Byju Raveendran: From a small village to creating Byju Learning App

Byju Raveendran - Founder and CEO of Byju Learning App
Byju Raveendran - Founder and CEO of Byju Learning App

Success Story of Byju Raveendran: Founder and CEO of Byju Learning App, a global edutech startup

Friends, you must have heard about Byju Learning App, today we will know about Byju Raveendran, founder of the Byju Learning App.  He is a former teacher who turned an entrepreneur.

Byju Raveendran was born in 1980 to a Malayaly family at Azhikode, a coastal village in Kerala and grew up in a joint family where my father’s sister and brother and their children also lived.

 His parents were both teachers. His father’s name is Raveendran. His mother’s name is Shobhanavalli.  His father is a Communist and retired physics teacher and his mother is a retired mathematics teacher.

Byju met Divya Gokulnath when he used to teach in classrooms. She was his student. He is married to Divya. They have a son named Nish.  He has a younger brother.

Education of Byju Raveendran

Byju Raveendran started his studies at a local Malayalam Medium School of Azhikode, Kerala where both his parents were teachers. He obtained a mechanical engineering degree from a Government Engineering College in Kannur of Calicut University.

Since childhood, he has been interested in sports. He used to play cricket, football, badminton, and table tennis during his school and college days.

His parents always encouraged him to try out different sports and emphasized the importance of sports.

Byju Raveendran never runs-after the sports. He had decided to build his career either in the field of medical or engineering. He chose to become a mechanical engineer.

After completed his engineering studies, Byju received a job in a multi-national shipping firm as a service engineer who started traveling all around the world. 

He was a bright student.  Some of his friends asked them to guide them; his close friends thought of helping to prepare for the MBA exam. Byju was very good at Mathematics and started teaching for his friends. 

A teacher by choice and an entrepreneur by chance

Byju also attempted the exam along with his friends just for fun.  He was amazed when he got a score of 100 percentile in the final exam. 

After seeing his amazing results, his friends advised starting a coaching class, teach students and aspiring themes 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 became a successful entrepreneur.

Initially, Byju would only teach MBA aspirants, Byju started running full-time coaching classes.  He used to teach students for free of cost for a week.  He did face a fair share of challenges as an entrepreneur.

Terrace to a classroom, and then to an auditorium.

As the number of students grew, he started his Education Technology firm under the name of Byju (Think and Learn Private Ltd.) in 2011 whose tagline is “fall in love with learning”, with the help of some of his students who had just graduated from IIMs aimed at creating educational content for students.

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.

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. 

Going offline to online: Start Learning App in 2015

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, the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET), the civil services examination, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Byju’s Classes becomes a brand

The focus of the learning App was to provide online coaching to fourth to 12th class students. Byju tried to make it effective as well as interesting.

BYJU Learning Mobile App became popular that his number of students started increasing.  His Learning App had more than 3.50 laces annual subscriptions that use the learning app for an average of 40 minutes a day and more than 6 million downloads. 

Byjus’ mobile application has a reach of more than 2000 metros and students from smaller towns of India wherein accessibility remains a struggle. 

BYJU’S Learning App is the largest education company in India that offers highly effective, engaging and adaptive learning programs for students in classes 4-12. The educational app also offers competitive exams like CAT, IAS, JEE, NEET, GRE, and GMAT.

BYJU’S learning App has become the most preferred education mobile application for students across age groups. The BYJU’S learning app makes use of rich animations, engaging video, interactive simulations, original content, and lessons from India’s best teachers.

His learning App is replicating and forgetting soon after the exam. It is about breaking the vicious cycle of memorising. The app-based model has several advantages. 

The advantages of taking online courses at Byju’s learning App are:

  • You can study anywhere-anytime
  • The mobile application understands student learning behavior.
  • You can review assignments.
  • Both the instructor and classroom are available 24/7.
  • You get accessibility to receive notes and announcements.
  • You discuss questions and take practice quizzes.
  • Students understand it easily after some usage.
  • You can chat with fellow students who are taking free online educational courses.
  • Byju’s courses are less expensive compared to traditional classroom coaching.

Byju has recently purchased Tutor Vista and EduRite, an online tutoring brand.  In 2019, Byju became the official sponsor of the Indian Cricket Team jersey.

Investment over the years

Mohandas Pai and Ranjan Pai invest Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) in Byju’s Classes in 2013. This is the first investment that came in 2013.

Byju is the only startup in Asia which is funded by Mark Zuckerberg. In September 2016, Byju received $50 Milion from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), the philanthropic organisation created by Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and his wife Dr Priscilla, Times Internet Ltd, Lightspeed Ventures, and Sofina.

After becoming an educational learning app, Byju’s  revenue was Rs. 4 crores in 2011-12, which increased to 12 crores in 2012-2013, 20 crores in Financial Year 2013-14, 48 crores in Financial Year 2014-15 and to Rs. 120 crores in Financial Year 2015-16. This has increased to Rs 260 crores in Financial Year 2016-17.

Currently, Byju has the expertise with a more than 700 high-quality product development team, 200 content creators who develop quality content; 150 creative media teams to make interesting videos and more than 100 technology teams.

Byju Raveendran achievements:

  • Byju won many awards including CNBC-TV 18 Crisil Emerging India Award in Education, Big Research NDTV Profit Business & Service Excellence Award, Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India and Fast 500.
  • Byju’s App was included as one of its case studies at Harvard University in 2017.
  • Byju’s net worth grew to $6.5 Billion in 2019.
  • The educational mobile app had more than 40 million subscribers or registered users and more than 12 million downloads on Android’s Play Store in 2019.

Byju Raveendran is looking to create a powerful educational product that makes learning more effective and expands to South Africa, the US, UK, and Commonwealth markets.

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