Byju’s is getting more serious about its global ambition. The ed-tech startup from India, which counts The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative among its investors, announced today that it is acquiring Osmo, a Palo Alto, California startup famous for its kid-focused augmented reality games for iPhones and iPads.
The purchase will enable Byju’s to tap Osmo’s younger demographics of children aged between three and eight. Osmo, which was founded in 2013 by former Google employees Pramod Sharma and Jerome Scholle, exclusively told VentureBeat last year that its games had reached a million iPads. These games tie with customized physical objects in real life and are used in about 20,000 schools (most in the U.S.). Osmo will continue to operate as a standalone brand when the acquisition completes, Byju’s said.
Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of Byju’s, said the acquisition will enable the two companies to “build out an unprecedented library of engaging and entertaining educational content for a global pre-K-12 student audience.” What will that catalog look like? Raveendran says the companies should be able to reveal that in the coming months.
Today’s deal comes a month after Byju’s raised $540 million in a funding round led by South Africa’s Naspers Ventures and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. At the time, Raveendran said the eponymous startup plans to launch the education service in the U.S., U.K., and other international markets.
In a statement, Osmo’s Sharma said, “We started Osmo for parents looking for a way to combine physical, hands-on play with the power of digital platforms to foster a love of learning.” As of April last year, Osmo had raised north of $38 million in funding. Two of the company’s most popular apps are Coding Awbie, which teaches kids how to code, and Pizza Company, an app that teaches kids math and finance skills.
Byju’s, which raised its last round at a valuation of $3.6 billion, offers a popular K12 learning app that contains study material for students in elementary school and high school and those preparing for engineering and other graduate-level exams. The app has 30 million registered users, 2 million of whom are paid customers. Students spend more than an hour on the app each day.