BYJU, an educational app for Indian schoolkids, plans to create new learning formats and products after raising $75 million from Sequoia India and Sofina.
The company, which has now raised a total of $90 million, was founded as an online education platform in 2011 and launched its app six months ago. BYJU claims it has already been downloaded 2.5 million times so far and now has more than 120,000 paid annual subscribers. Courses are aimed at students in grades six to 12, supplementing their regular classwork and preparing them for major exams.
Founder and CEO Byju Raveendran tells TechCrunch that India has the largest K-12 education system in the world, but it consistently ranks poorly in worldwide assessments. He says this is because students lack access to good teachers, are forced into a “one-size-fits-all approach” because of a high teacher-student ratio, and spend too much time “driven by fear of exams rather than the love for learnings.”
Raveendran says his goal is to create educational tools for all students, not just the extremely motivated ones. BYJU’s methodology focuses on visual learning with diagrams and engaging videos that put facts into context so kids see how they are relevant to their lives. Its learning platform analyzes how students are performing to give them personalized feedback and recommendations as soon as they submit work.
“The platform adapts to the pace of learning, size of learning, and style of learning, in the sense that a student will know what to learn, when to learn, how much to learn, and how fast to learn,” he says.