Byju’s snaps up 2 more companies

Byju’s shopping spree continues. The Bengaluru-based digital learning firm has done two more big acquisitions. It has bought Singapore-based Great Learning, which specialises in online higher and professional education, for $600 million. And it has bought Toppr, which offers online content for schools and competitive exams, for $150 million.

The company has done some 15 acquisitions to date, spending nearly $3 billion. Last week, it acquired US digital reading platform Epic, focused on kids aged 12 and under, for $500 million.

Byju’s is building itself into a digital and online learning powerhouse — focused on everything from K12 to competitive test preparation and professional education. The idea is to create a continuum for lifelong learners. Byju’s said it has earmarked a further $400 million towards accelerating Great Learning’s growth.

Great Learning was founded by Mohan Lakhamraju, former Tiger Global India head, and Hari Krishnan Nair & Arjun Nair. It offers industry-relevant programmes in software engineering, business management, business analytics, data science, machine learning, AI, cybersecurity, digital marketing, and design thinking. Great Learning’s programmes are developed in collaboration with academic institutions like Stanford University, MIT, The University of Texas at Austin, National University Singapore, and several IITs.

Lakhamraju said that Great Learning crossed a revenue run rate of $100 million in the 2020-21 financial year, a 150% growth from the previous fiscal.

“We have 1.6 million learners, and 2,800 mentors on the platform from 170 countries. We have a completion rate of 91%, compared to others who have 70%. About 66% of learners are able to achieve career transitions in 12 months,” he said.

Lakhamraju said that their prices are in the range of Rs 50,000 to Rs 7 lakh, depending on the duration and the nature of the programme. “Those enrolled for our programmes have seen their salary jump by Rs 2 lakh. They recover the fee in 1-2 years,” he said. Great Learning will continue to operate as an independent unit under the larger Byju’s brand.

Byju’s co-founder Byju Raveendran said continuous upskilling and reskilling is essential to stay relevant, and Great Learning would enable Byju’s to offer these options to its learners. “Professional upskilling and higher education will get accelerated in the coming times, and they will be geared towards online,” he said.

Byju’s has been a darling of private investors. It has raised some $2.7 billion from investors to date, much of that in the past year.

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