India’s Byju’s acquires WhiteHat Jr. for $300 million

Byju’s has acquired edtech startup WhiteHat Jr. for $300 million as the Indian online learning giant looks to expand its dominant reach in the country.

The all-cash deal makes 18-month-old Mumbai-headquartered WhiteHat Jr., which offers online coding classes to school-going students, the fastest exit story of this size in Indian startup ecosystem.

WhiteHat Jr., which had raised about $11 million from Omidyar Network and Nexus Venture Partners, has achieved a revenue run rate of $150 million. It will continue to operate as a separate entity for now, a Byju’s spokesperson told TechCrunch.

“We started WhiteHat Jr. to make kids creators instead of consumers of technology,” said Karan Bajaj, founder of WhiteHat Jr., in a statement. “Technology is at the centre of every human interaction today and we had set out to create a coding curriculum that was being delivered live and connected students and teachers like never before.”

Byju Raveendran, the founder and chief executive of the eponymous startup, said Byju’s will make “significant investments” in WhiteHat Jr. and hire more reachers to expand it to new markets. WhiteHat Jr. recently announced plans to expand to Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

Unlike most edtech startups, WhiteHat Jr. assigns one teacher to each student. These classes are live, and each cost about $10, Bajaj told TechCrunch in an interview last month.

“WhiteHat Jr is the leader in the live online coding space. Karan has proven his mettle as an exceptional founder and the credit goes to him and his team for creating coding programs that are loved by kids. Under his leadership the company has achieved phenomenal growth in India and the US in a short span of time.” said Raveendran in a statement.

The announcement today illustrates the growing phase of education startups in India as they report skyrocketing growth at the height of a global pandemic. “Delightful to see such an exit in the Indian startup ecosystem. Happy to see WhiteHat Jr. find home at the world’s most-valued edtech startup that will enable them to reach more students globally,” said Sajith Pai, Director at Blume Ventures.

The acquisition of WhiteHat Jr., which according to a person familiar with the matter had also received interest from several investors for financing its next fundraise, comes as top online learning startups in India are aggressively engaging in M&A talks with several younger startups to further their dominance in the nation.

Facebook-backed Unacademy last month acquired PrepLadder for $50 million and days later led an investment round of $5 million to acquire a majority stake in Mastree. Other major players Vedantu and Toppr told TechCrunch last month that they were also open to explore similar deals.

More to follow…

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