Private equity funds managed by Blackstone have acquired a majority stake in educational technology company Simplilearn in a $ 250 million deal. The investment, which includes a combination of primary and secondary transactions, has fully exited the company’s first investors, Helion Ventures Partners, Mayfield Fund and Kalaari Capital, Simplilearn founder and CEO Krishna Kumar told FE.
Blackstone will acquire a nearly 70% stake in the startup, the sources said.
The Bengaluru, San Francisco and California-based company will leverage Blackstone’s global presence to expand its reach. The firm will use the new capital injection to launch new programs, create partnerships with more companies and universities, create better products and take advantage of its technological capabilities, Kumar said.
Founded in 2010, Simplilearn offers more than 100 programs in collaboration with global and Indian universities that help early and middle career professionals acquire new age digital skills in functions such as cloud, data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning. and cybersecurity. Brands like IBM, Microsoft and Amazon use the platform to improve the skills of their employees. Simplilearn claims to have served more than two million professionals in 150 countries. The platform that competes with upGrad among a handful of other Indian educational technology companies offers more than 1,500 live classes each month and has around 100,000 monthly active users.
The investment marks Blackstone’s first private equity investment (with a majority stake) in Asia in a consumer technology company. The US-based firm manages $ 649 billion in assets including investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt, and equity and real estate. “Like many other sectors, technology is revolutionizing education and educational technology has been a subject of great conviction for Blackstone in India and around the world … We hope this will be the first of many investments of this kind. in Asia, “said Amit Dixit, Asia director for Blackstone Private Equity, said.
Blackstone had been an investor in Aakash Educational Services, but left the company after Byju’s acquired the physical test preparation service provider in a deal of nearly $ 1 billion in cash and shares. Blackstone currently has a minority stake in Byju’s.
The local educational technology space has seen a flood of deals since the start of the pandemic as the closure of educational institutions increased the demand for online learning, driving subscriptions. People also became more open to opting for professional online courses. Industry experts are betting on the growth of a hybrid mode of learning after the pandemic. Byju’s and upGrad are among the companies that raised new rounds of funding this year.
Simplilearn’s Kumar said the company would consider launching an initial public offering (IPO) in the coming years, but did not specify a timeline.