byju’s: Byju parent makes $300 million cash offer for WhiteHat Jr

Powerful, yet simple to use

NEW DELHI: Think and Learn, which owns and operates educational technology platform Byju’s, has made a $300 million all-cash offer to acquire smaller peer WhiteHat Jr, one week after the Bengaluru-headquartered unicorn closed a new funding round from Bond Capital, the investment firm led by storied Silicon Valley investor Mary Meeker.

The development comes at a time when WhiteHat Jr is already in the market to raise $50 million in fresh financing at a valuation of $350 million, and has held discussions with a number of notable venture capital and private equity firms, including Sequoia Capital, GIC – the sovereign wealth fund of the government of Singapore, Renuka Ramnath-led Multiples Alternate Asset Management, Tiger Global Management and Steadview Capital, among others.

WhiteHat Jr, founded in 2018 by Karan Bajaj, the former chief executive of Discovery Networks India, operates in the K-12 segment, teaching students to code, and helping them build commercial-ready games, animations and apps using the fundamentals of coding.

The startup has developed a proprietary coding curriculum, focused on product creation, and imparts lessons through live, interactive online classes. “WhiteHat Jr continues to be in talks with multiple investors. Byju’s is a later entrant to the table,” a source aware of the developments told ET on the condition of anonymity.

The Mumbai-based company’s efforts to raise capital was first reported by ET on May 21. Byju’s did not respond to an emailed query till the time of going to press on Friday, while messages sent to a WhiteHat Jr spokesperson did not elicit any replies.


Separately, Byju’s is reportedly in advanced negotiations to acquire Doubtnut, a two-year-old learning app, for as much as $150 million, in what is also expected to be an all-cash transaction.

The company, which is valued at about $10.5 billion, has been on a capital raising spree over the course of the current calendar year, with a significant portion of the proceeds expected to be utilised to fund acquisitions, across markets, as it ramps up its bouquet of products, and enters new geographies.

While Bond Capital is believed to have put in less than $100 million in Byju’s, the Bengaluru-led company, which also counts Tiger Global, General Atlantic, Naspers, Verlinvest, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners among its list of investors, has already raised $400-$450 million in the first six months of this year.

WhiteHat Jr, which last raised capital in late 2019 from Silicon Valley-based investor Owl Ventures, Omidyar Network and Nexus Venture Partners, has till date raised a shade over $11 million across its seed and Series A rounds.

Incidentally, both companies count San Francisco and Sand Hill Road-based Owl Ventures, an education-focused investment firm, as a common investor.

India’s education tech sector is seeing huge investor interest due to the pandemic

Source link