How BYJU's Became the Most Valued Startup of India?

Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee Rishabh Rathi Rishabh Rathi
Nov 26, 2021 17 min read
How BYJU's Became the Most Valued Startup of India?

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by BYJU's.

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, but this is not the same with you because you cannot understand an inch of the explanation going on in the class. 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 Edtech sector is growing fast enough to fill this gap. And talking about Edtech 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's was founded in the year 2011 by Byju Raveendran. He 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 The Learning App was launched in 2015

Let's go through the Exciting Journey of BYJU's and also discover more about BYJU's Success Story, Latest News, History, Founders, Funding, Revenue, Competitors, Acquisitions, and more.

BYJU's Journey
Timeline of BYJU's Success Story

BYJU's - Company Highlights

Startup Name BYJU'S
Headquarter Bangalore
Founder Byju Raveendran
Sector Edtech
Founded 2011
Valuation $16.5 Billion (April 2021)
Total Funding $2.9 Billion (September 2021)
Parent Organization Think and Learn Private Ltd

BYJU's - Latest News
BYJU's Collaborates with NITI Aayog
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
BYJU's - Challenges faced by BYJU's
BYJU's - Competitors/Alternatives
BYJU's - Revenue and Valuation
BYJU's - Acquisitions
BYJU's - Growth

BYJU's - Latest News

November 26, 2021 - Byju's is looking to acquire Superset, a university recruitment platform from Bengaluru, as per sources close to the companies.

November 22, 2021 - Byju's is all set to acquire Hello English. The acquisition of the language learning platform will stand as the 10th Byju's acquisition in 2021.

October 14, 2021 - Byju's pilots a unique hybrid model for its 100 million users, with the help of which the students can opt for physical/offline education centers for their classes.

September 17, 2021 - BYJU's partners with NITI Aayog, the Public policy think tank of the government of India, to extend a quality tech-driven program for children across 112 districts of the country for free.  

September 1, 2021 - BYJU's reports an 81% surge in its revenues and around 152% increase in its profits in the fiscal year 2019-2020.

June 21, 2021 - BYJU's raises another $50 million from India Infoline Finance Limited (IIFL) and Maitri Edtech.

June 2021 - BYJU'S turns the most valued startup of India, surpassing Paytm. The Bangalore-based startup raises $350 million in the recent round of funding led by the UBS Group and Zoom founder, Eric Yuan, Blackstone, and other companies that valued the company at $16.5 billion.

April 8, 2021 - BYJU’S launches global one-on-one learning platform ‘BYJU’S Future School’. The new platform will be available in 6 countries - USA, UK, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.

April 7, 2021 - BYJU’s is all set to go public before April 2023

January 13, 2021 - BYJU’s signed a deal to acquire brick & mortar test prep leader Aakash Educational Services Ltd. for $1 billion. Aakash Institute has 200+ brick and mortar centers and tutors students to get admission to engineering and medical schools.

November 2020 - BYJU's hit $12 Billion valuation in its recent round of funding of $200 million led by BlackRock and T Rowe Price

September 2020 - BYJU's acquired LabInApp, a startup that offers lab-like simulations for science students on a mobile app, for an undisclosed value. Also BYJU's raised $500 Million as a fresh funding round from Silver Lake.

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.

June 2020 - BYJU's 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. 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.

BYJU's Collaborates with NITI Aayog

Byju Raveendran-led Edtech giant partners with the Indian government's public policy think tank. This partnership aims to foster a quality learning experience through tech-driven learning programs, which will be extended to children across 112 "aspirational districts" of the country. The "aspirational districts", as mentioned, are the most developmentally challenged regions of the country across sectors like health, nutrition, education, agriculture, skill development, water resources, infrastructure, and more.

This partnership will also be responsible for setting a dedicated working group up to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the program in full, according to a statement released on September 17, 2021.

This collaboration will be comprised of 2 main components:

  • The Career Plus program of Byju's will offer high-quality coaching to around 3000 students of Classes 11 and 12, who are aspiring to appear for NEET and JEE.
  • Another voluntary program will allow school-going children between Classes (6-12) to avail themselves of scholastic content from Byju's Learning App for 3 years, as per the social impact initiative undertaken by the edtech giant named, Education for all.

On this, Byju's Founder and CEO, Byju Raveendran said,

“Through our ‘Education for All’ programme, we have been empowering and impacting millions of children across the country, and by partnering with NITI Aayog, our efforts are being strengthened further.”

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 sportsperson, 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 Kerala, 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 Tagline
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

BYJU's Total Funding to date is around $3.19 Billion with the latest infusion of around $296 million (Rs 2200 crores) from more than a dozen investors, on October 4, 2021, at a valuation of $18 bn. The Edtech giant raised its previous funding from 3 investors, as per reports on September 8, 2021. ARK Ncore, Asmaan Ventures, and Mirae Asset led the earlier round of funding.

