Indian educational software giant BYJU's has acquired the Bay Area-based reading app maker Epic (not to be confused with Epic Games) in a stock and cash deal valued $500 million. Epic will continue to operate as a standalone service, and its two co-founders, Suren Markosian and Kevin Donahue, as well as their staff of 160 will all join BYJU's.
The two co-founders told Protocol this week that the two companies had courted each other for almost five years. "We had this vision of using technology to bring books to every child," Markosian said. "They shared the same mission."
Epic is making its service available for free to schools, and is charging parents for access to additional titles. The app saw significant growth during the pandemic; Donahue told Protocol that it had been used by 50 million children to read over a billion books during the past year.
Epic's business has been primarily focused on North America, and Markosian said that one of the goals of the acquisition was to get help expanding internationally. That's very much a two-way street for BYJU's, which is big in India but virtually unknown in the U.S. "We can make it a global brand, and a global company," Markosian said.