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. It appears that everyone else is understanding the teacher's words and nodding their head in unison, you are feeling a bit off beat as the explanation is simply going over your head. Does this scenario resonate with you? Whether you accept it or not, such situations have happened at least once in a student's life. Every person has his or her pace of learning, and it is not possible for the teacher to take care of each one in the class.

Thankfully, the ed-tech sector is growing fast enough to fill this gap. And talking about ed-tech in India, one name that can't be missed is BYJU’s. Read on to find out how an engineer's passion for teaching led him to start the world’s most valued ed-tech company.

Byju Raveendran, founder of BYJU's, is India's youngest billionaire with a net worth of $3.05 billion as per Forbes list of India's 100 Richest People (2020).

BYJU's - Company Highlights

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

BYJU's - Latest News | Latest Funding | Latest Aquisition
About BYJU's and How BYJU's Works
BYJU's Founder
How was BYJU's Started
BYJU's - Name, Logo, and Tagline
BYJU's - Business Model and Revenue Model
BYJU's - Funding and Investors
Challenges faced by BYJU's
BYJU's - Competitors/Alternatives
BYJU's - Revenue and Valuation
BYJU's - Acquisitions
BYJU's - Growth

BYJU's - Latest News | Latest Funding Round | Latest Aquisition

In response to schools being shut down due to COVID-19, BYJU’S has made content on its learning app free for all students. In the past year, the platform has seen tremendous growth and now has over 57 million registered students, more than 3.5 million paid subscribers, and annual renewal rates as high as 85 percent.

Bengaluru-based ed-tech platform said that it has raised a new round of funding. The company has raised money from the first-ever female-founded VC firmBOND’. The funding amount was not disclosed. The $1.25Bn VC fund was co-founded by Mary Meeker, writer of the influential ‘Internet Trends’ report and former Kleiner Perkins member.

This is BOND's first investment in India. Its founding partners have backed industry pioneers such as Spotify, Square, Peloton, DocuSign, Uber, and many others.

“This partnership is a testament to the role that Byju's is playing in helping students learn better by customizing our platform to their abilities. It also demonstrates the rising global interest in education technology as digital learning becomes increasingly accepted and embraced”, said BYJU’s founder Byju Raveendran.

According to reports, the current valuation of BYJU's stands at $10.5 billion. If it is true, BYJU’s will now mark its entry into the super-exclusive ‘Decacornclub, an unofficial term used for private companies valued at $10 billion or more.

“Endorsed by millions of students, BYJU’s has emerged as a clear leader in education technology,” said Mary Meeker, General Partner at BOND. “We are excited to support a visionary like Byju and his team in their quest to continue to innovate and shape the future of education.”

With this fundraise, BYJU’s has now become the second most valued startup from India, edging ahead of Oyo Rooms, the now troubled budget hotel chain. At present, digital payments giant Paytm is leading the way with a $16 billion market valuation.

On August 2020, BYJU’s acquired edtech startup WhiteHat Jr. for $300 million for an all-cash deal. This makes the 18-month-old Mumbai-headquartered WhiteHat Jr. that offers online coding classes to school-going students in India and the U.S. the fastest exit story at this size in the Indian startup ecosystem. WhiteHat Jr. will continue to operate as a separate entity for now.

“WhiteHat Jr is the leader in the live online coding space. Karan has proven his mettle as an exceptional founder and the credit goes to him and his team for creating coding programs that are loved by kids. Under his leadership the company has achieved phenomenal growth in India and the US in a short span of time,” said Raveendran, Founder, BYJU's

In September 2020, BYJU's acquired LabInApp, a startup that offers lab-like simulations for science students on a mobile app, for an undisclosed value.

Acquisition of LabInApp by BYJU’s during the course of a global pandemic exemplifies the growth story of innovative ed-tech solutions. Unitus remains steadfast in mentoring early stage start-ups applying advanced technology to meet the needs of India’s lower-income populations,” said Will Poole, Managing Partner at Unitus Ventures

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.

BYJU's - the Learning app was launched in the year 2015 and 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 rely on spoon-feeding. Its approach combines the re-invention of learning, world-class teachers, proven pedagogical methods, and personalized learning.

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BYJU's Founder

Byju Raveendran is the founder of BYJU's Classes, the education Technology firm whose tagline/slogan is “Fall in love with learning”.

