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Byju Raveendran is newest addition to India's billionaire club

Earlier this month, Think & Learn, the parent firm of Byju's, bagged $150 million in funding. The deal placed the education app's value at $5.7 billion.

July 29, 2019 / 06:19 PM IST

Hailing from Azhikode, a coastal village in Kerala, Byju Raveendran has become the newest entrant on India's billionaires list, Bloomberg reported. The former schoolteacher's education app Byju's has hit $6 billion in valuation in a span of seven years.

Earlier this month, Think & Learn, the parent firm of Byju's, bagged $150 million in funding. The deal placed the education app's value at $5.7 billion. Founder Raveendran owns 21 percent stake in the company, Bloomberg quoted sources as saying.

A reluctant pupil, Raveendran went on to become an engineer, thereafter helping friends crack entrance examinations to some of the country's premier engineering and management institutions. Despite having aced the examination with a 100 percent marks, he did not join any of the IIMs. He began with teaching a small group of students and his classes gradually swelled as his status as an amazing tutor grew.

He ventured into the world of offering education online with Think & Learn, which was launched in 2011. He went on to launch the Byju's app in 2015. With over 35 million subscribers, the business finally became profitable in March 2019.

The edtech startup's latest backer is the Qatar Investment Authority. The Raveendran clan, including his wife and brother, now hold close to 35 percent stake in the venture, sources told Bloomberg. Raveendran reportedly has purchased shares in the latest round of funding to maintain his equity.

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The founder has said that Byju's revenues are expected to more than double to $435 million by March 2020. The pace at which the education app is growing has already grabbed the attention of investors from across the world. These include Tencent Holdings, Sequoia Capital, Naspers Ventures as well as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The online learning app is expected to launch in America by early 2020 in partnership with Walt Disney. This would be the biggest step for the company, in terms of expansion and creativity. The new app would feature Disney characters that would teach students from grades one to three.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jul 29, 2019 06:19 pm
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