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Led by Byju’s, Bangalore-Born Ecommerce Unicorns Rush to List Overseas

Led by Byju’s, Bangalore-Born Ecommerce Unicorns Rush to List Overseas
The Siliconreview
17 January, 2022

Undeniably, Byju’s continues to grow by leaps and bounds at the global level, further substantiating Bangalore’s position as one of the hottest start-up destinations in the world.

E-commerce is the fastest-growing industry in India. In 2021, the industry was estimated to be worth over $55 billion in gross merchandise value, making it the fastest-growing e-commerce market in the world. Given how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted consumer shopping behavior, the industry is estimated to have an annual gross merchandise value of $350 billion by 2030.

Remarkably, there are over 19,000 e-commerce companies in the country with a good number of them operating from Bangalore — the breeding ground for e-commerce unicorns such as Byju’s (a decacorn, technically), Flipkart, Swiggy, to name a few. Byju’s, a multinational educational technology company, recently became the world’s largest EdTech company. Currently valued at $21 billion, the Bangalore-born company is now the 13th most valuable start-up in the world.

With its razor-sharp focus, Byju’s has acquired as many as 18 companies, spending around $2.88 billion. Following is the list of a few of the companies Byju’s has taken over recently: Great Learning Pvt. Ltd. ($600M), Epic! (a US-based company, $500M), Aakash Educational Services Ltd. (figures not revealed), WhiteHat Jr. ($300 M), Osmo (a US-based company, $120M), TutorVista, Edurite from Pearson (a US-based company, figures not revealed), Tinker (a US-based coding platform), etc.

Evidently, Byju’s is actively expanding its footprint across the United States, making it one of the few Indian companies to do so. Moreover, the EdTech company is eyeing a public market listing in the North American country through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) for a $48 billion valuation. Byju’s is one of the few Indian companies that are considering a US listing.

In addition to these acquisitions, the company has invested in multiple sectors to widen its non-EdTech services portfolio. Incorporated just a decade ago, Byju’s is breaking ground in this segment, serving around 100 million users globally. The company’s success truly coincides with Bangalore’s ‘Silicon Valley of Asia’ image, transforming what was considered ‘impossible’ previously.

Undeniably, the company continues to grow by leaps and bounds at the global level, further substantiating Bangalore’s position as one of the hottest start-up destinations in the world.

As of 2019, the EdTech company has secured around $785 million from a series of investors, including Tencent, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital India, and many more. Notably, Byju’s was the only company in Asia to receive an investment from Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.

Byju Raveendran and his wife Divya Gokulnath founded Byju’s in 2011.

Like Byju’s, Flipkart is one of the e-commerce giants that has originated from Bangalore. Incorporated in 2007, the company, like Byju’s, is considering a public market listing in the United States through a SPAC. Currently valued at $37.8 billion, Flipkart is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in the world. In 2018, Walmart, an American multinational retail corporation, took over 77 percent of Flipkart for $16 billion in the world’s largest e-commerce deal. At the time of the merger, Flipkart was valued at $20 billion.

“India is one of the most attractive retail markets in the world, given its size and growth rate, and our investment is an opportunity to partner with the company that is leading the transformation of e-commerce in the market,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and chief executive officer.

“As a company, we are transforming globally to meet and exceed the needs of customers and we look forward to working with Flipkart to grow in this critical market. We are also excited to be doing this with Tencent, Tiger Global, and Microsoft, which will be key strategic and technology partners. We are confident this group will provide Flipkart with an enhanced strategic and competitive advantage. Our investment will benefit India by providing quality, affordable goods for customers while creating new skilled jobs and fresh opportunities for small suppliers, farmers, and women entrepreneurs.”

This quote was extracted from Walmart Corporate to ascertain the facts.

This deal exposed Flipkart to a pool of international investors. And with the recent events unfolding how the e-commerce behemoth is weighing a U.S. initial public offering, it’s estimated that the company could realize a valuation of $50 billion.

In addition, Flipkart has acquired several companies, including Myntra, PhonePe, Ekart, Jeeves, and Cleartrip.

On the funding front, Flipkart has raised funds from several venture capital firms, including Accel India, Naspers Group, Tiger Global, to name a few. As of now, the e-commerce company has raised a total of $12.6B in funding over 25 rounds.

The Bansals, Sachin and Binny, founded Flipkart who no longer remain part of the company since Walmart take over.  

In addition to these two biggies, there is a large group of e-commerce unicorns, including Bigbasket, Zoomcar, Practo, Udaan, Ola that stemmed from Bangalore. Besides, there’s a set of start-ups that are either Bangalore-born or are headquartered in the city, including Quikr (former unicorn), Livspace (next in line), Zivame, TravelYaari, Via.com, Portea, Chai Point, Urban ladder, Redbus, etc.

Bangalore is a top producer of high-functioning brands

Bangalore is a sophisticated, top-performing city. Along with the software sector, the city takes pride in nurturing companies across industries. Like an ecosystem, companies that are housed in the city are economically interdependent, and therefore, are responsible for each other’s success. Long story short, all the brands (above-mentioned) trace back their roots to Bangalore and their success wouldn’t have been possible sans a reasonable collaboration from the rest of the ecosystem. In other words, it’s a high-functioning ecosystem that produces valuable brands that continue to make a mark on a global stage.