Byju's, Bengaluru's multimedia educational content firm aimed at improving learning for high school kids in India, will take its product to markets such as the US and the UK, thanks to the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative, the philanthropy arm of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.
Byju's video tutorials have teachers simplifying concepts with help of animation aimed at improving learning in high school kids. The underlying analytics engine learns user habits, identifies gaps and suggest ways to improve learning, a contrarian approach to the traditionally focused rote learning.
The use of technology not just to deliver but improve learning got the Facebook founder's interest, whose arm that is focused on improving education is taking it to the Western markets. Byju's team in Bengaluru will customise and fine tune the India-focused content, as Raveendran says it is almost like redoing a movie, to appeal to K-12 and below equivalent students in the US. This would take as much as 24 months to launch.
"They (Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative) will give us reach and initial advantage in terms of recognition in those markets since most of the students are on Facebook. We expect good support both in terms of reach for international expansion and developmental support in terms of future technology," said Byju Raveendran, founder and chief executive officer of BYJU's. He expects the product to be launched within the next 18-24 months. "We have a digital library that can be customised for global markets in the K-12 segment."
In September, Zuckerberg's arm joined other investors to fund $ 50 million in Byju's, whose founder Raveendran began as a tutor helping friends crack the competitive common admission test for Indian Institute of Management. Byju's expanded his role to lectures in stadiums, inspiring students to crack exams by understanding concepts than just by rote.
This also helped him to launch Byju's, whose engineers and content creators, have seen their smartphone app downloaded 6.5 million times, of which nearly 300,000 people pay an annual subscription fee to exploit the full features of the app. Raveendran, who says that nine out ten paid users repeat the purchase. It is used across more than 1700 cities and towns in India.
Byju's earned a revenue of Rs 115 crore in 2015 and is expecting to double the revenue this year. Raveendran says his team would soon launch courses that would be aimed at primary school students.
For Byju's, the fight is with the time. "In India, we fight with the school and tuition hours of the student," he explains. Currently, the average time spent on the app being 40 minutes a day. What a teacher can cover in a one-hour class, the company wants to do in one-third of the time. Raveendran claims that the most number of downloads of his app are done by students. The company's conversion rates have been more than five per cent historically and 6.5% over the last six months.