Byju’s, an edtech company based in India that claims a $3.6 billion valuation based on its sales success there, announced it has acquired Palo Alto, CA-based learning-through-play firm Osmo for $120 million.
Named after the teacher Byju Raveendran, who founded the company in 2011, Byju’s is making its first acquisition in the United States to advance its goals of expanding globally and adding very young children to its user base. The company, which announced the deal Wednesday, had already made inroads in the United States by securing venture capital from investors including Sequoia Capital, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Byju’s was attracted not only by the Osmo play sets that teach coding concepts, drawing, and other subjects to children as young as five years old, but also to the company technology that links the physical environment with the digital world. Osmo provides an attachment to the cameras embedded in digital devices that allows the devices to “see” objects in front of them, such as the coding building blocks that kids can rearrange on a table to control the movements of an on-screen cartoon monster.
The Byju’s Learning App personalizes learning experiences for students in the 4th to 12th grades. The company says it has more than two million annual paid subscriptions to the app, which has been used by 30 million students since it was launched in 2015. The app is available to anyone through Google Play and Apple’s App Store, but its sales originate mainly in India. Byju’s projects revenue of $250 million this year.
The two companies plan to find ways to blend Osmo’s technology with Byju’s content and create new products, a spokesperson for the companies told Xconomy via an e-mail exchange. They’ll also promote sales of each other’s existing products in their home territories. Together, their market covers the age range from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.
Founded in 2013 by former Google engineers Pramod Sharma, its CEO, and Jerome Scholler, Osmo has sold more than a million playkits, primarily in the United States but also in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Osmo’s products are available in India, but they currently represent a very small percentage of its sales. (The three founders of the two companies are pictured. Osmo’s Scholler is at left, Byju’s founder and CEO Byju Raveendran is in the center, and Osmo’s Sharma is at right.)
Osmo will continue to operate as a standalone unit in Palo Alto under the direction of Sharma. Its staff of 65 is likely to expand as it scales up under Byju’s ownership, the companies say. Osmo had raised a total of $32.5 million from investors including Accel, K9 Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Mattel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Collab+Sesame, and Shea Ventures.
Photo courtesy of Byju’s, Osmo