Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal-backed edtech startup Brightchamps has bought Schola, a Singapore-based communications and English-learning platform, for $15 million in a cash and stock deal.
All of Schola’s employees, including its founding team, have been retained after the acquisition, Brightchamps’ co-founder and chief executive officer Ravi Bhushan told Moneycontrol in a virtual interaction.
Bhushan also said that Schola’s acquisition will help Brightchamps in adding English speaking and communications vertical, a segment that will help it scale faster in its key markets--Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.
“Brightchamps started with the Middle East, went into Southeast Asia and then expanded to North America, but more than half of the business is from Southeast Asia, so we have a better understanding of that market and then we realised that in that market, a lot of countries like Vietnam and Thailand have a language barrier and as people join global workforce, speaking English becomes vital,” Bhushan told Moneycontrol.
“Schola is focused on that and the founders of Schola are from Vietnam and Singapore and so they have a deep understanding of the market,” Bhushan added.
Founded by former senior Facebook executives, Aditya Gupta and Nhu Tran Le Thanh, Schola offers a variety of courses in a live, one-on-one class model for kids from 4 to 15 years of age to build capabilities such as communications, public speaking, leadership presentation, and confidence-building. The company currently offers classes to students from 12 countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and others.
The acquisition comes a couple of months after Brightchamps had said that the company will earmark as much as $100 million for mergers and acquisitions for FY23 (2022-23). Bhushan said that the company would explore acquisitions to expand to newer geographies and verticals and to generate user growth.
Interestingly, the company has raised only about $63 million to date and in FY21 (2020-21), it had a revenue of Rs 2.3 crore. FY21 was Brightchamps' first year of operations. Bhushan said that the company has scaled manifold in FY22 (2021-22) and has a very low cash burn. Brightchamps will be funding acquisitions through the money it has raised and by Brightchamps’ stocks, Bhushan said. Brightchamps claims to be valued at $650 million.
Brightchamps, founded in 2020 by Bhushan, claims to have operations in over 30 countries including the US, Canada, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Nigeria. Brightchamps runs a platform to teach coding, financial literacy, and robotics to kids aged 6-16.
The company last raised funds in November last year. It had raised $63 million from investors including Premji Invest, BeeNext, GSV Ventures, and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal-backed 021 Capital, among others.
Brightchamps has joined another edtech soonicorn--Tiger Global-backed Scaler--to earmark large amounts for acquisitions for FY23. Moneycontrol had reported in May that Scaler had earmarked $50 million for acquisitions. Another edtech unicorn, Ronnie Screwvala’s upGrad, has also been on an acquisition spree this year.It can be noted that all these companies have raised large funding rounds this year even as funding to edtech companies has slowed down amid a blip in demand for online learning with schools and colleges reopening. The slowdown in funding has also hit valuations of edtech companies, giving opportunities for well-funded players to buy companies at lucrative prices.