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Byju’s acquires online test prep startup Gradeup, marking its 8th acquisition in 2021

Byju’s, India’s most valuable startup has announced the acquisition of Gradeup, an online exam preparation platform, reflecting the company’s eighth acquisition since January. Byju’s seeks to deepen its position in the online competitive exam preparation category as a result of this acquisition, as well as leveraging Gradeup’s pedagogy and student engagement.

Top view desk arrangement with Byju's Tablet

Illustration: TechStory × Freepik

Gradeup will be branded as Byju’s Exam Prep and will assist students in preparations for more than 150 entrance examinations spanning 25 different exam categories, including government jobs and postgraduate entrance exams including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Common Admission Test (CAT), Graduate Aptitude Test (GATE), Bank PO/Clerk, Defence, and UGC-NET.

The IPO-bound ed-tech startup, which is reportedly valued at $16.5 billion, did not disclose any financial details of the acquisition, but it did mention that the Gradeup founders will continue to handle the vertical in new roles for the company. Byju’s, which recently has absorbed 16+ companies, was in talks to acquire both Gradeup and Great Learning for $400 million in April 2021. But in July Byju’s bought Gurugram-based upskilling platform Great Learning for $600 million.

Gradeup, founded in 2015 by Shobhit Bhatnagar, Sanjeev Kumar, and Vibhu Bhushan, provides test prep courses across multiple domains, including banking and Staff Selection Commission (SSC) prep being the most popular. The company claimed to have over 250K monthly subscribers and more than 20 million registered students.

Byju Raveendran, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Byju’s, commented on the acquisition, “Gradeup has already proved its mettle and we are excited to join forces with the seasoned team. We aim to bring our complementary strengths and expertise together to create engaging and personalized learning experiences.”

Whereas Shobhit Bhatnagar, Co-founder, and CEO of Gradeup stated, that the company has created a highly tailored platform for students preparing for competitive exams by integrating live lessons, assessments, and high-quality learning resources. Adding further he said, “We will leverage their strengths in content to deepen our current product offering and broaden our coverage of exams.”

Byju’s has focussed on major acquisitions to capture a foothold in India’s ed-tech industry. In August 2020, it acquired WhiteHat Jr, a coding platform for kids for $300 million. This year, the firm paid $1 billion for Aakash Educational Services, a test prep company with over 200 physical exam preparation coaching centers.

Byju’s founded by Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath in 2011 is backed by high-profile investors including Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Owl Ventures, Qatar Investment Authority, and International Finance Corporation. According to media reports, it is looking to raise another $1 billion from more investors before going public.

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