Byju’s journey from small classroom business to $670 million edutech empire
Founded in 2011, BYJU’s is an e-learning center which focuses on the k-12 segment. The business is responsible for teaching 2000 CAT applicants in 2008 and conducting workshops for 20000 students in stadiums. From being just another coaching for students preparing for IIM entrance, BYJU’s has transformed into an e-learning company who has created a personalized mobile learning app for students. This company makes use of informative content and learning videos which uses interactive simulations and hacks that help students in memorizing and learning through the app.
The idea of this e-learning venture came in the founder’s mind due to the rising demand for easily accessible and innovative educational materials.
BYJU’s Timeline and Lesser Known Facts
- After being established in 2011, BYJU’s started its operations with specialization in the K-12 segment and formed a panel of experts to create e-learning content.
- In 2014, BYJU introduced its first-ever learning program on tablets for students from grades 8–12.
- In 2015, BYJU’s introduced its first-ever mobile application which was downloaded by 2 million users in just three months
- After its launch in 2015, BYJU’s app has been downloaded for over 6 million times.
- Till November 2016, the e-learning company had 320,000 active users.
- BYJU’s app has received accolades from students and parents in improving grades.
- A recent survey has stated that a student spends 40 minutes everyday on the app every day!
- In 2017, BYJU’s has added syllabus for fourth and fifth graders and they currently have a whopping 8 million users on board.
- BYJU’s is now a well -known name in the Indian in the Indian education technology industry. The company mostly teaches math and science to children from classes 6–12. The e-learning platform also offers preparation material for a series of entrance exams.
- In March 2017, a case study about Byju’s entered Harvard Business School. The study was called BYJU’s The Learning App, written by Rachna Tahilyani and John Jong-Hyun Kim. This case study focuses on the formation of the app and the difference it has made in along with the use of the app for students across the globe.
- BYJU’s has 400000 users who have paid for the subscription. The app is useful for students from class 4–12 as well as other entrance exams namely CAT, GRE, JEE, IAS, NEET and GMAT.
- Recently BYJU’s has taken their brand a notch higher by signing famous actor Shahrukh Khan to endorse its brand.
Products and services
The main product of the company is the app which is called BYJU’S-The Learning App. Available for download on iOS and Android phones, the app was introduced in 2015. Apart from classes 4–12, this app is used by aspirants attempting exams namely IAS, CAT, IIT-JEE, GRE and GMAT.
The app comprises of videos in which maths and science concepts are explained. This is done by utilizing animations and illustrations. The app is extensively used and praised but a few users have also reported lack of detailed information in a few areas and absence of interactive mediums in the lecture. The app has a retention rate of 80–90% students annually.
How to use Byju’s App
- Download app on iOS and Android platforms
- The app has a neat classification of classes 6–10 and 11–12. Groups for exams namely CAT, GMAT, GRE, CBSE, IAS, JEE and MED have also been created.
- You will have to fill in details such as Name, Number, City and E-Mail after which you will receive a 4-digit authentication code.
- You can then navigate to the learning videos meant for each class or category.
- The videos utilize interesting animations and engaging content to ensure the student understands the concept in a fun way!
6. To view more videos, you will have to purchase subscription plans which begin at Rs 199 and go as high as 12000 for annual subscriptions depending on the class and subjects.
Valued at $670, million, BYJU’s has made a single acquisition by taking over TutorVista’s 70% stake hold. This move was made with the intention to venture into the much popular tutorial market in the USA. The company was previously bought by Pearson in 2013 for $213 million. This acquisition will strengthen BYJU’S ties Internationally as well as TutorVista has 2000 teachers from various countries such as China, Australia, UK, USA and Asia due to which the company has successfully delivered 5 million videos to students.
Edurite which was acquired by the TutorVista in 2007 is also a part of this acquisition. The latter company is well known for its learning CDs which promotes cognitive learning. The company specializes in online courses for CBSE and State board.
After Tutor Vista, Byju’s acquired Bangalore based career guidance and academic building company Vidyartha for 50 crores. This company was established by Priya Mohan in 2011 and it worked as a platform for guiding students by collaborating with 2000 schools. It has also tie-up with CBSE to create aptitude tests. The company has raised $155 million in funding so far.
The founder of this venture is BYJU Raveendran. Born to a school teacher, BYJU has extensive experience in working as a service engineer for shipping companies. Raveendran started helping his friends in preparing for entrance tests like CAT during his free time. He started this Educational technology firm under the tagline “Fall in Love with Learning”. He developed his business with the aim of helping CAT Aspirants in scoring well in their exams by unraveling the concept of each question.
Raveendran has stated that he derived the idea of starting the business when his friends approached him to help them in cracking their CAT exam has he had many hacks for the same. Apart from helping his friends, he also casually took the exam to see how the experience was. He scored full marks and was approached by IIMs.
