Online tutoring startup Byju’s plans to hire at least 4000 people in business, content and product development roles over the next six months, as the company looks to expand its list of courses, said a top company executive.
The ed-tech startup moved to a ‘freemium’ model in March, providing free access to its courses for students after the closure of schools and institutions in India. Since then, demand for Byju’s courses picked up sharply on the platform as students stayed home and began adopting online tools for learning.
In March alone, the platform added six million new students on the platform and another 7.5 million students in April, where most of them were organic users.
Mrinal Mohit, chief operating officer, Byju’s said that April and May were the best months for the startup in terms of sales, since the platform converted a majority of free users into paying users.
“We actually started hiring across different business functions since April itself. Because of the uptick in organic demand, we required a bigger sales and after-sales team to engage with parents and students,” Mohit said in an interview.
BYJU’s organic user base—users who directly visit the platform without targeted ads—went up sharply in April and May, resulting in higher sales. “In April we did around ₹340 crores in sales, and we closed May at around ₹370 crores in standalone sales” said Mohit in an interview.
According to a report by market research firm KalaGato, BYJU’s saw a 43% increase in daily active users (DAUs), and a 106% rise in session times among its users during a three months period between February-April. This is a higher engagement rate compared to other competitors in the online learning segment.
The KalaGato report also showed that other education startups such as Toppr, saw a 47% increase in DAUs between February and April. Similarly, online up-skilling platform Coursera and non-profit education portal Khan Academy saw a 28% and 33% m-o-m increase in DAUs, respectively.
BYJU’s ‘freemium’ model seems to have worked in favour of the platform as it offered many of its top courses free of cost, which also resulted in lower marketing and promotional spending in the last few months, according to Mohit.
The most valued edtech start-up in India currently offers learning content that caters to school students across different age groups, including kindergarten to higher secondary levels. BYJU’s also offers students a variety of programmes, including online coaching for competitive exams such as the Common Aptitude Test and the Indian Administrative Services.
Mohit told Mint that the platform is already working on introducing online courses for new school-level subjects such as social studies apart from its existing course content focused on Science and Mathematics.
“We largely had courses modelled for classes 1 to 12, now we recently launched UKG and LKG levels also (pre-school) and we plan to offer more course content on this segment very soon,” he added.
Since its launch in 2011, Byju’s has raised around $995 million from top-tier investors like Tiger Global, Naspers Ltd, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Verlinvest Group SA, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India Partners, and Aarin Capital, among others. Currently, the startup is valued at over $8 billion.
This article was first published on livemint.com