Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife’s newly formed $48 billion venture is making its first bet in India.
The socially-focussed company is leading a new round of $50 million (₹ 350 crore) in coaching company Byju’s founded by Byju Raveendran. The round capital will be used by the company for its international expansion plans.
The other investors in the round are existing backers Sequoia Capital, along with Sofina, Lightspeed Ventures & Times Internet Ltd.
Byju’s is a Bengaluru-based startup which started primarily as a CAT/GMAT coaching classes centre in Bangalore and expanded to multiple branches across India and now includes coaching for maths and sciences for classes 4-12. Founder Biju Raveendran is a well-respected trainer and Byju’s classes have been known for their innovative teaching style, original content, graphics and other video tools to explain difficult concepts. His use of innovative mathematical hacks has helped many MBA aspirants crack CAT and other competitive exams.
The Chan-Zuckerberg initiative under its motto “advancing human potential and promoting equality” was founded in 2015 with the birth of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s daughter. The couple had committed to give away 99% of their stocks in Facebook through the initiative. The organization has been involved in promoting learning and growth at the grassroots levels and have supported many schools and institutes.
The couple’s previous investments have been scattered among several nonprofits and limited-liability companies, which are now under the banner of the initiative.
The investment in Byju’s could open new doors for the organization to take technical and math and science trainings to the US and other countries, a domain Zuckerberg himself considers important for human advancement.
Update: A previous version of this article erroneously mentioned that Chan Zuckerberg initiative (alone) has invested Rs. 350 crore in Byju’s. It’s been corrected.