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Exclusive: Byju’s set to acquire Tiger Global-backed Hello English

Amidst the ongoing acquisition spree, edtech decacorn Byju’s is all set to acquire another startup in the language learning space. The Bengaluru-based company is in talks to take over Hello English, according to two sources aware of the matter.

This will be the 10th acquisition for Byju’s in 2021. The company has spent more than $2 billion for those deals in which Aakash Educational Services, Great Learning and Epic were the most valued ones. 

Overall, Byju’s has acquired 18 startups since its inception.

“Hello English is in late-stage talks to get acquired by Byju’s in a deal worth $25 million,” said one of the sources on the condition of anonymity. “The term sheet has been signed and if nothing goes wrong from here the transaction will be announced soon,” the person added.

Hello English [previously CultureAlley] is a cloud-based language learning platform where users can learn multiple languages including English, Chinese, Portuguese, Turkish, Nepali, Indonesian, Thai, Arabic, Malay, Urdu, Malay, Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, among others.

The app also offers interactive lessons with conversational English, translation, spelling, vocabulary and grammar tips. The eight-year-old company had last raised $6.5 million in its Series A round led by Tiger Global in 2015. Previously, it had raised a seed round in 2013 from Kae Capital.

The acquisition will mark Byju’s entry into language offerings as the company didn’t venture into this segment. “Besides India, Byju’s also plans to expand Hello English to overseas markets including the Southeast Asia region (SEA),” said the second source who also wished not to be named.

“Following the transaction, the Hello English team along with the founders will join Byju’s,” the person added.

Queries sent to Byju’s and Hello English did not elicit an immediate response. We’ll update the post in case they do.

As per Sensor Tower data, Hello English has amassed more than 42 million downloads across Android and iOS. Launched by Nishant Patni and Pranshu Bhandari, Hello English became the number 1 English learning and speaking app on the India Google Play store within eight months of launch.

For the year ending on March 31, 2021, Hello English recorded operating revenue of Rs 8.32 in FY21 as compared to Rs 6.75 crore in FY20. The company’s annual financial statements show that its expenses for FY21 increased by a slight margin to Rs 12.32 crore in FY21 from Rs. 11.29 crore in the preceding fiscal. During the period, it managed to control its losses to Rs 3.3 crore from Rs 3.56 crore in FY20.

More than 15 edtech startups have been consolidated under the three edtech giants Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu in 2021: Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu. Byju’s has already taken over nine startups while Unacademy has acquired five startups during the period. 

Swiflearn was the latest acquisition by the Gaurav Munjal-led company. Entrackr had exclusively reported the deal on October 18. Another edtech unicorn Vedantu has acquired two startups in 2021: Instasolv and Pedagogy.

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