Indian edtech startup Byju’s has bought California-based reading platform Epic in a cash and stock deal worth USD 500 million to drive its global expansion plans.
This comes two months after the USD 16.5-billion edtech giant announced the global launch of its live online learning platform targeting countries like the USA, UK, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico to begin with.
The acquisition will help Byju’s to enhance its presence in the US market as Epic provides access to its two million teachers and 50 million user base, the company said in a press release. Furthermore, the company added it will invest a further USD 1 billion to accelerate its growth plans in the US market.
Epic is a seven-year-old digital reading platform for children aged 12 and under, which offers a collection of more than 40,000 books from hundreds of notable publishers. To date, the company has raised a total of USD 60 million from Creative Artists Agency, Evolution Media, and Reach Capital. Its co-founders Suren Markosian and Kevin Donahue will keep their current roles after the merger.
“Our partnership with Epic will enable us to create engaging and interactive reading and learning experiences for children globally,” Byju Raveendran, Byju’s founder and CEO, said in a press statement. “Our mission is to fuel curiosity and make students fall in love with learning. Knowing that Epic and its products are rooted in the same mission was a natural fit. Together, we have the opportunity to create impactful experiences for children to become life-long learners.”
This fits into Byju’s grand scheme of things, which had been dreaming of going global since 2016. To that effect, it had acquired TutorVista, an online tutoring startup catering to the US market, in 2017, and Osmo, which offers educational games to American elementary students. With Epic in its kitty, Byju’s is now looking to make a revenue of USD 300 million from the US market over the next year, Anitha Kishore, chief strategy officer at Byju’s, told local media YourStory in an interview.
This is the second-biggest acquisition for Byju’s, which had acquired brick-and-mortar coaching chain Aakash for a whopping USD 1 billion earlier in January. Since last year, the edtech major has been on an acquisition spree when it scooped up coding tutoring startup WhiteHat Jr and LabInApp, an app that offers lab-like simulations for science students.
Earlier this year, Byju’s bought out Scholr, an AI-based learning assistant for students, and an online coaching platform for competitive exams, HashLearn, aside from Aakash.
Founded in 2011, Byju’s caters to the K-12 learning and competitive exam prep segments and claims to have 80 million registered users. Since then, it has emerged as the world’s most valuable edtech startup. It has acquired a dozen startups since 2015, which is when it first rolled out its learning app targeting school students.
Reportedly, it has completed two more acquisitions—its rival, Toppr, and another exam prep platform, GradeUp. However, the company hasn’t made any formal announcements yet. Having raised over USD 850 million this year, on top of the USD 1 billion-plus funding it received from investors in 2020, the company is likely to continue its acquisition spree.