How Byju's is Making Millions of Students Fall in Love With Learning

Imagine you are sitting in a packed class, and the teacher is explaining an important concept. While it's seeming that everyone else is understanding the concept and nodding their head in unison, you are feeling a bit off beat, as every word being explained is simply getting bounced off your head. Does this sounds familiar?. Well it happens to most of us at least once in our student life. While every student has his own pace of learning, it is not manually possible for the teacher to take care of every student.

Thankfully, ed-tech sector is growing fast enough to fill this gap. And talking about ed-tech in India,one name that we surely don't afford to miss is Byju’s. Read how an engineer's passion for teaching  led him to start Byju's which today is an unicorn startup and the world’s most valued edtech company.

Byju's - Company Highlights

Startup Name BYJU'S
Headquarter Bangalore
Founder Byju Raveendran
Sector Edtech
Founded 2011
Parent Organization Think and Learn Private Ltd

About Byju's and How Byju's Works
Byju's Founder
How was Byju's Started
Byju's - Name and Tagline
Byju's - Business Model and Revenue Model
Byju's - Funding and Investors
Challenges faced by Byju's
Byju's - Competitors / Alternatives
Byjus - Revenue and Valuation
Byju's - Acquisitions
Byju's - Growth

About Byju's and How Byju's Works

The Bangalore based educational technology platform Byju’s is an online tutoring and coaching firm that was started in the year 2011 and runs on a freemium model. Byju’s parent company is ‘Think and Learn Pvt Ltd’. The main aim of Byju's is to provide coaching through online video lectures for students of class 1 to class 12 and also for people who prepare for competitive exams like IIT – JEE, NEET, CAT, GRE, and GMAT.

Byjus- the Learning app was launched in the year 2015 and since then it has been a huge success. It is used by more than 15 million students all over the world and has 9,00,000 paid subscribers. The app helps the students to learn on their own rather than the traditional culture of spoon-feeding. Their approach combines the reinvention of learning, world-class teachers, proven pedagogical methods and personalized learning.

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Byju's Founder

Byju's founder and CEO, Byju Raveendran was born in 1980 in Azhikode, Kerela. He is a B.Tech (mechanical engineering) from Government Engineering College in Kannur, Kerela. Before starting Byju's , Byju Raveendran was working in a multinational shipping firm as a service engineer. However his passion lied in teaching which later inspired him to start Byju's.

Byju Raveendran is founder and ceo of Byju
Byju Raveendran

Besides being an entrepreneur and teacher, Byju Raveendran is also an expert sports person who played six different sports including football, cricket, table tennis and badminton in the University level. Popularly known as Byju sir among his students, Byju cleared CAT twice with 100 percentile, though he never joined any IIM.

How was Byju's Started

Coming from a small village named Azhikode in Kerela, Byju Raveendran was an engineer with a shipping company based in the UK. While he was working, he started to help his friends in cracking the CAT exam, which is an entrance exam for getting into the IIMs. Back then to test himself he also gave the exam and got 100 percentile. He did not join any of the IIMs but started teaching students for their mathematics exams.

Initially, he started taking maths workshops for free and then slowly started charging when he got the confidence. At one point of time in his career, he got so famous that in a single workshop more than 20000 students participated. In the year 2009, he started to record his videos of the workshops that he took.

His former students who graduated from IIMs approached him saying that he should start Byju’s classes to a new domain. That is when ‘Think and Learn Pvt Ltd’ was formed to create content for school students. In 2015 he launched Byju’s – The Learning App and in the first year itself, the app was downloaded by more than 5.5 million people.

While Byju’s got its name from its founders' first name, Byju's tagline is ‘Fall in love with learning’.

Byju's Logo
Byju's Logo

Byju's - Business Model and Revenue Model

Byju’s works on a freemium business model which means that they offer their customers both complementary and extra-cost (premium) services. The company asks for the details of the students on their application or website and offers them a free 15 days trial. After the free trial one has to buy the courses from Byju’s and that is how the freemium business model is created. The company provides one to one mentoring to its subscribers and also provides feedback to the child’s parents. Byju’s also offers classroom coaching in the city of Noida, Gurgoan and surrounding places.

