This month we share the inspiring story of very young entrepreneur whose journey started from his friend’s terrace. In the coming years, he became famous with his educational app - Byju learning app, and turned into a billionaire.
Byju Raveendran (Byju) belongs to a Malayali family. He was born in the small village Azhikode, Kerala, in 1980. His father, Raveendran, is a retired physics teacher, and his mother, Shovanvalli, is a retired mathematics teacher. He has one younger brother, Riju. Since childhood Byju had been interested in sports. Despite being in the teaching profession, his parents always encouraged him to try out different types of sports. As a result, soon he has his hands on all different types of sports viz. football, cricket, table tennis, and badminton.
Although he was good at sports, Byju pursued his career in Mechanical Engineering from Government Engineering College, Kannaur, Kerala. After his B. Tech, he secured a job as a ‘’service engineer’’ at a multi-national shipping firm.
Once, during vacations, when Byju was staying with his friends in Bangalore, his friends were preparing for CAT (Common Aptitude Test) examinations. As Byju was good at maths, his friends asked him to help them in CAT preparations. While helping his friends, he decided to appear for CAT exams himself, just for the experience. Byju was amazed when he scored 100 percentiles in CAT. He could not believe the result, hence he reappeared for CAT, and again he scored 100 percentiles. He got a call from all of the IIM’s, but he declined all offers as he has no interest in earning an MBA.His friends also cleared their CAT exams with good marks and they advised Byju that he should teach MBA aspiring students. He liked the idea, and his entrepreneurial journey began in his friend’s terrace in 2007. Initially, he would only teach MBA aspirants, he used to guide them the tricks and tips to solve mathematics problems and to save their time while attempting competitive exams. Eventually, he resigned from his job and started paying more attention to teaching more courses.
Byju used to keep his initial workshop free of cost. He charged money for advanced workshops and classes, only if students like his way of teaching. As the number of students grew, he moved his classes from his friend’s terrace to the classroom, and eventually, to an auditorium. Soon he became so popular among students that at one point of time he was taking maths workshop of around 20,000 students, across different cities of India such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, and Chennai.
In 2009, he started recording his lectures due to the increase in the number of students across 45 cities in India.
In 2010, few IIM’s just graduate fresher students contacted him and proposed an idea of taking his classes to a new domain by adapting online teaching concepts and making his contents available to millions of students. He accepted the proposal, and in 2011, founded a company named ‘’Think and Learn Pvt Ltd.’’ It was aimed at creating educational content for school students. As Byju believes in the idea that, for any learning, concept clarity is very important and which can only be given during a person’s schooling.
In 2015, Byju’ s android and iOS apps had over 5.5 million downloads with more than 2.5 lacs, annual subscribers.
In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan’s organization –The Chan Zuckerberg initiative funded $50 million in Byju’s firm making it the first startup of Asia to be funded by Zuckerberg-Chan initiative.
In 2017, Byju’ s –The Learning App was incorporated as one of the case studies by Harvard University. On 15th September 2017, Byju was highlighted on the cover page of Forbes Indian Magazine.
On 14th February 2019, Byju was awarded as Entrepreneur of the year award. In the same year in July month, Byju’ s became the official sponsor of the Indian cricket team jersey.
As of July 2019, the company valued approx. $5.5 billion net worth. The app is popular among 30 million registered students.