Byju’s Edutech startup story
- Abhinav Mishra
- Expert +
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Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world – Nelson Mandela
Very few people would leave their full time job to become a teacher. Byju Raveendran is one among them who left his international job as a service engineer and turned a teacher. At start, the things were different for him as they are today. He is an entrepreneur by chance and teacher by choice.
It all started in 2003 when he was on a break from his regular job and wanted to help some of his friends to clear CAT examination. Just to get an idea how it all works he also appeared for the exams and guess what – he scored a perfect 100 percentile. Those who have appeared for CAT would know what it means. This was not by chance as again in 2005 he appeared for the exams and got 100 percentile and interview calls from IIM A,B, C. He cleared all three interviews but decided against joining any of those premium institutes.
He started working as a full time teacher never looking back at what he left behind. It took him some time reaching where he wanted to but he did eventually. In 2007 number of students coming to him increased to 1000. He would teach them in an auditorium. It would be wrong if you assume that he was just another teacher. What differentiated him from others was the method he used to teach any concept. To quote him from one of the interviews,
‘We were forced to innovative to teach in a non-interactive way and predict what kind of doubts the student can have. Back then, even in the offline format with classrooms with a large capacity no interaction was possible. So, to visualise and conceptualise became our strengths.’
His reach moved to other cities very quickly and in 2007 he was travelling to 9 cities every week to take classes and he continued doing it for next 2 years.
For a man coming from a small village Azhikode in Kerala’s Kannur District and having studied in Malayalam-medium school achieving what he has today surely deserves some mentioning. Both his parents were teacher in the same school where he studied and in initial days he was interested in sports, not one but 6 different kind of sports including football, cricket and badminton, at the university level.
Coming back to his journey as a teacher – it was in 2011 that he formed a company with help of some of his IIM students who have passed by then. He started building learning products once the company was formed and it took them close to 4 years in creating them. The product was for students from 4 to 12 standard and they made sure any student using it should enjoy his learning and education for all should become interesting than a burden.
His all focus is on creating content which will make student ‘fall in love with learning’ which is also tagline of Byju’s company. He thinks technology is only tool which can help in achieving this. He says,
‘That’s the only thing which can be sustained over a long period of time. If you’re forcing them to learn, they might do it for two-three years.’
The company is doing great in terms of growth, it has over 4 million free version download and close to 1,60,000 paid users across all flatforms and it has a growth of 15 percent month-on-month in terms of acquiring students.
Byju’s recently raised a funding of $75 million from venture capitalists Sequoia Capital and Sofina which is largest for any Indian Edtech startup. The other investors are Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s investment arm The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Lightspeed Ventures and Times Internet Ltd.
What could be more motivating for the team than Mark Zukerberg writing on his wall about this startup sometime back,
‘So far, BYJU’s has 250,000 subscribers who use the app for an average of 40 minutes a day — and it’s working. A survey found that almost 80 percent of parents said it improved their children’s learning dramatically.’
The company will only grow with time and it has set up great example for all coaching and training centers in India. You have to differentiate yourself from the others and ‘really’ help students understand the concept and help them clear exams. If you can offer them a medium which will make learning fun for them, this is huge industry and success is bound to come to you.
Check this out and you will see how simple can learning be -