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

Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee Rishabh Rathi Rishabh Rathi
Jul 4, 2022 20 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 and is currently noted as the most valuable startup from India with a valuation of $22 bn.

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 $22 Billion (March 2022)
Total Funding $2.9 Billion (September 2021)
Revenue $310.19 mn (Rs 2,381 Cr in FY20)
Parent Organization Think and Learn Private Ltd
Website byjus.com

About BYJU's and How BYJU's Works
BYJU's - Founders and Team
BYJU's - Startup Story | 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 - Acquisitions
BYJU's - Growth and Revenue
BYJU's - Partnerships
BYJU's - Future Plans

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 - Founders and Team

Byju Raveendran

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.

Divya Gokulnath

Divya Gokulnath - BYJU's Co-founder

An Indian entrepreneur and educator, Divya Gokulnath is the wife of Byju Raveendran and a co-founder and director at Byju's. Divya was a student of National College Jayanagar and R.V College of Engineering, from where she completed her B.Tech in Biotechnology after which she decided to co-found Byju's in 2011 with her husband.

Rachna Bahadur was appointed as the Senior VP of Byju's on December 10, 2021, who will look after the overall planning, strategies, and roadmap of Byju's both in new and existing markets. Rachna was previously a Partner at Bain & Company.

BYJU's - Startup Story | 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.

Here's the Byjus logo below:

BYJU's Logo

BYJU's - Business Model and Revenue Model

Byju’s works on a freemium business model wherein it offers customers both complimentary 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 has raised its recent round of funding worth $800 mn on March 11, 2022, where a range of investors including Sumeru Ventures, Vitruvian Partners, and BlackRock had infused $400 mn, and the remaining funding of $400 mn was infused by the Byju's boss, Byju Raveendran. Byju's valuation is now estimated to be $22 bn at the conclusion of the round.

Byju's CEO, Byju Raveendran, now holds close to 25% of the company's stakes, while Divya Gokulnath and the management team hold around 4% stakes.

The Edtech giant raised its previous funding from $1.2 bn via a debt financing on November 8, 2021. Byju's raised around $286.61 million (Rs 2200 crores) from more than a dozen investors, on October 4, 2021, at a valuation of $18 bn.

The Edtech giant seems to be on a fundraising spree as it has already raised over $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.

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.

BYJU's valuation was estimated at $16.87 billion after the September 2021's round of funding of $150 million prior to which it was valued at $16.5 Billion in June 2021 and became the most valued startup of India after the funding round led by UBS Group, Eric Yuan, Blackstone, and others. It was back in 2018 when Byju's turned unicorn. It was the 11th unicorn in India that year when Byju's joined the unicorn club of Indian startups.

The table below covers BYJU's funding details.

Date Stage Amount Lead Investors
March 11, 2022 - $800 Million Byju Raveendran, Sumeru Ventures, Vitruvian Partners and BlackRock
November 8, 2021 Debt Financing $1.2 Billion -
October 4, 2021 Series F $286.61 Million Oxshott Capital Partners
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 adopting 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:


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BYJU's - Acquisitions

BYJU's has acquired a total number of 19 companies to date. With a total of 10 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. Byju's acquired GeoGebra, an Austria-based Math learning tool startup on December 8, 2021 in a deal that was later recorded at around $100 mn. Founded by Markus Hohenwwarter in 2001, GeoGebra fuses geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics, and calculus on a platform that is easy to use and efficient. Besides, it boasts of having a community of 100 Mn+ learners across 195+ countries. As a platform GeoGebra aims to make math learning fun and visually appealing. This acquisition will thus make Byju's Math learning programs interesting and interactive.

Tynker was the last company that Byju's acquired before this present acquisition 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. Great Learning again acquired recruitment automation company, Superset on February 28, 2022. Byju's Great Learning acquired Northwest Executive Education on May 10, 2022, for around $100 mn, in a cash and stock deal. This acquisition would help both the companies further their offerings to markets like India, the US, Europe, and Latin America.  

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. Byju coding class along with Tynker and WhiteHat Jr. is meant to be something big in the long run.

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 for 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.

