Byju’s founder Byju Raveendran
Byju’s is planning to go public before April 2023, co-founder Byju Raveendran said. The ed-tech startup on April 5 acquired Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) to bolster its presence in the test preparation segment in the country.
The deal is worth close to $1 billion (about Rs 7,300 crore) – making it the biggest acquisition by Byju’s to date.
In an interview with Mint, Raveendran said that the acquisition had been made to solidify its blended hybrid model of online and offline learning.
Read: Byju’s acquires Aakash Educational Services
“We could have created a hybrid model (for test preparation) ourselves, but that would have taken us 2-3 years to build and a total of five years to show results. Hence, with Aakash, we saw a real synergy coming together of conceptual learning,” the startup founder said.
Elaborating further, he said that it is difficult to replicate the rigour and intensity of competitive exams online.
“You need a group studying environment and some interactions with teachers during preparation, which can only be achieved through offline play. Hence, this acquisition allows the online and offline world to come together in the best possible way,” he added.
On the IPO plans, he said that going public is a clear option for Byju’s considering the company’s growth.
“We are seriously thinking of an 18-24 months timeline to look at a public offering. But it can take a bit longer since we are in no hurry and will look at the right market timing,” he told the publication.
Asked whether more acquisitions are on the cards, Raveendran said that the firm is looking at a couple of them to drive international expansion.
Read | ‘Our and Byju’s values were very similar,’ says Aakash Chaudhry on billion-dollar acquisition
“However, there is always that strategic decision to buy or to build. What is important for us is whether we can provide a synchronous offering of our acquisitions to our customer base,” Raveendran added.
Byju’s, the most valued ed-tech startup in the country, is backed by marquee investors like Mary Meeker, Yuri Milner, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global and others. It is estimated to have raised over USD 2 billion in funding to date.
Launched in 2015, Byju’s has over 80 million students cumulatively learning from the app, 5.5 million annual paid subscriptions, and an annual renewal rate of 86 per cent. During April-September 2020, Byju’s added 45 million new students to its platform.