Edtech major Byju's has acquired Epic, a California-based online reading platform, for $500 million in a cash-and-stock deal. This is the Bengaluru-based firm's second acquisition in the US after acquiring educational gaming startup Osmo in 2019.
According to LiveMint, Epic offers a digital library mainly to the under-12 category of readers, an age group that Byju's also focuses on. Epic will now be soon be available in India and other English-speaking markets such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The Epic deal was backed by General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Naspers, Silver Lake, Tiger Global and other investors.
Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO, BYJU’S said, “Our partnership with Epic will enable us to create engaging and interactive reading and learning experiences for children globally. Our mission is to fuel curiosity and make students fall in love with learning. Knowing that Epic and its products are rooted in the same mission, it was a natural fit. Together we have the opportunity to create impactful experiences for children to become life-long learners."
Byju's said that the acquisition will help expand its US footprint by providing access to the more than two million teachers and 50 million kids in Epic's existing global user-base, which more than doubled over the last year.
The company said it will invest $1 billion in North America to accelerate its vision of helping students fall in love with learning.
"Our mission is to fuel curiosity and make students fall in love with learning. Knowing that Epic and its products are rooted in the same mission, it was a natural fit. Together we have the opportunity to create impactful experiences for children to become life-long learners," Byju's founder and CEO Byju Raveendran said.
Epic CEO Suren Markosian, and co-founder Kevin Donahue, will remain in their roles and continue carrying out Epic's mission to unlock the potential of every child through reading, the company said.
"The alignment of our missions and shared passion makes Byju's the perfect partner, as we're confident this acquisition will ignite excitement for learning around the world," said Markosian.
Anita Kishore, Chief Strategy Officer of BYJU’S said, “Epic’s model for inspiring the next generation through interactive reading is in lockstep with our mission to help millions of children become life-long learners."
In April 2021, Byju's acquired Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) to bolster its presence in the test preparation segment in the country. The deal was worth close to $1 billion (about Rs 7,300 crore) - making it the biggest acquisition by Byju's.
The edtech company is among India's most valuable unicorns with a valuation of $16.5 billion. As per CB Insights data, as of June 2021, Byju's was the 11th most valuable start-up in the world.
Byju's is backed by marquee investors like Mary Meeker, Yuri Milner, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global and others.
In the past, Byju's hads acquired TutorVista and Edurite (from Pearson in 2017) and Osmo in 2019. Last year, the General Atlantic-backed company had bought coding training platform WhiteHat Jr for $300 million.
Launched in 2015, Byju's has over 100 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.
In January, Tiger Global Management made an investment of around $200 million in Byju's.