Indian edtech giant BYJU’S has acquired Mumbai-based online coding startup WhiteHat Jr in a $300 million all-cash transaction, what is India's largest edtech M&A transaction.
While this is BYJU’S fifth and also its largest acquisition to date, the deal makes 18-month-old WhiteHat Jr the fastest exit story at this size in the Indian startup ecosystem.
Founded in 2018 by Karan Bajaj, the former chief executive of Discovery Networks India, WhiteHat Jr offers coding courses to young students who don’t usually get the training in the formal education system. It teaches the principles of coding – sequence, structure, logic, commands and algorithmic thinking – and helps young kids build commercial-ready games, animations and apps. WhiteHat Jr offers four levels of courses including beginner, intermediate, advanced, and professional. The startup has developed a proprietary coding curriculum, focused on product creation, and imparts lessons through live, interactive online classes.
Speaking about the company and the acquisition, Karan Bajaj, Founder of WhiteHat Jr, said in a statement,
“We started WhiteHat Jr to make kids creators instead of consumers of technology. 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. Integration with a visionary company such as BYJU’S will help take this idea to new heights and help unleash the remarkable creative potential of kids at a global scale.”
WhiteHat Jr, which had raised about $11 million from Omidyar Network, Owl Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners, claims to have achieved an annual revenue run rate of $150 million.
Commenting on the latest development, Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO, BYJU’S, said in a statement,
“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.”
According to a company statement, BYJU’S will make significant investments in WhiteHat Jr’s technology platform, product innovation and hire more teachers to expand it to new markets. WhiteHat Jr had recently announced their plans to expand to other global markets like Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. It is said that WhiteHat Jr will continue to operate as a separate entity and Bajaj will continue to lead and scale the business in India and the US.
Meanwhile, with coding fast emerging as a key skill for the future, the acquisition will now allow BYJU’S to launch coding to children and further expands its course offerings in India targeted at school students.
The acquisition comes even as BYJU’S is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire Doubtnut, a Gurugram-based interactive online tutoring app, for as much as $150 million. BYJU’S had last acquired Osmo, a US-based learning platform, for $120 million in January 2019. Before that, the Bengaluru-based unicorn had acquired Math Adventures, TutorVista and Vidyarth.
BYJU’S, which is said to be currently valued at $10.5 billion, has also been on a fundraising spree over the course of the current calendar year. This year alone, the company has raised fresh funding from global investment firm BOND in June, $200 million from General Atlantic in February, and another $200 million from Tiger Global in January.