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Indian edtech startup Byju’s raises $540 million to expand globally

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Indian education startup Byju’s has raised $540 million in a funding round led by South Africa’s Naspers Ventures and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The funding round announced today roughly doubles the 10-year-old startup’s valuation to $3.6 billion, making it one of the biggest education startups in the world. The new valuation also helps Byju’s join the ranks of India’s most valuable startups, along with Paytm, Ola, and Oyo.

Byju’s, which also counts Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and Tencent among its backers, said in a statement that it will be using the new capital to pursue “aggressive” plans to expand its service outside of India.

In a statement, Russell Dreisenstock, who heads international investments at Naspers Ventures, said his firm invested in the company because it believes the success of Byju’s in India “will translate across borders in any country where students are looking for an innovative and engaging form of education beyond the classroom.”

Byju Raveendran, founder of the eponymous startup, said the company’s focus remains to achieve “long-term sustainable growth.” In a statement in June of this year, the company said it had turned profitable, though it did not offer specifics.

“The edtech industry is undergoing massive shifts; students today want to learn through engaging and interactive methods. We are pioneering ‘better learning for tomorrow’ with technology as an enabler, and have been working toward making students active learners. It is only through active learning that we can prepare our youth for the jobs of tomorrow,” he added.

On the sidelines of the announcement, Byju’s said its personalized K12 learning app, which offers study material for students in elementary school and high school and those preparing for engineering and other graduate-level exams, is now being used by 30 million registered users, 2 million of whom are paid customers. These students spend more than an hour on the app each day, Byju’s said.

On the app, tutors use real-world examples and objects to explain various topics to students. The company said today that its app has been growing at a rate of 100 percent annually since it was launched three years ago. It aims to triple its revenue to $195 million this year.

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