Indian online education provider Byju’s is struggling to close a funding round of $800 million as a global technology rout weighs on valuations.
Investors including Sumeru Ventures and little-known firm Oxshott haven’t transferred about $250 million of the targeted amount because of “macroeconomic reasons,” a Byju’s spokeswoman said without elaborating. The two firms should come through by the end of August, she added. Founder Byju Raveendran however has completed an injection of about $400 million into the startup as part of the round, the spokeswoman said.
The delayed funding for India’s most valuable startup is likely to trigger renewed concerns about India’s consumer technology industry, where public valuations on major players from Zomato Ltd. to Paytm have plummeted in recent months. The completed fundraising would have valued the startup at $22 billion, and Raveendran’s investment was a rare instance of an Indian founder taking part in a venture capital round at a late-stage startup. Sumeru Ventures didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
Bangalore-based company Byju’s, backed by Bond Capital, Silver Lake Management, Naspers Ltd. and Tiger Global Management, has been seeking to expand abroad through big acquisitions. It offered more than $1 billion to buy US-listed edtech company 2U Inc., even as it initially pushed back payments to take over test-preparation provider Aakash Educational Services, Bloomberg News reported last month.
Raveendran, 42, the son of educators, founded his startup in 2015. Byju’s, whose parent company is formally known as Think & Learn Pvt, is the largest of a crop of startups that over the past decade have thrived on India’s growing mobile connections and investment from abroad.