The Accidental Start-up

The Accidental Start-up

  • Reading time:3 mins read

By Parth Gupta

EdTech brings to students a host of options for interactive learning and takes away the monotony of the traditional education system. When talking about Edtech in India, one name that can’t be missed is BYJU’s. BYJU’s was founded in the year 2011 by Byju Raveendran, who calls himself a teacher by choice and an entrepreneur by chance. 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 Raveendran belongs to a small village in Kerela. His parents were both teachers. He chose to become a mechanical engineer. After which he started working as a service engineer in a multi-national shipping firm. During this time, he started to help his friends for the CAT exam as he was very good at mathematics.

Byju also attempted the exam along with his friends just for fun and was amazed when he got a score of 100 percentile in the final exam. After seeing his amazing results, his friends advised him to start a coaching class, teach students for competitive exams. 

He agreed, decided to resign from a highly paid job and started his coaching class. Byju began teaching students on the terrace of his close friend’s house and it is from here that the journey of Byju started.

Initially, he took mathematics workshops for free and then started charging a fee when the word of mouth kicked in and many students started caming in. He moved his class from terrace to a classroom. He started his coaching class with just Rs 2 lakh.

Byju started an online video-based learning program for CAT and this was the first time that Byju included technology in teaching in 2009.He began recording his own lectures and was able to make the lectures available to students across cities he could not travel to. His method of coaching was so popular that there was a time when Byju Raveendran had more than 20,000 students across different states including Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, and Chennai. 

Byju transitioned from the offline to the online mode. A few of his students, after passing out from IIM’s contacted him. They shared the idea of taking Byju’s classes to a new domain. Byju and the students founded a company named “Think and Learn” that aimed at creating content for school students.

In 2011 Byju was incorporated as Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd with focus on the K-12 segment. By 2014 Byju launched tablets for teaching.

 He launched BYJU’s – The Learning App, his flagship product In 2015 for school students which would help students gain access to the educational material that Byju has to offer.  It took 4 years to create this learning mobile application. The learning app also coaches for CAT, NEET, the civil services examination, GMAT, JEE and GRE.

The Byju’s app was downloaded by more than 5.5 million people in the first year itself with 2,50,000+ annual subscriptions.

During September 2016, Chan-Zuckerberg initiative, the philanthropic organisation created by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, invested a whopping $50 million in Byju’s firm. In 2017, Byju’s- The Learning App was incorporated by the “Harvard University” as one of its case studies. In 2018 Byju’s turned unicorn with a valuation over $1 billion. And In 2020 BYJU’s became one of the only two Indian unicorns to feature in the top 20 list of global unicorns, securing 19th rank with $12 billion valuation!