Byju Raveendran started BYJU’s in the year 2011. According to Forbes’ list of India’s 100 Richest People, he is the country’s youngest billionaire, with a net worth of $3.05 billion (2020). The Learning App by BYJU was launched in 2015 and is now the most valuable startup in India, with a valuation of $22 billion.
BYJU’s, a Bangalore-based educational technology platform, is an online tutoring and coaching company that was founded in 2011 and operates on a freemium model. ‘Think and Learn Pvt Ltd’ is BYJU’s parent firm. BYJU’s major goal is to give online video lectures for school students as well as people preparing for competitive exams such as IIT-JEE, NEET, CAT, GRE, and GMAT.
The Learning app from BYJU was launched in 2015 and has been a big hit. It has 9,00,000 paid customers and is used by more than 15 million students around the world. Instead of being spoon-fed, the software encourages children to learn on their own. Its strategy incorporates learning re-invention, world-class teachers, tried-and-true pedagogical methodologies, and personalised learning.
Founder and Team
Byju Raveendran is the founder of BYJU’s Classes, an education technology company with the slogan “Fall in love with learning.”
BYJU’s founder and CEO, Byju Raveendran, was born in Azhikode, Kerela, in 1980. He graduated from Government Engineering College in Kannur, Kerela, with a B.Tech in mechanical engineering. Byju Raveendran worked as a service engineer for a multinational shipping company before founding BYJU’s. However, teaching was his true calling, which led him to start BYJU’s.
Byju Raveendran is an expert sportsperson who participates in six different sports in addition to being an entrepreneur and instructor. At the university level, he participated in football, cricket, table tennis, and badminton. Byju sir, as he is known among his students, cleared the CAT twice with a perfect score. However, he never enrolled in any IIM.
How did it all start?
Byju Raveendran, a native of Azhikode, a small hamlet in Kerala, worked as an engineer for a shipping company in the United Kingdom. While working, he began assisting his friends in preparing for the CAT exam, an entrance exam for admission to India’s top business schools. Byju took the exam to put himself to the test and received a perfect score! He did not enrol in any of the IIMs and instead began tutoring kids in preparation for their mathematics examinations.
He took free mathematics workshops at first, then began charging a fee once he was confident in his abilities. His workshops were so popular at one point that more than 20000 students attended one of them.
He began filming movies of the classes he was organizing in 2009.
Former IIM students pushed him to enroll in BYJU classes. The company ‘Think and Learn Pvt Ltd’ was founded to create educational content for pupils. In 2015, he released Byju’s – The Learning App, which was downloaded by over 5.5 million people in its first year.
Byju’s operates on a freemium business model, which means it provides both free and paid (premium) services to its users. The company requests that students fill out an application or visit their website and then offers them a free 15-day trial. Once the free trial period has expired, the student must purchase the courses from BYJU to gain access to the full content. The company gives one-on-one mentoring to its subscribers as well as feedback to the parents of the children. BYJU’s also provides classroom instruction in Noida, Gurgaon, and other cities.
BYJU’s makes money in three different ways:
- The first method is to use the app. Students must purchase the courses after the 15-day free trial to continue their educational journey on BYJU’s. The app provides a range of test series, courses, and other features that entice users to pay.
- Customers must purchase electronic tablets from BYJU’s when they purchase the course of their choosing. This tablet contains the course’s videos, tests, practice questions, quizzes, and other materials.
- Classroom teaching is the third revenue-generating strategy. These classes are only available in a few cities.
Funding made by the Edtech Giant
BYJU’s recently raised $800 million in funding on March 11, 2022, with $400 million coming from a variety of investors including Sumeru Ventures, Vitruvian Partners, and BlackRock, with the remaining $400 million coming from Byju Raveendran, the company’s CEO. At the end of the financing, Byju’s valuation is expected to be $22 billion.
On November 8, 2021, the Edtech behemoth raised $1.2 billion with a loan deal. On October 4, 2021, Byju’s raised $286.61 million (Rs 2200 crores) from over a dozen investors at a valuation of $18 billion.
The Edtech behemoth appears to be on a fundraising binge, having raised nearly $2 billion in just 2021.
It earlier raised $350 million from UBS Group, Blackstone founder Zoom, and roughly $50 million from IIFL and Maitri Edtech.
BYJU’s was the first Asian startup to get money from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, which was founded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan in 2016.
After a $150 million round of fundraising in September 2021, BYJU was valued at $16.87 billion, up from $16.5 billion in June 2021, and became India’s most valuable startup after the funding round sponsored by UBS Group, Eric Yuan, Blackstone, and others.
Competitors and Challenges
After the free trial period, turning students to paid subscribers is a huge problem for BYJU. The company is also looking to grow to additional English-speaking nations, and the second problem is finding acceptable partners to help with this expansion.
People are rapidly adopting e-learning as a result of this transformation, and many other organisations with a business model similar to BYJU’s are focusing on ed-tech. BYJU’s main rivals include:
- Khan Academy