Indian education startup Byju's is fundraising at a $10B valuation

In this photo taken on January 10, 2019, employees of education technology start-up Byju's work on content development for the app at their office in Bangalore. - From a multi-billion-dollar education startup to wired-up mannequins, technology is helping to revolutionise the way Indian schoolchildren are learning -- provided their parents can afford it. (Photo by MANJUNATH KIRAN / AFP) / To go with 'INDIA-ECONOMY-EDUCATION-TECHNOLOGY-AMAZON-BYJU',FOCUS by Vishal MANVE (Photo credit should read MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images)
In this photo taken on January 10, 2019, employees of education technology start-up Byju's work on content development for the app at their office in Bangalore. - From a multi-billion-dollar education startup to wired-up mannequins, technology is helping to revolutionise the way Indian schoolchildren are learning -- provided their parents can afford it. (Photo by MANJUNATH KIRAN / AFP) / To go with 'INDIA-ECONOMY-EDUCATION-TECHNOLOGY-AMAZON-BYJU',FOCUS by Vishal MANVE (Photo credit should read MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Manish Singh

Byju’s, an education learning startup in India that has seen a surge in its popularity in recent weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak, is in talks to raise as much as $400 million in fresh capital at a $10 billion valuation, said three people familiar with the matter.

The additional capital would be part of the Bangalore-based startup’s ongoing financing round that has already seen Tiger Global and General Atlantic invest between $300 million to $350 million into the nine-year-old startup.

That investment by the two firms, though, was at an $8 billion valuation, said people familiar with the matter. Byju’s was valued at $5.75 billion in July last year, when it raised $150 million from Qatar Investment Authority and Owl Ventures.

If the deal goes through at this new term, Byju's would become the second most valuable startup in India, joining budget lodging startup Oyo, which is also valued at $10 billion, and following financial services firm Paytm that raised $1 billion at $16 billion valuation late last year.

The talks haven't finalized yet and terms could change, said one of the aforementioned people. This person, along with the other two, requested anonymity as the matter is private.

Spokespeople of Byju’s and Prosus Ventures, the largest external investor in the startup, declined to comment. A spokesperson for Tiger Global did not respond to a request for comment.

Byju’s, which has raised more than $1.3 billion to date, has seen a sharp surge in both its free users and paying customers in recent weeks as it looks to court students who are stuck at home because of the nationwide lockdown New Delhi ordered in late March.

The startup told TechCrunch last month that traffic on its app and website was up 150% in March and it added six million students to the platform during the month.

Other edtech startups, including Unacademy, which was recently backed by Facebook, and early-stage startups such as Sequoia Capital India-backed Classplus, and Chennai-based SKILL-LYNC, have also seen growth in recent weeks, they told TechCrunch last month.

Through its app, tutors on Byju’s help all school-going children understand complex subjects using real-life objects such as pizza and cake. The app also prepares students who are pursuing undergraduate and graduate-level courses.

Over the years, Byju’s has invested in tweaking the English accents in its app and adapted to different education systems. It had amassed more than 35 million registered users, about 2.4 million of which are paid customers as of late last year.