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How Byju's plans to become a unicorn this year

By Raghu Krishnan
May 24, 2017 12:31 IST
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The firm has raised $204 million from nine investors such as Sequoia Capital, Light Speed Ventures, and Aarin Capital, and hopes to hit the $ 1 billion valuation mark this year.

Byju’s, a mobile learning start-up, expects to be a unicorn, or a start-up with a billion-dollar valuation, as it looks to turn profitable this year on the back of more than 400,000 students using its app to study school syllabus on their smartphones.

Since launching its multimedia app in August 2015, Byju's founder Byju Raveendran claims it has been downloaded eight million times and has converted over five per cent of its users to pay for the content to achieve revenues of Rs 60 crore last year.

The firm reported profits in the last quarter, but ended the whole year with a loss.

"We have 89 per cent renewals on our paid app. This shows that students are liking our product," said Raveendran. "We will be a profitable unicorn soon."

Paid users who get access to corrective modules based on gaps spend as much as 44 minutes per session on the multimedia mobile app, where lessons are delivered by the company.

The start-up provides a K-12 learning app, which offers learning programmes for students in classes 4-12 and for those preparing for competitive exams.

Raveendran, who started with offline classes to students who wanted help in cracking competitive exams, says the school student market is huge and parents are ready to pay for quality education.

"We have cracked not even one per cent of the addressable market," he says.

The firm, backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, is also building courses to tap the international market and offer courses in local languages starting from Hindi next year.

Raveendran says the firm has seen higher propensity of younger students taking to its app.

"It is their primary habit, learning from the screen. For most of us, it is a secondary habit," he said.

The firm has raised $204 million from nine investors such as Sequoia Capital, Light Speed Ventures, and Aarin Capital, according to Crunchbase data.

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Raghu Krishnan
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