Byju's owned Aakash Institute back in January 2021, in a deal worth $1 bn, which was to be completed in June 2022, but the company is deferring the payment and have reportedly sought a two-month extension already, as per the reports dated June 29, 2022. Blackstone, which is Aakash's main investor and others are to be paid partly in cash and partly in Byju's stocks, as per the reports. Many other investors also received partial payments in 2021 as reported by the firm. The Byju's-Aakash deal, which was billed as the largest deal in the history of the Indian edtech space, declared previously that after the deal, Aakash Chaudhry and the Chaudhry family, who are the owners of the institute would completely exit the company. On the other hand, Blackstone, which owns 37.5% of the institute would be paid in June 2022. However, a Byju's spokesperson has denied the reports of Bloomberg and mentioned that Byju's acquisition of Aakash would be completed on the mentioned date, which is in August 2022. Byju's declared that it has completed Aakash's pending payment as per the reports dated July 4, 2022. Via a statement, Byju's spokesperson mentioned the closing of the Aakash deal, and that the audited financial results will be announced in the next 10 days.

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
December 8, 2021 GeoGebra GeoGebra is a Austria-based math learning platform that aims to empower math learning and make it easy and interactive. $100 mn

BYJU's - Growth and Revenue

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 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:

  • Byju's Career Plus program 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.”

Byju's to launch new edtech business in the MENA region

Byju's has partnered with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to launch new edtech business and R&D centre in Doha, Qatar. The entity that will be built as a result of the deal, is expected to drive research and innovation and create cutting-edge learning solutions that will be personalised for the Middle East, and North African students, those who belong to the MENA region.  

The CEO and Founder of Byju's, Byju Raveendran, and the CEO of QIA, Mansoor Al-Mahmoud, have signed an MOU in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar and chairman of QIA, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and the representatives of BYJU’S, in the recent 2022 Doha Forum.

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. The Banglore-based market leader of the edtech companies was last valued at $21 bn in November 2021 and after the funding round dated March 11, 2022, the edtech decacorn was valued at $22 bn.

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. According to the further progress in the IPO of Byju's the company has now decided to merge the special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) of Churchill Capital, a global strategic advisory firm, and raise around $4 bn. Such an IPO round would value the company at over $48 bn, as per the reports of December 16, 2021.

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.

Byju's appears to have come full circle. This is because after switching to the online mode of learning, acquiring companies, garnering fame, and becoming India's most valued edtech startup, the edtech decacorn is now planning to launch its offline coaching center, which would be named Byju's Tuition Center (BTC), and would pave for its foray into blended/hybrid learning. This new initiative is planned to benefit the students between Classes (4-10) and has prominently scaled this far mainly after the acquisition of Aakash Educational Services.

BYJU's - Partnerships

Byju's is known as the BCCI partner and will be remaining on the jersey of the Indian cricket team as it renewed its sponsorship with the Indian cricketing board for the upcoming 18 months at a deal price of around $55 mn. The new term of Byju's started after the end of India's South Africa tour.

The edtech giant's contract ended in March 2022, post which it applied for the extension. Byju's bought the rights of IPL sponsorship from Oppo in 2019. Some other prominent partnerships of Byju's include:

  • Byju's and Google Partnered to offer "Learning Solution" for schools
  • Byju's collaborated with NITI Aayog to extend free education in 112 districts
  • Byju's partnered with Intel to invest in and enhance student-teacher relationship
  • The edtech giant collaborated with Akshaya Patra Foundation to help needy students get smart classrooms

BYJU's - Future Plans

Byju's is currently planning to focus more on the Byju's Tuition Center (BTC) with investing up to $200 mn on the same over the next 12 to 18 months, as of February 2022. Signing up around 1 mn students for this model is the aim of Byju's over the next 2 years. The Byju Raveendran-led edtech giant is currently running this product as a pilot in around 23 cities and 80 centers and is willing to take the same to 500 centers across 200 cities by the end of 2022.  

FAQs

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 its success. BYJU's has been able to rightly blend technology and knowledge to impart 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.

Who is Byju Raveendran's wife?

Byju Raveendran's wife is Divya Gokulnath, who is an entrepreneur, and educator along with being the Co-founder and Director at Byju's.

What is the Byju's learning app?

The Edtech giant boasts of the BYJU’S Learning App, which is designed to offer academic content for school-going children ranging from class 6 - 12 for three years. This has been decided under its social impact initiative ‘Education for All’.

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 Meritnation.com, Vedantu, Teachable, Khan Academy, Simplilearn, Schoolwise, and Toppr.

How to become a teacher in Byju's?

Becoming a teacher in Byju's is not as hard as you think. To become a teacher, firstly, you need to record a video of yourself where you will have to teach any concept in front of the camera for around 15 minutes. Next, you need to record another clear video of yourself where you will have to solve 2 questions papers of the subject grade that you have applied for.  

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