Byju’s is reportedly buying Indian brick-and-mortar institute Aakash for $1 billion

We may finally have an answer to why Byju’s, the world’s most valuable edtech startup, spent the last year raising hundreds of millions of dollars.

Bloomberg reports that the Bangalore-based startup has agreed to buy Aakash Educational Services, which owns and operates more than 200 physical tutoring centres across the country aimed at students preparing to qualify for top engineering and medical colleges.

According to the publication, Byju’s will pay $1 billion to buy Aakash Educational Services, which serves more than 250,000 students. A Byju’s spokesperson declined to comment.

Byju’s has raised over $800 million in the past two years, and more than doubled its valuation to over $11 billion. The startup, like several other edtech firms, attracted tens of millions of students to its platform last year after the pandemic prompted New Delhi to shut down schools nationwide.

Byju’s prepares students pursuing undergraduate and graduate-level courses, and in recent years has also expanded its catalog to serve all school-going students. Tutors on Byju’s app tackle complex subjects using real-life objects such as pizza and cake. The startup, which turned profitable in late 2019, serves over 70 million students.

In an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt last year, Byju’s co-founder and chief executive Byju Raveendran said the startup, which acquired a coding platform aimed at young students called WhiteHat Jr for $300 million last year, was open to more merger and acquisition opportunities.

The startup is backed by several high-profile investors, including Bond, which was co-founded by Mary Meeker. Bond expects Byju’s to be worth over $30 billion within three years, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch earlier.

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