Blackstone acquires majority stake in Simplilearn for $250 million – ClearTips

Blackstone is buying a majority stake in Bangalore and San Francisco-headquartered edtech startup SimpleLearn for $250 million.

SimplyLearn operates a similar online bootcamp to help people learn data science, AI, machine learning, cloud computing and other skills that are in demand in the market.

The startup has partnerships with several universities and colleges including IIT Kanpur, Caltech and Purdue University and students who enroll and complete these courses get certificates from these institutions.

The 11-year-old startup, which runs 1,000 live classes every month, says it has helped more than 2 million professionals in 150 countries and 2,000 companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon.

The startup, which had a final value of $80 million in its 2016 Series C funding round, includes Brand Capital, Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners and Mayfield among its early backers. It had raised about $34.4 million before today’s deal, according to insights platform Tracxn.

According to a person familiar with the matter, Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners and Mayfield Fund have exited as part of the new transaction, but SimpleLearn’s leadership team has not sold their stake.

“The pandemic has only intensified the need for digital skills and the industry has demonstrated complete readiness for online upskilling. Therefore, this is the most opportune time to take the next big leap in our journey to build the world’s largest digital skilling company,” Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, SimpleLearn, said in a statement.

“We believe Blackstone can add significant value to our company due to its scale, commitment to building businesses, and global network, which will enable us to develop partnerships with businesses and universities as SimpleLearn has access to across the globe. The expansion continues.”

The acquisition comes months after Blackstone-backed Aakash Education Services, which runs coaching centers across the country, was acquired by India’s most valuable startup Byju’s for nearly $1 billion. Blackstone has since invested in Byju’s as well.

“This is Blackstone’s first private equity investment in a consumer technology company in Asia. […] We’re excited to partner with Krishan Kumar and the top management team at SimplyLearn to accelerate growth and build the world’s leading digital learning company, and we expect this to be the first of many such investments in Asia. Will happen,” said Amit Dixit, head of Asia for Blackstone, in a statement.

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