Byju's acquires coding platform Tynker for $200 million in US expansion push

·3 min read

Byju’s said on Thursday it has acquired California-headquartered Tynker, a leading coding platform for K-12 students, the latest in a series of major purchases as the Indian edtech giant attempts to aggressively expand to international markets.

The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, but a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that the Indian firm is spending about $200 million on the acquisition.

Tynker, which counts BBC Learning, Google, Microsoft, Mattel and NASA among its partners, operates an eponymous coding platform. It has amassed over 60 million kids on its platform, Tynker founders told TechCrunch in an interview.

The eight-year-old startup gamifies the learning experience -- using robots and drones, for instance, to help kids visualise complex concepts -- to make it more exciting for them to participate. The startup has partnerships -- and presence in -- over 100,000 schools across 150 nations, said co-founder Srinivas Mandyam.

Mandyam, as well as Tynker's other co-founders -- Krishna Vedati and Kelvin Chong -- will continue with the firm after the acquisition, they said. Vedati said in an interview that the startups began exploring ways to collaborate earlier this year.

“At Tynker, we believe that kids of all ages should develop the critical thinking skills needed to become the ‘makers of tomorrow’,” said Vedati, who serves as the startup's chief executive.

“Our focus is on understanding what kids are passionate about – whether that’s building games, making animations or modding Minecraft -- and we then create specific experiences, apps and personalized learning paths to empower them to create with code. We wholeheartedly believe that joining the BYJU’S family can help children on a global level develop the fundamental STEM skills that will serve them well as they progress in school and ultimately help prepare them for careers in both technical and non-technical fields.”

Byju Raveendran, founder and chief executive of Byju's, told TechCrunch in an interview that Tynker's asynchronous offering fits perfectly in Byju's current portfolio. India's most valuable startup acquired WhiteHat Jr., a coding platform that offers synchronous classes, last year in a $300 million deal. "Tynker's offering is complementary to WhiteHat Jr.'s," he said.

Tynker is the latest firm to be acquired by Byju's, which has amassed over 100 million registered users -- about 6.5 million of whom are paid customers -- across the globe. The Bangalore-headquartered startup has this year also acquired Scholr, Aakash Institute, Hashlearn, Epic and Great Learning for over $2 billion in cash and equity deals. Just last week it revealed that it had also purchased Times Internet-backed Gradeup for an undisclosed amount.

Raveendran said that Byju's is continuing to explore more merger and acquisition opportunities. These acquisitions are helping Byju's aggressively broaden its offerings and tap international markets in more meaningful ways, he said.

On the other side of the business, the Indian edtech giant -- which has raised over $1.5 billion since the pandemic broke last year -- is also beginning to explore an initial public offering. The startup has begun conversations with bankers, some of whom have given the firm a proposed valuation of up to $50 billion, TechCrunch reported first last month.

Raveendran confirmed that the "IPO is on the cards," but said it's too early to comment on a precise timeline.

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