes per student daily.”
BYJU’s founder, Byju Raveendran, said the investment will help the company build the world’s largest education company.
“India has the largest population attending primary school in the world and Indian households are willing to invest a lot in their children’s education because a good education is viewed as the best path to success,” he said. “I believe the importance of quality education among the entire population in India fuelled our ability to create an engaging and high-impact learning app.”
Russell Dreisenstock, head of international investments at Naspers Ventures, will join BYJU’S board of directors. He said BYJU’s success in India will “translate across borders in any country where students are looking for an innovative and engaging form of education beyond the classroom.”
In addition to BYJU, Naspers has built a significant educational technology portfolio that includes Udemy, a global marketplace for learning and instruction, Brainly, a social learning community; Codecademy, an online interactive platform to learn to code; and SoloLearn, a mobile-first community learning platform where students can learn, create and share programming content.
“The education market globally is ripe for technology disruption. Global trends, including increases in population, smartphone usage, middle-class spending and a growing youth population, will require education to be revamped, as traditional educational institutions become unable to service all students and students demand a new way of learning,” Naspers said.
To date, BYJU’S has raised funds from Naspers, CPPIB, General Atlantic, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Sofina, Verlinvest, IFC, Aarin Capital, Times Internet and Lightspeed Venture Partners. — © 2018 NewsCentral Media