Blackstone announced on Monday that private equity funds managed by it have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Simplilearn Solutions Pvt Ltd, an online learning platform based in India offering digital skills training and courses to working professionals globally. Blackstone is investing $250 million in primary and secondary funding, which, as per sources, will value Simplilearn at $400 million.
Simplilearn was founded in 2010 by its Chief Executive Officer Krishna Kumar. The company said it has been profitable for the fourth year in a row, and the platform offers over 100 programs for early to mid-career professionals in digital skills across Cloud, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, Cyber Security and many more.
Simplilearn offers programs in partnership with global and Indian universities. The company said it is currently collaborating with educational institutes such as Caltech CTME, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, UMass Amherst and the Isenberg School of Management, Purdue Online, Jagdish Sheth School of Management and IIT Kanpur and companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and KPMG.
The company added that more than 2 million professionals globally have used Simplilearn to date.
Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO, Simplilearn, said, "The pandemic has only accelerated the need for digital skills and the industry has demonstrated absolute readiness for upskilling online. Hence, this is the most opportune time to take the next big leap in our journey to build the world's largest digital skilling company. We are excited to partner with Blackstone, a globally recognized investor with a strong track record in the ed-tech sector. We believe Blackstone can add significant value to our company because of their scale, commitment to building businesses, and global network, which will enable us to develop partnerships with businesses and universities as Simplilearn continues to expand around the world. We would also like to thank our previous investors, Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners and Mayfield Fund for their undaunted support and trust in our journey of becoming a market leader.”
Amit Dixit, Head of Asia for Blackstone Private Equity, said: "This is Blackstone's first private equity investment in Asia in a consumer technology company. Like many other sectors, technology is disrupting education and education technology has been a high conviction theme for Blackstone in India and globally. Simplilearn is a differentiated player in the digital skilling space with premium content created in partnership with marquee university and industry partners. We are excited to partner with Krishna Kumar and Simplilearn’s top-notch management team to accelerate growth and build the world’s pre-eminent digital learning company, and we expect this to be the first of many such investments in Asia."
Blackstone has global expertise in education technology, including the partnership with Aakash Educational Services and Byju’s to build an omnichannel education company; acquisition of Ascend Learning, which provides technology-based educational content and software tools for students, institutions, and employers; and recent investments in Ellucian (a leading software provider to universities) and Articulate (a SaaS training and development platform for companies).
Based in San Francisco, CA, and Bangalore, India, Simplilearn has helped over 20,00,000 professionals and 2,000 companies across 150 countries to get trained and acquire certifications.
First Published: IST