Byju's confirms investment from Qatar Investment Authority, raises $150 mn

BYJU's founder and Chief Executive Officer Byju Raveendran
Online tutoring start-up Byju's on Wednesday said it had raised $150 million from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar. QIA is an investor in Airtel and real estate developer RMZ Corp, and has a small stake in Flipkart.

Business Standard was the first to report the deal on June 17. The transection values Byju's at $5.7 billion, according to sources.

In a statement, the company said the round was joined by Owl Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund focussed on online education companies. This is Owl Ventures's first investment in India.

"We are happy to have strong partners like QIA and Owl Ventures on board with us," Byju's founder and chief executive officer Byju Raveendran said in a statement.

He added that investments by major sovereign and pension funds validates the business model of the company and their interest in Indian ed-tech firms demonstrates that India is leading the charge in the digital learning space. 

The QIA deal follows Byju's raising money from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), which was also the first direct investment by the Canadian pension fund in an Indian start-up. In March, Byju's had raised $540 million at a valuation on $5.4 billion, making it the most-valued ed-tech company in the world.

The latest investment "will support and strengthen our vision of creating and delivering personalised learning experiences to students. This will help us explore and leverage our expertise in creating immersive tech-enabled learning programs for students in smaller cities, regions and newer markets".

Byju's, which clocked sales of Rs 1,430 crore and churned out a meagre profit in FY19, is working on expansion in the US. The company is currently setting up the infrastructure and developing new products aimed at US audience. 

In January, Byju's announced the acquisition of Palo Alto-headquartered Osmo for $120 million. Osmo, which offers an interactive learning platform, may be integrated into Byju’s planned US offering while its offices will be used as the local outposts.  

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