There are three ways in which Byju’s is earning its revenue:

  • The first one is through the app. After the 15 days free trial, one has to purchase the courses to continue their educational journey on Byju’s. The app offers a variety of test series, courses, etc.
  • Secondly, it offers its Byju’s products which are tablets that the customers have to buy with the course of their choice. This tablet has the videos, tests, practice questions, quizzes, etc. inbuilt for the course that the customer has opted.
  • And the last way is thorough the classroom teachings which are restricted to only a few cities.

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Byju's - Funding and Investors

Byju’s attracted and appealed many investors since its initial phase. In the year 2016, Byju's became the first company in Asia to receive funding from  Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, which is a joint initiative by  Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. Recently in January 2020, Byju's raised $ 200 million from Tiger Global Management, after which the company was valued at $8 Million.  Again in February 2020, Byju's confirmed raising another $200 Million from New York based private equity firm General Atlantic. Here are all details about Byju's funding.

Date Stage Amount Lead Investors
March 2016 Series C $75 Million Sequoia Capital India & Sofina
September 2016 Series D $50 Million Chan Zuckerberg Initiative & Sequoia Capital India
December 2016 Series E $15 Million IFC Venture Capital Group & InnoVen Capital
March 2017 Series F $30 Million Verlinvest
August 2017 Corporate Round $40 Million Tencent Holdings
December 2018 Venture Round $ 540 Million Prosus & Naspers
March 2019 Private Equity Round $332 Million General Atlantic
March 2019 Private Equity Round $31 Million General Atlantic & Tencent Holdings
July 2019 Private Equity Round $150 Million Qatar Investment Authority
January 2020 Private Equity Round $200 Million Tiger Global Management
Februray 2020 Private Equity Round $200 Million General Atlantic

In March 2017, one of the biggest achievement which could be considered as non-monetary funding was that its case study was featured in Harvard Business School and that is when Byju’s started operating on a global platform.

Challenges faced by Byju's

As said by Byju Raveendran, the founder of Byju's, converting the students to paid subscribers, after completion of the free trial period is a everyday challenge for Byju's. Also the company is working towards expanding to other English speaking countries, and finding suitable partners to aid this expansion is a challenge that the company is facing

Byju's - Competitors / Alternatives

Today people are rapidly moving towards digitization and are adapting e-learning approaches. Because of this revolution, like Byju’s many other companies are working on a similar concept. Although the quality education, technology-friendly, and high-end services are still being provided by very few service providers of online education platforms and Byju’s is leading all of them. Byju’s top competitors are, Vedantu, Teachable, Khan Academy, Simplilearn, Schoolwise and Toppr

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Byju's - Revenue and Valuation

In the FY 2017-2018, Byju's reported revenue worth Rs 490 crore, which increased to Rs 1,430 crore in FY 2018-2019.

After Tiger Global Management invested $200 million in January 2020, Byju's was valued at $8 billion.

Byju's - Acquisitions

Byju's has acquired 5 companies till date. In January 2017, Byju's acquired Vidyartha (SPAN Thoughtworks Pvt. Ltd.). Vidyartha is a customised learning guidance platform for K8-K12 students. In July 2017, Byju's acquired online tutoring services platform 'TutorVista' and audio-visual educational content provider 'Edurite' from US based Pearson. In July 2018, Byju's acquired Math Adventures, a platform that aids kids to learn math in a fun way. The latest acquisition made by Byju's is that of US based edtech company Osmo in January 2019.

Byju's - Growth

Byju’s as a startup is a very innovative concept and has achieved huge success in the market. It follows rigorous advertising strategies. Shahrukh Khan, one of the most prominent actors of Bollywood is the brand ambassador of Byju’s. The company has so far captured the Indian market very well and has made its presence in the Middle East as well. Byju's is now aiming to capture markets in the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and other global markets. To expand its footprints in the USA, Byju's acquired US-based learning platform Osmo in January 2019. The company also tied up with Disney to launch its early learning app for classes 1-3.

Byju's was also in news recently for all the good reasons, as it took a really positive step during the coronavirus crisis. As schools in different parts of India were shut down due to coronavirus outbreak, Byju's made its learning app free for the students till the end of April 2020, so that student's can enjoy uninterrupted learning.

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About Chayanika Goswami

  • Assam