As James Murdoch and former Disney executive Uday Shankar’s investment platform deepens its bet on India’s expanding edtech industry, they announced a $600 million investment in Allen Career Institute on Sunday. The pair said that their investment in the 33-year-old education company, which has 138 classroom sites in 46 cities across India and the Middle East, is strategic. Allen, which helps students prepare for prestigious exams like IIT JEE Mains & Advanced, NEET-UG, KVPY, and the Olympiads, has announced that it will collaborate with Bodhi Tree to expand its test-prep offering and “deliver at-scale positive impact for millions of students in the test-prep and K12 segments, using technology as the core driver of value.”
According to a source familiar with the case, the acquisition valued Allen, which is based in Kota, at over $1 billion, but TechCrunch was unable to confirm the exact amount. Allen is the founder of one of India’s leading coaching institutions. The company competes with Aakash, which was bought by Indian edtech behemoth Byju’s for roughly $1 billion last year. According to two people familiar with the situation, Unacademy, an Indian online platform valued at $3.4 billion, has previously considered acquiring Allen.
In a statement, Allen founder Rajesh Maheshwari stated, “Since its beginning, Allen has focused on offering top quality education to students to enable them realize their best potential and fulfill their professional objectives.” “In the process, we have assisted in the creation of hundreds of thousands of physicians and engineers who have contributed to the development of India and modern civilization.” Our collaboration with Bodhi Tree is a critical component of our objective to greatly expand Allen’s reach and effect.”
The investment in Allen is Bodhi Tree’s second announcement this week. On Wednesday, the company announced a $1.78 billion investment in Mukesh Ambani’s Viacom18 television network. In a joint statement, Murdoch and Shankar stated, “Education is a crucial consumer demand, driven by its powerfully transformational influence on customers’ lives and livelihoods.”
“We think that education is on the verge of a technological revolution that will profoundly transform how education is delivered and improve its effectiveness.” Allen’s unprecedented performance and scalability give the ideal framework for creating the next-generation digital education enterprise. We’re pleased to partner with the Maheshwari family to create a results-driven digital education firm that meets the needs of millions of students and parents in India and throughout the world.”
The couple formed Bodhi Tree, a $1.5 billion investment fund, in February this year, after investing in a number of Indian firms through Lupa, including short-video platform and news aggregation DailyHunt and edtech DoubtNut. The organization, which is backed by Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund of the Gulf state, plans to invest mostly in India and Southeast Asia.