BYJU’s Acquires US-Based Digital Reading Platform For Kids ‘Epic’ For $500M, Another Step Towards Building The World’s Largest Learning Brand.
India’s largest Ed-tech firm BYJU’s has acquired leading US-based kids digital reading platform Epic in a $500 million cash and stock deal. This second-biggest acquisition by BYJU’s is aimed to support its larger strategy bridging the learning gap among kids in the U.S.
Epic operates an eponymous digital reading platform for kids aged 12 or younger. The platform, which has a presence across 90% of elementary schools in the US, has amassed over 2 million teachers and 50 million kids (up from 20 million last year). The company runs on a subscription model that gives classrooms and families unlimited access to thousands of books, videos and quizzes.
Established in 2013 by entrepreneurs Suren Markosian and Kevin Donahue, the California based reading platform collects and analyzes real-time anonymized and aggregated data on how many children read a book, how deeply they engage with it and where their interest starts to wane. The company got Evolution Media as early backers at the starting of 2019.
Speaking on the latest move, Founder and CEO of BYJU’s, Byju Raveendran has said,
“Our partnership with Epic will enable us to create engaging and interactive reading and learning experiences for children globally.” He further mentioned, “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.”
CEO, Founder of Epic, Suren Markosian also commented on the latest development,
“We created Epic to make quality books more accessible to kids everywhere, and to build a safe place for them to discover the joy and magic of reading in their own way. 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.”
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. We welcome Epic’s talented leadership team and employees to the BYJU’S family as we endeavor to help students fall in love with learning across the world.”
The development comes on the heels of BYJU’s recent announcement with Disney in the US last month.
BYJU’s has over 100 million registered students globally and 6 million+ annual paid subscriptions. With an average time of 71 minutes being spent by a student on the app every day from 1700+ cities, the app is creating a whole new way of learning through visual lessons, live learning & personalization.
BYJU’s, started in 2015 by Byju Raveendran, aims to accelerate learning for students in K-12 and over the last decade the company has grown to build a community of more than 100 million global students who are willing to learn.
BYJU’s current plans are to invest $1B in North America to accelerate its vision of helping students fall in love with learning.
Earlier this year, Byju’s rebranded its international business as BYJU’s Future School, as part of which it is offering coding and math in synchronous and asynchronous formats to students and plans to add music, English, fine arts and science to the catalogue. Raveendran said he hasn’t decided whether Epic will be rebranded, acknowledging that the California-headquartered startup has strong brand awareness in the US.
The edtech leader has been backed by strong and prominent investors like Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Naspers, CPPIB, General Atlantic, Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Sofina, Verlinvest, IFC, Aarin Capital, TimesInternet, Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Owl Ventures & Qatar Investment Authority.
The last round of $340 million by UBS Group, Zoom founder Eric Yuan, Blackstone, Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ and Phoenix Rising–Beacon Holdings, which was part of its $1.5B current raise made the company India’s most valued startup ($16.5B) then.
BYJU’s has been an early mover in their inorganic growth opportunities and has started to see returns from the acquisitions it has made to date. BYJU’S acquired Osmo 2 years ago, and the integration has seen Osmo scale 4 times since. Also, with its acquisition of White Hat Jr and launch of BYJU’S Future School, an online one-on-one live learning platform for Math and Coding released last month it has empowered 11,000 women teachers to help students learn these subjects in an engaging and interactive way.
Aakash Educational Services Limited, Scholr, LabInApp, Toppr are few other acquisitions by BYJU’s, It has yet to announce the closure of the Toppr deal and is in talks to acquire two other edtech companies – Gradeup and Great Learning.