Byju’s-owned Osmo education startup enters pre-schoolers market

Osmo, a Palo Alto-based education startup acquired by Indian unicorn Byju’s for $120 million this year, is expanding its product lineup to serve a new and largely untapped market: pre-schoolers.

Osmo today announced Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit, a set of tools that aims to help children that have yet to enter schools to understand letters, expand their vocabulary, and build motor and social skills. The kit is priced at $79 and is available through Amazon, Target, and Apple stores in the U.S.

The kit provides children with sticks and rings of varying shapes, tasking them to assemble them to mimic objects and words that they see through video instructions on an accompanying tablet. Osmo claims its kit for pre-schoolers is based on Friedrich Froebel’s and Maria Montessori’s manipulative with advanced computer vision for a personalized experience.

Pramod Sharma, CEO of Osmo, told TechCrunch in an interview that he believes that the market for pre-schoolers remains untapped with little innovation hitting the space over the last 100 years. This new product launch represents a large and new opportunity for Osmo, which has so far catered to kids aged between five and 12.

In the U.S. alone, there are about 10 million kids who are in the pre-school stage. Additionally, “half of all the toys sale are aimed at kids who have not entered schools,” Sharma said.

The announcement today comes weeks after Byju’s, which acquired Osmo for $120 million earlier this year, expanded its own product catalog. Earlier this month, it partnered with Disney to roll out a new app that aims to educate children aged between six and eight.

Until recently, Byju’s focused entirely on high school students and those preparing for university entrance exams. It has since broadened its courses to cover all school grades. Byju’s, which competes with Unacademy in India, is heavily-funded by investors and valued at nearly $4 billion — it is widely acknowledged to be the leader in India’s e-learning market.

To tackle the pre-schoolers’ market, Osmo is leveraging on the interactive content produced by Byju’s, Sharma said. The nature of the product and market it serves will allow Osmo and Byju’s to expand the kit to many global markets, he explained.

The distribution of the new kit could prove challenging, however, Sharma acknowledged. Osmo has tie-ups with more than 30,000 U.S. elementary classrooms that help it deploy its product to a large number of students. It lacks that for earlier-stage education, but Osmo does plan to replicate that model in some capacity by partnering with pre-schools.

Sharma said also that a number of parents have asked Osmo whether it will have any products for their younger children which gives him confidence that there is raw demand. That said, he acknowledged that Osmo will initially need to be more aggressive than usual with its marketing and other outreach programs to parents.

In terms of subject matter, Osmo has largely focused on science and math to date. Moving forward, though, it plans to broaden its existing product lineup with more content and explore subjects including English language, history and social studies to “cover every aspect of learning,” Sharma said.

Byju’s claims 35 million registered users and some 2.4 million paid customers. It generated around $205 million in revenue in the fiscal year that ended in March this year. The company said it aims to increase that figure to over $430 million this year.