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BYJU’S Rise to Head Master in Indian Edtech

Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of BYJU’S is such an effective teacher that what began as tutoring friends culminated in India’s biggest, most disruptive edtech app, BYJU’S.

Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of BYJU’S is such an effective teacher that what began as tutoring friends culminated in India’s biggest, most disruptive edtech app, BYJU’S.

“I am an engineer by chance, but a teacher by choice. It’s something I realized after I started to teach. Because of the impact it made, it [BYJU’S] has become a business today,” says Raveendran.

BYJU’S tenets are one with its founder’s secret to being a great teacher.

“Our approach has been very simple – help children learn right in their formative years. Help children imbibe the culture of learning on their own rather than spoon feeding them.

We need to bring back childlike curiosity by creating products that students will like,” says Raveendran, who as a student himself had no patience for bookish learning preferring to go play football and test his knowledge of physics figuring out what angle the ball must be kicked at, to achieve a projectile which would carry it to a goal post several meters away.

India has the largest K-12 education system in the world with over 260 million enrolments but never fails to rank low in all global education indexes.

To Raveendran, encouraging children to learn on their own, at a pace suited to them is the only way to increase the standards of educational excellence. In addition, “technology in education plays a massive role. It is phenomenal to see how the Indian edtech ecosystem has been using technology as an enabler, said Raveendran.

BYJU’S today offers a combination of teachers, video lessons and interactive games to deliver personalized learning, feedback and assessments. Using technology, the company is solving core problems like access to quality teachers across geographies and has personalized learning according to the learning style of every student.

A testament to edtech’s prowess lies in how Raveendran’s venture went from teaching 20,000 students in auditoriums to teaching millions of students through the BYJU’S app.

Launched in 2011, during 2016-2017, BYJU’S YoY revenue was Rs 260 crore, up from the previous year's Rs 115 crore. There are over 100 million lessons watched and average time spent daily on the app is 40 minutes with user retention rates at 90 per cent - an indicator that many users find BYJU’S effective enough to stay with it.

The app is markedly popular among K-12 students with over 9 million downloads, and 450,000 annual paid users; 40,000 paid users are added every month. Today, almost 70 per cent of the users come from outside the top 10 cities.

As the cherry on top, BYJU’S has raised approximately 200 million dollars from leading institutions like the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative; World Bank’s IFC; TV Mohandas Pai’s Aarin Capital, and Sequoia Capital. In July 2017, BYJU’S announced Tencent, Asia’s most valuable internet company, coming in as an investor. The media are calling BYJU’S the next billion dollar company.

“For me, the real fun is not in creating a billion dollar company but changing the way millions of students learn,” says he.

Global expansion is on the cards. BYJU’S has already acquired TutorVista and Edurite from Pearson.

Raveendran continues to the end of this story, “With the recent rounds of funding, our focus is to create similar products for international markets. We want to capitalize on core strengths developed in the last four years. We see a potential for our product globally. Currently, there is nothing like BYJU’s app in the global market.

We are our biggest competition and the focus is to outplay ourselves every time with new innovations that make learning more fun.”

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