Earlier this year, when most Indian businesses were struggling to cope with the slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s largest ed-tech startup impressed many by spending a small fortune on an acquisition that would add a new vertical to its already robust business. But just three months later, the prized buyout is quickly becoming a pain point that could have lasting damage on its new parent.
In August, Bengaluru-based ed-tech unicorn Byju’s acquired WhiteHat Jr, an online coding school for young kids, for $300 million (Rs2,223 crore). At the time of the acquisition, WhiteHat Jr seemed like a promising bet. After all, the 18-months-old firm already had learners in India and the US. It was also planning to expand to Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Backed by marquee investors like Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar Network, WhiteHat Jr had raised just $11 million