Naspers Leads Two Investments In Indian Tech Firms To The Value Of $1.5B

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

South African media giant Naspers, Africa’s most valuable company by market cap, has led investment rounds in two Indian tech firms worth over $1.5 billion.

The tech investor led a combination primary and secondary $540 million investment into edtech firm, and while Naspers’ exact contribution to the deal was not disclosed, ‘a significant amount’ of the investment was made by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, according to a press release.

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A day after making the Byju’s deal public, Naspers announced it was making a $660 million investment as part of an almost $1 billion Series H round in Swiggy, India’s largest food delivery platform, according to Forbes.

The Swiggy investment will also involve existing investors DST Global, Meituan Dianping and Coatue Management, and new investors Tencent, Hillhouse Capital and Wellington Management.

For Byju’s, the new funding infusion will be used to expand the company internationally into English-speaking countries.

The Indian education startup more than doubled its valuation to $3.6 billion after the funding round, according to Biznews.

Indian tech firms
Naspers has invested in Byju’s, an edtech platform that educates children. Image – AP Photo – Kevin Frayer

Cape Town-based Naspers is a global internet and entertainment group that has built a reputation as one of the largest technology investors in the world.

It owns stakes in numerous international companies including Multichoice, ShowMax, Mail.ru, PayU, Takealot, OLX and Chinese investment holding company Tencent.

The South African firm’s investment in Tencent is now worth $120 billion, representing a major success story considering the initial $36 million it invested in the Chinese company in 2001, Fin24 reports.

The Naspers group has a market capitalisation of $91 billion, making it the biggest tech company on the JSE by market cap, according to Moneyweb.

The South African media company which is listed on the Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges has stakes in around 45 technology and media companies around the world, and is involved in e-commerce, television, print media, travel, communications and other sectors in over 120 countries, according to Ventureburn.

Indian edtech firm and online delivery company part of a trend

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Byju’s is a low-cost e-learning service that offers personalised learning programs for millions of school students in 4th-12th grades in India.

Swiggy’s value rose to more than $2 billion after Naspers led two previous funding rounds earlier in the year to become the firm’s biggest shareholder, according to Mybroadband.

These are not Naspers’ first investments in Indian businesses, with the South African tech investor paying special attention to the Indian market in recent years.

In May the company sold its entire stake in Indian e-commerce marketplace Flipkart to Walmart for $2.2 billion. This represented a 11.18 percent stake in the online firm, India’s largest property in the e-commerce space, which saw the initial investment from Naspers in 2012, according to ITWebAfrica.

The proceeds from the sale of the Flipkart stake have been used to fund investments geared at supporting the growth of its classifieds, online food delivery and fintech businesses globally.

In November, Naspers announced that it would launch a $100 million tech startup fund, which will be known as the Naspers Foundry, dedicated to the growth of tech startups in South Africa, according to Techcentral.

The Naspers Foundry will officially be launched and made available to entrepreneurs in 2019, with the company particularly interested in backing black-owned South African startups, according to a Naspers statement.

In addition to the tech startup funding, the group has committed to spending a further $200 million within the South African tech sector, with a specific focus on developing its existing technology businesses, including OLX , Takealot.com and Mr D Food.