The Edtech giant seems to be on a fundraising spree as it has already raised around $2 billion in 2021 alone. It has previously mopped up $350 million led by UBS Group, Zoom founder, Blackstone, and around $50 million from IIFL and Maitri Edtech. Furthermore, BYJU's is in talks to raise another $1.5 billion in the upcoming months at a valuation of over $21 billion.

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.

The table below covers BYJU's funding details.

Date Stage Amount Lead Investors
September 8, 2021 - $150 Million Asmaan Ventures, Mirae Asset, ARK Ncore
June 21, 2021 Series F $50 Million IIFL and Maitri Edtech
June 12, 2021 Series F $350 Million UBS Group, Eric Yuan, Blackstone
March 29, 2021 Series F $460 Million MC Global Edtech Investment Holdings
September 8, 2020 Private Equity Round $500 Million Silver Lake
August 26, 2020 Venture Round $122 Million DST Global
June 26, 2020 Venture Round $100 Million Bond
January 9, 2020 Private Equity Round $200 Million Tiger Global Management
July 10, 2019 Venture Round $150 Million Qatar Investment Authority
March 22, 2019 Private Equity Round $31 Million General Atlantic & Tencent Holdings
December 11, 2018 Venture Round $ 540 Million Prosus & Naspers
August 2017 Corporate Round $40 Million Tencent Holdings
March 2017 Series F $30 Million Verlinvest
December 2016 Series E $15 Million IFC Venture Capital Group & InnoVen Capital
September 2016 Series D $50 Million Chan Zuckerberg Initiative & Sequoia Capital India
March 2016 Series C $75 Million Sequoia Capital India & Sofina

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.

BYJU's - 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 FY 2017-2018, and it increased to Rs 1,430 crore in FY 2018-2019. The revenue of the firm for the fiscal year, 2019-2020, was finally revealed on September 1, 2021, where it reported an 81% surge in its revenue, which shot to Rs 2,434 Cr (FY20).

September 2021 - BYJU's valuation was estimated at $16.87 billion after the recent round of funding of $150 million.

June 2021 - BYJU's was valued at $16.5 Billion and became the most valued startup of India after the recent round of funding by UBS Group, Eric Yuan, Blackstone, and others.

November 2020 - BYJU's hit $12 Billion valuation in its recent round of funding of $200 million led by BlackRock and T Rowe Price.

BYJU's - Acquisitions

BYJU's has acquired a total number of 18 companies to date. With a total of 9 acquisitions under its belt in 2021, Byju's had spent over $2.4 Bn owing to its aggressive acquisition spree, which the company has embraced eyeing a unilateral market. Tynker is the last company that Byju's acquired on September 16, 2021.

Byju's previously acquired the e-learning app for competitive exam preparations, Toppr, and Edtech app, Great Learning on July 24, 2021, and then Whodat.

Byju's was in final talks of acquiring the online tutoring platform, Vedantu. The Edtech giant had already displayed a vibrant year of acquisition so doubts were relatively lesser on the same. According to the reports, the Byju Raveendran-led company had already offered an amount of $700-800 million for the deal, which was pending necessary regulatory approvals. Vedantu has been among the most prominent rivals of Byju's, and if the deal fleshed out, it would have been another feather to the cap of Byju's, being the fourth major acquisition of the company so far. However, Byju's acquisition of Vedantu was dismissed by the co-founder and chief executive of Vedantu, Vamsi Krishna, who said that any talks of merger or acquisition with Byju's are "100% inaccurate,” as per the reports on August 6, 2021.

Though the Edtech major has reportedly reached out to Unacademy and Vedantu and offered them around $1 billion last year, none of the deals have materialized this year. However, Byju's was then in talks to acquire Tynker, a coding platform for kids from the US. The talks were at their initial stage, with no confirmation of the figures of the deal, when reported on August 17, 2021.

Byju's has been ultimately successful in materializing yet another acquisition, where it has acquired Tynker on September 16, 2021, for $200 mn. Tynker Founder and CTO, Srinivas Mandyam has stated that the platform is so popular in the US that 1 in 3 schools already use it in the States. This will surely give Byju's an extra edge for its expansion in North America.

The Edtech decacorn is now looking to acquire Hello English, according to the news dated November 22, 2021, confirmed by sources close to the company. The sources on request of anonymity have also claimed that the deal will reportedly be valued at $25 mn. Furthermore, they added that the term sheet has already been signed.

Hello English [formerly known as CultureAlley] is an eight-year-old cloud-based language learning platform that extends the facility of learning multiple languages for the users including English, Chinese, Portuguese, Turkish, Nepali, Indonesian, Thai, Arabic, Malay, Urdu, Malay, Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and more. The acquisition of Hello English would be a landmark step and will signal the foray of the Edtech tech into the language learning space.

