Byju’s continues acquisition spree, buys US-based coding startup Tynker

Byju’s, the world’s most valuable edtech company with a valuation of $16.5 billion, is acquiring US-based Tynker, a leading K-12 creative platform. This marks Byju’s eighth major buy this year. The acquisition would further accelerate Bengaluru-based Byju’s US market expansion. However, the didn’t reveal the value of the transaction. According to the sources, Byju’s is spending about $200 million on the acquisition.

The acquisition will enable Tynker to introduce its creative platform to even more kids, educators, schools and camps globally. Tynker’s creative coding platform has been used by over 60 million kids and 100,000 schools in 150 countries.

“Joining forces with Tynker will unlock the ability for us to bring imagination to life for hundreds of millions of students through coding,” said Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO, Byju’s. “Our goal is to ignite a love for programming in children globally and we feel strongly that Tynker’s creative coding platform and approach to making programming fun and intuitive for kids will get us there even faster.”

Tynker co-founders Krishna Vedati, Srinivas Mandyam and Kelvin Chong will remain in their roles. They would continue carrying out Tynker’s mission of providing every child with a solid foundation in computer science, programming, and critical thinking skills. All three co-founders are parents themselves and started Tynker to create a platform that would provide children with the proper tools to create an engaging introduction to computer science. Since its inception in 2013, Tynker has helped kids create over seven billion lines of code. The founders said they remain passionate about bringing every young learner’s creation to life and making an indelible impact on the current education system.

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

Vedati said that Tynker has been profitable and growing well, but couldn’t have become a big public company. It then decided to partner with the leadership team at Byju’s. “We saw how they are executing at an enormous scale to become the number one edtech company in the world,” said Vedati, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi and West Virginia University.

Byju’s has over 100 million registered students and 6.5 million paid subscribers. Bringing Tynker into the Byju’s family will help guide the two edtech firms to their goal of unlocking a love for creative coding. They would be innovating, exploring and setting new benchmarks for tech-enabled personalized learning solutions. The acquisition will help expand Byju’s U. S. footprint by providing access to more than 60 million students and over 100,000 schools in Tynker’s existing global user base. It would also be key for both brands that share the same vision to democratize access to coding for students. “One of the goals is how do we reach from 60 million to 200 million kids in the next 2-3 years,” said Vedati.

The said that technology is integrated into virtually every aspect of our lives and continues to evolve.

Due to this, learning about it is more important than ever. In fact, parents and educators alike believe that coding is an important skill that children will need to succeed in the digital economy.

“We are looking at coding as an important future skill,” said Anita Kishore, chief strategy officer of Byju’s. “We would continue to expand and scale Tynker as a product and at the same time the core features of that would get integrated across (our platform).”

Tynker said it is loved and known by kids, parents and educators around the globe. It has notable partners to help drive its vision, including BBC Learning, Google, Microsoft, Mattel and NASA. Additionally, Tynker is also known for its pioneering role in providing fun and engaging coding games and puzzles to the Hour of Code, a global movement to introduce people of all ages to computer programming, with millions of students participating each year.

“One of the core parts of Tynker is story-based learning. We introduce a story to the kids and then engage with them based on their interest,” said Srinivas Mandyam, founder and chief technology officer of Tynker. “They can actually connect digital blocks like Lego and can create anything like apps, they can fly drones or program hardware,” said Mandyam. He said the firm has more than 1000 hours of curriculum, all the way from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Tynker is the second acquisition for Byju’s in the coding space. In August last year, Byju’s acquired Mumbai-based coding start-up WhiteHat Jr for $300 million. Last month, the WhiteHat Jr founder Karan Bajaj decided to move on.

Byju’s is on an acquisition spree in India and globally as the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online education. Students and professionals are looking to upgrade their skills, while schools and offices remain shut.

The start-up has now acquired about 8 in India and the US this year and spent more than $2 billion in the past six months on these acquisitions, according to sources. The inorganic route is expected to help Bengaluru-based Byju’s to dominate the edtech market.

Some of these deals include the $1 billion buy of New Delhi-based Aakash Educational Services (AESL) in April and the $600 million acquisition of Singapore-headquartered Great Learning, a leading global player in professional and higher education.

This month it also acquired Gradeup, one of India’s largest online exam preparation platforms. In July this year, Byju’s acquired US-based digital reading platform Epic for $500 million. In 2019, Byju’s bought US-based educational gaming company Osmo for $120 million in a stock-and-cash deal.

Byju’s is aiming to become one of the largest players in the space in the US, with a target to hit revenues of $1 billion in the next three years.

Over the last year and a half, besides Tynker, Byju’s has acquired two additional major edtech companies in the U. S. – Osmo, and Epic. All three acquisitions map back to Byju’s goal of investing $1 billion in the U. S. edtech market over the next three years.

Experts say that coding should be part of the school curriculum — not because it pushes more students to pursue careers in the field, but due to the inherent value that coding adds to kids’ learning. Coding, they say, is a new kind of literacy and those who gain coding skills from a young age will not only be able to take part in the automated economy but will also have a civic voice.

Policymakers in many countries have already begun to implement initiatives related to national coding education. Since 2014 in China, more than 100 companies have been established to teach children computer programming, including Ultrabear, Codemao and Vipcode, to name only there. The value of China’s programming education market for children was 7.5 billion yuan in 2017, and was expected to surpass 37.7 billion yuan last year, according to research firm Analysys. And in Israel, schools launched training programmes in 2017 to teach their students coding and cybersecurity skills — part of a national mission to become world leaders in cybersecurity and cyber technology.

More about Tynker

  • US-based Tynker is a leading K-12 creative coding platform.
  • It marks Byju’s eighth major buy this year.
  • Tynker’s platform has been used by over 60 million kids and 100,000 schools in 150 countries.
  • Acquisition would further accelerate Bengaluru-based Byju’s US market expansion.

Major acquisitions by Byju’s

  • Sep 2021: US-based Tynker, a leading K-12 creative coding platform.
  • Sep 2021: Gradeup, one of India’s largest online exam preparation platforms.
  • Aug 2021: Whodat computer vision startup working on augmented reality products.
  • Jul 2021: Great Learning, professional and higher education player for $600 mn.
  • Jul 2021: US-based digital reading platform Epic for $500 million.
  • Apr 2021: Aakash Education Services for $1 bn.
  • May 2021: Tutoring firm HashLearn.
  • Feb 2021: Doubt clearing platform Scholr.
  • Sep 2020: Virtual simulations startup LabInApp.
  • Aug 2020: WhiteHat Jr, which teaches coding to children, for $300 mn.
  • Jan 2019: US-based educational gaming company Osmo for $120 mn.
  • Jul 2018: Math learning platform Math Adventures.
  • Jul 2017: TutorVista and Edurite from UK-based Pearson.
  • Jan 2017: Vidyartha, a data-driven platform offering customised learning guidance.

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