Blackstone To Acquire Majority Stake In Online Learning Platform Simplilearn

Based in San Francisco and Bengaluru, Simplilearn is backed by Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners and Mayfield Fund
Blackstone To Acquire Majority Stake In Online Learning Platform Simplilearn
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Blackstone announced on Monday that private equity funds managed by Blackstone (Blackstone) have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Simplilearn Solutions Pvt. Ltd., an online learning ‘bootcamp’ based in India offering digital skills training and courses to working professionals all over the world.

“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 edtech 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,” said Krishna Kumar, founder, and chief executive officer, Simplilearn.

Profitable for the fourth year in a row, the platform offers over 100 programs to help early to mid-career professionals acquire new-age digital skills across Cloud, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, Cyber Security and many more. Simplilearn offers programs in partnership with top global & Indian universities, and enterprises to enable learners to get the best of academic and industry exposure. The company is currently collaborating with renowned 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. These courses allow professionals to develop digital skills and help businesses upskill their workforce to keep up with the constantly changing demands driven by digitization. More than two million professionals globally have used Simplilearn to date.

“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,”  noted Amit Dixit, head of Asia, Blackstone Private Equity.

“We have been impressed with Simplilearn’s synchronous model of pedagogy focused on delivering superior outcomes for its learners. Simplilearn has demonstrated strong, profitable growth and we want to turbocharge that growth through focused investments in technology, leveraging Blackstone’s global network and expertise in education technology and bringing to bear our relationships with global universities and enterprises,” added Mukesh Mehta, senior managing director, Blackstone.

Blackstone brings global expertise in education technology, including the partnership with Aakash Educational Services and Byju’s to build a digitally-enabled, 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).

Avendus Capital was the exclusive financial advisor to Simplilearn and its shareholders on the transaction.

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