Byju's is also reported to be acquiring Superset and is currently involved in the late-stage conversation to finalize the terms, according to sources close to the companies on request of anonymity. Superset is a campus recruitment platform from Bangalore that aims to streamline the campus hiring process, thereby making placements an easy affair for colleges, universities, and companies. It is also alleged that the Superset founding duo, Naman Agrawal and Pranjal Goswami will also join Byju's if the deal takes shape.

Here are the details of all BYJU's Acquisitions:

Date Company About Company Value
January 2017
Vidyartha A customised learning guidance platform for K8-K12 students $6.71 million
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
January 2021 Aakash Educational Services Ltd Helps students get admission to engineering and medical schools by providing coaching for entrance exams $1 Billion
February 18, 2021 Scholr Mumbai-based Ai-enabled online education platform $2.4 million
May 29, 2021 HashLearn Online coaching platform for competitive exams Undisclosed
July 13, 2021 Gradeup India's largest online exam preparation website Undisclosed
July 13, 2021 Toppr Online learning app offering training in JEE Main, NEET, JEE Advanced, CBSE and other school exams Undisclosed
July 21, 2021 Epic California-based reading application that focuses on books, eBooks, learning, and educational technology $500 million
July 24, 2021 Great Learning Edtech platform that offers career-relevant courses from world-class universities Undisclosed
August 4, 2021 Whodat Tech A spatial mapping, computer vision and augmented reality startup based out of Bangalore Undisclosed
September 16, 2021 Tynker Tynker is a US-based coding platform that empowers kids to learning programming and code. $200 million

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.

BYJU's target was to double its revenue to $1 billion in the financial year that ended in March 2021, which it did effortlessly. The company further announced that its revenues rose by 81% to Rs 2,434 crore in the fiscal year 2019-2020. Furthermore, with the start of the next financial year, money has already started pouring in for BYJU's. With the latest tranche of investment from the UBS Group, Eric Yuan, Blackstone, and others, the Bangalore-based startup has been successful in raising around $350 Million. This fresh round of investment of June 2021 that valued the Edtech giant at $16.5 Billion, geared BYJU's ahead of Paytm, which was valued at $16 Billion, to the crown position, making it the most valued startup of India.

BYJU's finally revealed the growth it achieved in the fiscal year 2019-2020. Here's a look at some key highlights:

  • The revenue of BYJU's surged around 81% to Rs 2,434 crores.
  • The company's net profit has witnessed a 152% jump.
  • BYJU's expenses were noted to be Rs 2,383 crores.
  • The company's earnings from global operations rose to Rs 306 crores, which was only Rs 168 crores when reported in FY 2018-19.

Byju's is eyeing an IPO within the next 8-10 months. Byju Raveendran-led edtech unicorn is India's second-highest valued startup, which has already been popular in the startup ecosystem for its fundraises and acquisitions and is currently looking for an IPO at over $16.8 bn.

Furthermore, BYJU's aims to identify and provide test preparation coaching to 3,000 meritorious students of classes 11 and 12, who aspire to appear for NEET and JEE, with the help of the Aakash+BYJU’S Career-Plus program. Additionally, the Edtech giant will also offer academic content with the help of BYJU’S Learning App for the school children studying in classes 6-12 standards for three years, under its social impact initiative called ‘Education for All’.

Byju's has started offering a hybrid model where the students can embrace physical/offline education centers for their classes, as of October 2021. The all-new hybrid model of education has already been kickstarted, the success of which would make the Edtech decacorn scale it up around the nation. The hybrid learning centers would be dubbed as "BYJU’S Learning Centre" and would initially concentrate on Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics.


When did BYJU's Start?

BYJU's was founded in the year 2011.

What is BYJU's Tagline?

BYJU's tagline is "Fall in love with learning"

Why is BYJU's Successful?

BYJU's functions on a Freemium Business Model. The approach of BYJU's in providing knowledge with highly creative visual content, one-on-one learning and other facilities has led to the success of BYJU's. BYJU's has been able to rightly blend the technology and knowledge to today's generation.

Who is the Owner of BYJU's?

Byju Raveendran founded BYJU's in 2011. Think and Learn Private Ltd is the parent organization of BYJU's.

How much is BYJU's Revenue?

BYJU's reported revenue was Rs 490 crore during FY 2017-2018, which increased to Rs 1,430 crore during FY 2018-2019. Byju's has currently reported a revenue of Rs 2,800 Cr (2020).

Who are the competitors of BYJU's?

BYJU’s major competitors are, Vedantu, Teachable, Khan Academy, Simplilearn, Schoolwise, and Toppr.

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