Indian decacorn Byju’s CEO talks about future acquisitions, coronavirus, and international expansion – ClearTips
Since india came into force The closure of lockouts, schools and other public spaces across the country at the end of March, Bangalore-headquartered startup Biju has emerged as one of the best platforms for school going students in the world’s second largest internet market.
It took the startup four and a half years to acquire 40 million students. Since the lockdown, its user base has grown to 65 million, its co-founder and chief executive Byju Ravendran said at the interrupted 2020 conference on Tuesday.
The students say they were attracted to the stage of interest because of the way it taught them the subject. Byju, who is a teacher himself, found intuitive ways to use real-life objects such as a pizza to teach complex math problems.
Today, their startup is worth around $ 11 billion (making it India’s second most valuable startup), and has presence in many international markets. At the end of last year, Byju announced that it had also become profitable. It is not an everyday thing that we see an Indian startup with one of these three characteristics – let alone all three.
In an extensive interview on Destruct 2020, Ravindran shared Byju’s journey, which began as an offline platform, teaching students in classrooms, auditoriums and stadiums; Startup plans for further expansion into international markets; His views on merger and acquisition opportunities; And the coronovirus epidemic has affected their business and education landscape in India extensively, among many other things.
“Unfortunately, it was an epidemic for most stakeholders to try digital learning. Parents are now accepting the online segment more than ever. The region is clearly at an information point, ”said Raveendran.
To make online learning more accessible to students, Baiju made all its offerings for free during the epidemic. But the platform’s paying customers, now more than 4 million, remain on a steady path of growth, he said.
He said the startup expects to generate revenue of more than $ 1 billion from India this year and take home profits of between $ 150 million to $ 180 million.
“I would still call it a relative success. We consider as the target audience, we have less than 4% penetration in that segment, ”he said. “More than a third of the school going students do not have a smartphone. There is still much to be done. “
Another phenomenon is that the epidemic in India has led to some consolidation in the kickstart startup space. Byju himself acquired WhiteHat Jr., an 18-month-old startup that taught students coding skills for $ 300 million.
ClearTips has reported that the startup is engaging with many more startups, including the Indian firm Downtoon, which allows students to photograph a math problem through its app and provide step-by-step solutions.
About this, Byju said: “The long-term potential of the region is at an all-time high. […] We are looking for companies that can either add strong product components to our existing usernames or potential new customers in new markets, or companies that can give us some sort of distribution to launch us into new markets Find a headstart – especially the English speaking markets. “
“You will hear from us about some more acquisitions. We are looking at some of them very seriously, ”he said. In future acquisitions will again be an all cash deal, Biju said, “He values equity more than others.”
IPO, fundraising and international expansion
The chief executive said that Byju has not been seen in public for at least two years. “We have strong business fundamentals; We have been able to strike the right balance between high-growth and sustainable development and have created a very profitable model in such a short time. But we have not thought seriously about public listings. “
And it seems that investors in Biju are also not in a hurry. “We do not have to make public listings to exit some of the early investors because the business itself will generate enough cash. A good number of them have already taken the money invested in the last few rounds, ”he said.
Baiju has raised more than $ 700 million this year. We asked Biju why the startup is raising capital. He said, “We have invested a lot of capital in the capital we have raised. In the first five years, we have used less than $ 350 million of primary capital – which shows how efficiently we have grown the model, ”he said.
“Most of the recent fundraising is to finance inorganic growth such as full-cash acquisitions. We are using this to add some strong business models. We never raised money because we needed it. Always had to add the right partner. In recent times, we have added long-term, patient investors, ”he said. Biju is yet to catch up with its fundraising competition as the startup is currently engaged with at least two more investment companies.
To expand into international markets, Byju said it plans to launch a digital learning app aimed at children in several English-speaking markets. He said that Whitehat Jr. would introduce the mathematics subject as part of its offering to serve customers in many markets including Australia, New Zealand.
We also talked about what he thinks of other veteran startups in India that are not profitable today, the kind of message that is sent to international investors, and whether there is room for any new player in the education market in India Is, and more. You can watch the full-interview below.