Education & Job

Byju’s investor feels can create best edtech companies

Synopsis

With one of the largest student populations in the world, increasing access to the internet and connected devices, and the tremendous importance placed on education, India has the key factors necessary to create a vibrant edtech ecosystem.

There are exciting opportunities in India across the spectrum — from early learning to K-12 to higher education and career mobility/professional learning.

San Francisco-based

Owl Ventures

, an investor in educational technology companies

Byju’s

and

WhitehatJr

, last week raised $585 million across two funds. With $1.2 billion assets under management, Owl boasts of the largest global corpus for any specialised education technology

VC fund

. It recently exited WhitehatJr, a K-12 startup for students to learn coding, when it was sold to Byju’s for $300 million. Amit Patel, managing director at Owl Ventures, spoke to ET about the fund’s India plans and the exponential rise of edtech amid the Covid19 pandemic. Excerpts:

Can you give us a sense of the India allocation from Owl’s new funds? What would be the cheque sizes for your investments?

While we don’t have an India-specific allocation for the new fund, we believe that some of the world’s leading edtech companies are being started there, and we are excited to continue investing in India. We make early, growth and later stage investments. Our average investments have been anywhere from a few million dollars to $50 million.

Edtech has emerged as one of the hottest sectors in India since the Covid-19 crisis. What explains this?

At approximately $6 trillion, the education market is the second largest sector in the world and experiencing a significant surge in digital penetration. The meteoric growth of both Whitehat Jr and Byju’s is illustrative of the rapidly growing and maturing edtech market in India and throughout the world. Additionally, rapid changes in the global economy have led enterprises and adult learners to seek digital tools for upskilling and reskilling, creating a multitude of opportunities for innovative companies in the career mobility and professional learning sectors.

Amit-Patel-owl-ventures

What is making investors back these companies in markets like India?

India is an innovation hub when it comes to creating top-tier education technology companies. With one of the largest student populations in the world, increasing access to the internet and connected devices, and the tremendous importance placed on education, India has the key factors necessary to create a vibrant edtech ecosystem.

What are the areas in edtech that are promising in India? Could you elaborate on your strategy going ahead?

There are exciting opportunities in India across the spectrum — from early learning to K-12 to higher education

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