Edtech unicorn Byju’s is in advanced talks to acquire smaller rival Toppr for R150-160 million, two people familiar with the development said, as consolidation continues in India’s booming online learning sector. Both Byju’s and Toppr operate in the K-12 (Kindergarten to Class 12) learning space.
Edtech firms Byju’s and Unacademy gained significantly last year as schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and students took to online classes.
After raising multiple rounds of funding last year, both edtech companies have been on an acquisition spree, and continue to scout for strategic buyouts.
Byju’s, which raised more than $1.25 billion in 2020 and is currently valued at $12 billion, acquired WhiteHat Jr, an online coding school for young children, for $300 million last August. “Business momentum for Byju’s has not slowed down even beyond the pandemic. With the Toppr acquisition, Byju’s will strengthen its focus in the K-12 space. Toppr will bring tremendous value to the table for Byju’s. At this stage, Byju’s is eyeing both international expansion and strategic inorganic growth,” said one of the two people cited above, asking not to be named.
Byju’s is also closing another transaction to buy offline test preparation firm Aakash Educational Services for $1 billion.
Byju’s declined to comment, and Toppr didn’t respond to queries. Edtech companies raised $2.1 billion in 2020, the highest of all sectors, against $426 million in 2019, according to data by Venture Intelligence. Mumbai-based Toppr also raised ₹350 crore last year from Foundation Holdings.
Unacademy, which turned unicorn last year and is valued at around $2 billion, acquired multiple startups in recent months, primarily in the test prep space, including NeoStencil, Mastree, PrepLadder, Kreatryx, CodeChef and Coursavy.
Unacademy founder and chief executive Gaurav Munjal said in a January interview that there are 2-3 more acquisitions in the pipeline. Munjal also said for an acquisition, “We are looking for a team or a particularly unique selling proposition that they have, but we don’t.”
India’s edtech sector is poised to reach $12 billion by 2025 on the back of continued investor interest, rising urbanization and internet users among other factors, said a February report on India’s e-learning sector by Anand Rathi Investment Banking.
Tarush Bhalla contributed to the story.