Byju Raveendran, BYJU's founder and CEO, was born in 1980 in Azhikode, Kerela. He has 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, teaching was his passion and inspired him to start BYJU's.

Byju Raveendran is founder and ceo of Byju
Byju Raveendran, Founder Byju's

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

How was BYJU's Started

Coming from Azhikode, a small village 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 prepare for the CAT exam, an entrance exam for getting into the best business schools of India. To test himself, Byju also gave the exam and secured 100 percentile! He did not join any of the IIMs but started teaching students for their mathematics exams.

Initially, he took mathematics workshops for free and then started charging a fee when he was confident about his prowess. At one point his workshops were so popular that more than 20000 students participated in one such workshop. In the year 2009, he started to record videos of the workshops he organized.

His former students who graduated from the IIMs encouraged him to start BYJU’s classes. ‘Think and Learn Pvt Ltd’ was then formed to create content for school students. He launched Byju’s – The Learning App in 2015, and the app was downloaded by more than 5.5 million people in the first year itself.

BYJU's tagline is "Fall in love with learning". Byju’s got its name from its founder's first name.

Byju's Logo
BYJU's Logo

BYJU's - Business Model and Revenue Model

Byju’s works on a freemium business model wherein it offers customers both complementary and paid (premium) services. The company asks the students to submit their details on its application or website and offers them a free 15 days trial. Once the free trial is exhausted, the student has to buy the courses from BYJU’s to access the complete content. 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 Noida, Gurgaon, and some other areas.

BYJU’s generates revenue in three ways:

  • The first one is through the app. After the free trial of 15 days, students have to purchase the courses to continue their educational journey on BYJU’s. The app offers a variety of test series, courses, etc. which actually compels people to make the purchase.
  • BYJU’s offers electronic tablets that customers need to procure when they buy the course of their choice. This tablet has the videos, tests, practice questions, quizzes, etc. pertaining to that course.
  • The third revenue generation mechanism is through classroom teaching. These classes are restricted to only a few cities.

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BYJU's - Funding and Investors

In the year 2016, BYJU's became the first company in Asia to receive funding from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, an initiative by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

BYJU's recently raised $500 million in September 2020 in a fresh financing round from Silver lake, a U.S. based private equity fund.

The table below covers BYJU's funding details.

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
August 2020 - $123 Million DST Global
September 2020 Fresh Financing Round $500 Million Silver Lake

In March 2017, a case study on BYJU's was featured in Harvard Business School's curriculum. It is indeed one of the biggest achievements for any company from a non-monetary perspective. 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 the free trial ends is a major challenge for BYJU's. The company is also working towards expanding to other English speaking countries, and finding suitable partners to assist with this expansion is the second challenge.

BYJU's - Competitors/Alternatives

People are rapidly moving towards digitization and adapting e-learning. Because of this revolution, many other companies with a model similar to BYJU’s are focusing on ed-tech. BYJU’s major competitors are, Vedantu, Teachable, Khan Academy, Simplilearn, Schoolwise, and Toppr.

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BYJU's - Revenue and Valuation

BYJU's reported revenue was Rs 490 crore in the FY 2017-2018, and it increased to Rs 1,430 crore in the FY 2018-2019.

After Tiger Global Management invested $200 million in January 2020, BYJU's was valued at $10.5 billion.

BYJU's - Acquisitions

BYJU's has acquired 6 companies to date.

Date Company About Company Value
January 2017
Vidyartha A customised learning guidance platform for K8-K12 students Rs. 50 crore
July 2017 TutorVista Online tutoring services platform Undisclosed
July 2017 Edurite Audio-visual educational content provider Undisclosed
July 2018 Math Adventures A platform that aids kids to learn math in a fun way Undisclosed
January 2019 Osmo Platform offers educational courses with the use of games, videos and other materials $120 million
August 2020 WhiteHat Jr. Offers online coding classes to school-going students in India and the US $300 million
September 2020 LabInApp Offers lab-like simulations for science students on a mobile app. Undisclosed

BYJU's - Growth

BYJU’s as a startup is pretty innovative and has garnered massive 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 captured the Indian market and has established its presence in the Middle East as well. BYJU's intends to expand to 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 an early learning app for classes 1-3.

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

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About Rishabh Rathi

Pre-Final Year Computer Science Undergrad and a freelancer.
  • Nagpur
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