ByteDance in talks to invest in edtech firm Lido Learning

New Delhi: TikTok parent ByteDance is in talks to potentially invest in Mumbai-based education technology firm Lido Learning, at least three sources briefed on the development told ET, as the Chinese technology company seeks to get a foothold in India’s rapidly growing educational technology sector.

ByteDance has held multiple discussions with Lido Learning, but there is no certainty that the discussions will fructify into a deal, the sources said. The ed-tech firm has also been in talks with several other potential investors, they said.

Founded by Sahil Sheth last year, Lido Learning has been in the market to raise $20 million and more.

When contacted, Sheth, the chief executive of Lido Learning, confirmed that the company was in talks to raise fresh financing, without sharing further details.

ByteDance had not responded to an email till the time of going to press.

Investment bank Ambit is handling the mandate for Lido Learning.

Lido Learning primarily operates in the K-10 segment, providing live and personalised teaching to over 5,000 students through its web-based platform and mobile app.

A potential investment by ByteDance, the world’s most richly valued startup, will be intriguing, given the pressure it faces globally, and particularly in India, one of its key markets.

Last month, the government banned 59 Chinese origin apps, including TikTok, the wildly popular short video app, citing national security concerns, following a border standoff with the Chinese army.

This was preceded by the changes to foreign direct investment norms in April, according to which all investments from countries that share a land border with India, including China, would have to seek government approval first, as opposed to automatic approval earlier.

In April, ET reported that Lido Learning, which already counts media titan Ronnie Screwvala, Vikramapati Singhania, managing director of JK Tyres, and Madhur Deora, president of Paytm, among its early investors, announced a $7.5 million funding round spread across two tranches.

That round was led by BAce Capital, the investment firm founded by Benny Chen and Kshitij Karundia, two veteran deal makers and storied former senior executives at Ant Financial and Alibaba Group.

The developments come at a time when the Indian ed-tech sector continues to see massive interest from global financial and strategic investors. Market leaders in the space, such as Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu, have scooped up over $700 million in recent months, ET has reported.

The sector is one of the few that had been galvanised by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced schools, colleges and higher education institutes to down shutters and move to the education-focused web and mobile platforms.

ByteDance in talks to invest in edtech firm Lido Learning ByteDance in talks to invest in edtech firm Lido Learning Reviewed by TechCO on 7/27/2020 Rating: 5

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