Bengaluru based education technology startup Byju’s has raised $50 million from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Belgian investment firm Sofina SA, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Times Internet Ltd.
This is the first Asian investment for Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a personal fund set up by Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.
Byju’s provides learning programs for class VI to XII students and preparation programs for competitive examinations such as JEE, CAT, IAS, GRE and GMAT, among others. With this investment, Byju’s is the most well-capitalized education technology start-up in the country.
Byju’s makes use of original content, graphics and other video tools to explain concepts and theories that makes learning contextual and visual, not just theoretical. It leverages technology and data science to make learning personalized so that the students will know what to learn, when to learn, how to learn, how much to learn, and how fast to learn.
With its app-based learning program, Byju’s business model has undergone a significant change in the last one year, from a classroom-based model to an app-based one. The company claims revenue has grown from Rs 45 crore to Rs 120 crore in fiscal 2016.
Byju’s Learning App is growing at 15% month-on-month and has crossed 5.5 million downloads. The application has 250,000 annual paid subscribers, having added 30,000 paid students last month.
The company will deploy the fresh funds 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.
“This investment was done keeping a couple of things in mind, primarily to get a good partner on board who can help us connect with the international market. We have already started developing products for the international markets. It will take us 12-15 months to complete,” said Byju Raveendran, founder of Byju’s.
“Education can give young people and their families a path to a better future, and families in India work hard to give their children that chance. Byju’s represents an opportunity to help even more students develop a love for learning and unlock their potential,” said Vivian Wu of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in a statement. She will join the board of Byju’s.