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In a First For Asia, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Backs Indian Edtech Startup BYJU’S

In a First For Asia, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Backs Indian Edtech Startup BYJU’S

The Startup Raises $50 Mn in Funding From CZI, Sequoia, Others

Bengaluru-based edtech startup BYJU’s has raised $50 Mn funding led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), which was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan, along with Sequoia Capital. Sofina, Lightspeed Ventures, and Times Internet Ltd are the other investors who participated in the round.

This is the first investment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in Asia.

The investment came in close after Sequoia India and Sofina infused $75 Mn in the company in March 2016. “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative supports innovative models of learning wherever they are around the world,” said Vivian Wu at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, who will join BYJU’s board. “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,” Wu added.

The newly-raised funds will be deployed to fuel international expansion and inspire additional funding investments from leading companies around the world.

Founded in 2011 by Byju Raveendran, BYJU’s offers learning programmes for class 6-12 & test preparation for JEE, AIPMT, CAT, IAS, GRE & GMAT. It launched BYJU’s–The Learning App in 2015.

The app makes use of original content, watch-and-learn videos, rich animations and interactive simulations that make learning contextual and visual. The app adapts to the learning style of each student, inviting them to explore different concepts and suggest a learning footprint for the student, which can also address any gaps in learning. The company aims to inspire a lifelong love for learning.

As mentioned in the press release, a survey revealed that 79% of parents accept that using BYJU’s app improved their children’s learning dramatically, and another 17% said it improved their learning significantly.

As claimed by the company, it has been growing at a M-o-M rate of 15% and the revenues in the first five months of this financial year (FY-17) has already crossed the FY-16 revenue of $18 Mn (INR 120 Cr).  To date, there have been 5.5 million app downloads, 250K annual subscribers, with 30,000 students being added in the last one month alone. Also, the founders boast that with an average engagement rate of 40 minutes per day and 90% of users renewing their subscription, BYJU’s is proving to be effective at improving learning outcomes and engaging India’s students.

“Lightspeed has invested in education technology companies in the US, China and India,” said Dev Khare, Managing Director, Lightspeed India Partners Advisors. “Amongst all the companies globally, Byjus’ market leading education offering is unique and transformational because it is specifically geared with a differentiated pedagogy to the needs of India’s 250 million students.”

Earlier this year, Mumbai-based edtech startup, Testbook raised an undisclosed amount of funding from publishing house S. Chand and Company. Other players in this segment include Avagmah, iProf, Meritnation, Simplilearn, Englishleap, etc.