India: Edutech startup Byju’s aims to turn profitable this year

Byju Raveendran, the founder of Byju's. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Education technology start-up Byju’s (Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd) has updated its app to incorporate a personalized learning approach that will provide content based on a student’s aptitude and grasping ability, even as the company aims to turn profitable in the current fiscal.

“We have created unique learn journeys for students which will offer them a completely personalized learning experience. We are able to build an extensive learning profile for every student. With in-depth understanding of their learning gaps and strengths, we provide actionable feedback along with highly personalized learning journeys and recommendations tuned specifically for each student,” said Ranjit Radhakrishnan, chief product officer at Byju’s.

Personalization is a theme long pursued by consumer internet companies, especially the e-tailers, who offer consumers a bouquet of choices to pick from based on their past shopping or browsing history. This in turn increases a consumer’s engagement on the platform and significantly increases probability of a purchase.

Byju’s was launched in 2011 by Byju Raveendran as an offline tutorial and as an app in August 2015. The company claims to have about 8 million app downloads and more than 400,000 paid consumers.

“At Byju’s, we have successfully transformed the one-to-many learning model to one-to-one personalized learning experiences through our app. In this upgrade, we have personalized the app interface to determine every student’s capability and recommend the right ‘learn journey’. Based on the level of understanding, learn journeys will be tailor-made to every student’s individual requirements to ensure a seamless learning experience,” Raveendran said.

Byju’s also launched on Tuesday a separate parent connect app that will help parents monitor their child’s progress.

Raveendran said Byju’s clocked about Rs260 crore in revenue last fiscal and will turn profitable in fiscal 2017-18.

“We will soon become a profitable unicorn,” he said. Start-ups which command more than a billion-dollar valuation are called unicorns.

The company was valued at $600-650 million during its last fundraising, a $30-million round from VerlInvest, a Brussels-based family firm.

The company, which acquired career guidance and academic profile builder Vidyartha in January, is also eyeing more acquisitions, especially to strengthen its offering for younger students studying in lower grades, Raveendran added.

Byju provides learning programmes for students of class VI to XII and preparation programmes for competitive examinations such as JEE, CAT, IAS, GRE and GMAT, among others.

The company plans to expand into global markets, especially in the US and UK, introduce new subjects beyond physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics as well as roll out products for classes IV and V.

Byju’s has been one of the few growth stage start-ups that raised multiple rounds of funds in 2016. The company raised about $75 million from Sequoia Capital and Belgian family office Sofina in March 2016. In September, Byju’s raised $50 million in a round led by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, becoming the first Asian investment for the personal fund set up by Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. In December, the company raised another $15 million from World Bank arm International Finance Corp.

The company has so far raised close to $200 million in equity and debt funding since inception.

Also Read: India: How education startup Byju’s built its brand

India: Edutech startup Byju’s raises $30m from Verlinvest

This article was first published on Livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.