Decoding Byju's Journey From Start-up to Unicorn The edtech startup is now a part of India's prestigious unicorn club with $1 billion in estimated worth.

By Sandeep Soni

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Facebook: Byju's

Byju's – India's most loved tutoring app is on a growth rampage and perhaps among the rare product innovations that has come out of India in recent times. The edtech start-up is now a part of India's prestigious unicorn club with $1 billion in estimated worth. Bengaluru-based Byju's in its runway to changing how students learn recently snapped up two of the earliest businesses in technology-based education – TutorVista and Edurite.

The start-up had earlier raised funding from Verlinvest, a large Belgian family-owned, consumer-focused, diversification investment holding company and had also secured $50 million in a round co-led by Mark Zuckerberg's and Priscilla Chan's investment arm - The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and Sequoia Capital, along with a bunch of other investors such as Sofina, Lightspeed Ventures, and Times Internet Ltd.

Given below is the chronology of events related to Byju's journey of becoming a unicorn.

2008 – Among very few who cracked Common Admission Test (CAT) with 100 per cent score globally and National Math Olympiad winner, Byju Raveendran started BYJU's CAT classes for CAT training.

2009 – Started online video-based coaching for CAT.

2011 – Byju Raveendran registered it as a company called Think & Learn focusing on the K-12 segment.

2012 (October) – Awarded as fastest growing tech companies in India under Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India.

2013 (September) – He raised $9 million from Aarin Capital in Series A round.

2014 – Launched tablet learning program for competitive exams and grades eight to 12th.

2015(July) – Secured $25 million in Series B round led by Sequoia Capital

2015 (August) – Introduced Byju's learning app and more than two million students came on the app in three months of launch.

2016 (March) – Raised $75 million in Series C round led by Sequoia Capital and Sofina.

2016 (September) – Secured Series D round of $50 million from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative – the philanthropic initiative of Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan. Paid subscribers stood at more than 2.5 lac.

2016 (December) – Adds Series E round of $15 million led by International Finance Corporation in exchange for a minority stake.

2017(January) – Acquired learning guidance platform for students Vidyartha for an undisclosed sum to boost its personalized learning products.

2017(March) – Reached alleged valuation of $600 million with additional $30 million in Series F from Verlinvest, a family office based in Brussels.

2017(May) – Became case study at Harvard Business School to illustrate how through technology Byju's has been impacting learning among students.

2017 (July)– Acquired TutorVista and Edurite from Pearson to expedite its international expansion including the US and improve its product offerings Byju's currently has more than 80 lac students on its platform out of which more than 4 lac are paid. Earlier in 2017, Pearson had reported £2.6 billion for the year 2016 and had been looking to sell all or part of its loss-making ventures in tutoring, test preparation, English-language learning which included TutorVista and Edurite.

2017(July) – This values Byju's at around $670 million and access to around 2,000 teachers connected with TutorVista globally including US, China, Australia, UK etc, apart from education content in the form of CDs and DVDs that Edurite operates in.

2017 (July) – The company earned INR 260 crore in revenues last fiscal year and is aiming for profitability in current FY18.

2017 (November) – signed up actor Shah Rukh Khan as its brand ambassador

2018 (March) – Turned unicorn with a valuation over $1 billion as per online reports. It was last valued close to $800 million.

Sandeep Soni

Former Features Editor

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