US private equity giant Silver Lake, which focusses on the technology sector, has led a fresh investment round of $500 million in Indian edtech major Byju’s at a valuation of $10.8 billion, according to a person in the know of the matter. The Bengaluru-based company announced the new investment led by Silver Lake on Tuesday, adding that existing investors Tiger Global, General Atlantic and Owl Ventures also participated in the round, without disclosing the terms of the deal.

ET could not ascertain if the investment led by Silver Lake includes a secondary sale of shares by existing investors.

Silver Lake’s investment in Byju’s comes just days after tech billionaire Yuri Milner’s investment fund DST Global ploughed $122 million into the edtech firm, which was part of an ongoing round that also saw participation from Silicon Valley investor Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital. The Menlo Park-headquartered PE major was the first financial investor to pick up a stake in Jio Platforms after technology giant Facebook Inc bought 9.99% stake in the Indian firm earlier this year. According to disclosures, Silver Lake owns a 2.08% stake in Jio Platforms for which it paid Rs 10,202.55 crore.

The seeming funding frenzy to back Byju’s comes in the backdrop to the firm’s strong performance during the Covid-19 pandemic. The company claims it has seen strong growth during this time, with 64 million registered users and 4.2 million annual paid subscribers.

“We are fortunate to be in a sector of positive relevance during this crisis. This has brought online learning to the forefront and is helping parents, teachers and students experience and understand its value,” said Byju Raveendaran, founder and CEO of Byju’s.

Byju’s isn’t the only Indian edtech firm to benefit from the high growth seen during the pandemic. Rival Unacademy recently announced a $150 million investment round led by Softbank Vision Fund at a valuation of $1.45 billion.

Executive education firm Eruditus too recently raised $113 million in funding led by Leeds Illuminate and South African internet giant Prosus Ventures, along with participation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan’s philanthropic fund Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).

CZI is also an investor in Byju’s, while Facebook is an investor in Unacademy.

“We look forward to working with them as BYJU’S builds on and accelerates its compelling growth trajectory by forging new partnerships and continuing to cultivate a comprehensive ecosystem of innovative educational offerings,” said Greg Mondre, co-CEO at Silver Lake.

Source: Economic Times

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