When the results were announced, Raveendran’s friends had scored 100 percentiles as well. Taking inspiration from this, BYJU began workshops on the weekends. He also booked auditoriums with seating capacity of 1200 to conduct classes and by the 6th week, the place was packed to its fullest capacity. This was a new beginning for BYJU Raveendran!
Board of Directors
Members on Byju’s board currently comprise of the following members: –
- Byju Raveendran: He is the founder of the company and he draws an annual gross salary of Rs 68,52,040
- Divya Gokulnath: Byju Raveendran’s wife and a director at Byju’s, she draws 31 lakhs annually.
- Riju Raveendran: Brother of Byju, he is also a director of the company and he draws Rs 42,12,706
Apart from the above-mentioned directors, Byju’s has Ganapathyagraharam Venkataraman Ravishankar from Sequoia Capital, Vivian Wu from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Anandamoy Roychowdhary, as a technical advisor on board. These people have been roped in lieu of investments from their respective companies in Byju’s
The headquarter office of BYJU’s is located at Bannerghatta Main Road, Bengaluru and it comprises of two floors. The second floor of the building holds the sales unit of the -learning company with reps making sales calls. At least 500 reps are hired from colleges every year on a stipend of 25000 out of which 250 are confirmed with a 6 lakhs annual package. At present, the sales unit of BYJU’s comprises of 600 people.
Other departments of the team include the BYJU’s content team which has 500 employees. The place houses various graphic designers, copywriters, and musicians who produce content with a team effort. The process requires extensive effort from all these people who also double as teachers.
Apart from Bangalore, the e-learning company has centers in Chennai, NCR, New Delhi and UAE. Byju’s also has franchises in many states cities such as Pune, Chandigarh, Surat, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.
Investors and Funding Stage
As BYJU’s grew as a company, investors multiplied as well. The company has been associated with some renowned companies who have backed the e-learning initiative. It is well known as a top grosser of the e-learning industry in India where attracting foreign investors is concerned. Last year the company raised $140 million from top 3 investors and this funding has accelerated valuation of the company to $500 million which is much higher than $160 million in 2015.
2011: Aarin Capital invested $9,000,000 in the company
2013: Byju’s received its second round of funding yet again from Aarin Capital which was worth $25,000,000.
March 2016: The company received funding from Sequoia Capital and Belgian firm Sofinaworth $75 million. This move was etched in the history of EdTech as it is the biggest investment ever received by any e-learning company in India
September 2016: BYJU’s biggest triumph was when the company pocketed 50 million dollars from Chan Zuckerberg initiative in 2016. This organization has been formed by the founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.
December 2016: In December 2016, IFC invested $15 million in Byju’s. This company is a part of the World Bank Group.
March 2017: Byju’s (Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd) has also raised $30 million from Brussels based company Verlinvest. Established in 1995, this company manages €1.4 billion assets.
August 2017: Continuing its fundraising spree, Byju’s also managed to rake in $40 million investment from Tencent which a Chinese internet conglomerate. The company has also invested in other big names including Practo and Flipkart.
Byju’s Revenue Growth
BYJU’s has exhibited substantial growth as far as revenue is concerned. The company started with a meager amount of INR 2 lakhs and it has reached 120 crores today. Revenue earned by the company through all these years is as follows: –
- 2012- 4 crore
- 2013- 12 crore
- 2014- 20 crore
- 2015–48 crore
- 2016–120 crore
- 2017- 2x revenue expected
BYJU’s Business Model- How Does the Company Make Money?
BYJU’s follows a freemium business model. For those who are not aware of this term, this model is a pricing strategy which offers a product for free with extra money being charged for utilizing features of the product.
- On an average, BYJU’s annual fee for the k-12 app is Rs 10,000. This app forms a major part of the company’s revenue.
- However, there are other packages for offline coaching as well. Approximately 80000 or more is charged for a four-subject package. The online course is included in the offline model.
- According to BYJU, videos are the biggest source of their advancement. These videos help them in advancing towards their goal thereby contributing to successful conversions. The videos are free for the first 15 days after which the user has to pay in order to continue services.
- The impact of their success is gauged by two measures namely engaging content and the retention. For instance, when a student spends a substantial amount of time on a particular video, the value created will make a parent opt for the subscription. The second measure comes into effect when the company is able to retain their app user year after year thereby leading to a renewal of the subscription.
- According to BYJU, the secret behind their success is their strong business model which was enhanced consistently according to the changing trends.
- The company reportedly utilizes 20% of its revenues for marketing campaigns which gives the company a substantial ROI. This is a good amount spent on advertising when compared to many companies who just spend 5% on their publicity.
In 2017, BYJU’s aims to venture into the USA and other international markets like the Middle East. The companies believe that the US is a hub for e-learning activities and is continuously striving to improvise their education methods in order to help facilitate better learning. The country is also ready to invest for such causes and has a better online payment system. The company also plans to explore smaller towns and cities of India. BYJU’s has also successfully completed bigger orders to places like Jammu and Kashmir.
Originally published at startupbase.in on January 4, 2018.