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Divya Gokulnath, co-founder and director, BYJU’S.
Divya Gokulnath, co-founder and director, BYJU’S.

‘Fundraise to help finance BYJU’S inorganic growth’

We have moved from being a 100% service to a 100% product company. We shifted from classrooms to experiential learning, says Divya Gokulnath, co-founder and director, BYJU’S

The rising demand for e-learning and online education following the covid-induced school closures has helped Byju’s to cross $10 billion in valuation. Now, the edtech platform is not only looking to introduce more subjects in vernacular languages and offer a mentoring programme to further accelerate growth, it is also planning to enter overseas markets. The company cashed in on the huge investor interest in edtech to raise around $1 billion since January, with the last round valuing it at $10.8 billion. In an interview, Divya Gokulnath, co-founder and director, BYJU’S spoke about the company’s future plans and the spurt in edtech sector. Edited excerpts:

BYJU’s is the most valuable edtech startup. What’s next?

Like every business during a crisis, we have adjusted our short-term goals, but our long-term vision of making students fall in love with learning remains intact.

Our three pillars of growth will be to introduce more subjects, offer learning programmes for more grades and in more Indian languages, so that children are able to learn effectively even in their mother tongue. This will enable us to strengthen our offerings and penetrate further into India.

Given the current demand, we plan on accelerating several launches this year to revolutionize the after-school learning segment.

How do you plan to deploy the funds raised?

We’ll be focusing on product development and expansion, both internationally as well as in India. Our recent fundraising is also to finance inorganic growth through acquisitions. Our vision is to be one of the largest education provider brands in the world. For expansion in international markets, we have plans to launch our learning programmes aimed at school children in several English-speaking markets.

Through WhiteHat Jr., we will introduce math subjects as part of the offering to serve customers in markets such as Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Singapore and Germany.

BYJU’S has seen huge growth during the covid-led lockdown and raised multiple rounds of funding in 2020. What’s the reason behind this growth?

We started with the simple goal of making learning fun, and helping students fall in love with learning. With the help of technology, we moved from being a 100% service to a 100% product company. Since the launch of our learning app in 2015, we have helped over 64 million students embrace a whole new way of learning and become active learners and self-learners. We believe having a sense of purpose is key. We have spent close to a decade teaching, learning and growing. We have moved from classrooms and stadiums to virtual classes, and now, personalized, blended, experiential learning, and much more.

What is BYJU’S’ mentoring programme about? How will this work virtually?

BYJU’S has launched a first-of-its-kind mentoring programme for students where every student who subscribes to our programme will get access to a dedicated mentor.

The mentor will play the role of a counsellor, guiding the student through his or her learning journey by suggesting personalized lessons based on the individual strengths and weaknesses.

On our platform, mentors monitor the progress of their students through data-driven dashboards. These dashboards help the mentors stay updated with the performance of the students through monthly tests, attendance, participation and attentiveness in class, and consistency in completing homework.

With the help of such actionable data, our mentors can provide effective feedback and help create an action plan for each student to improve their learning and performance trajectory.

This one-on-one online guidance from dedicated mentors also allows parents to be updated on their children’s progress from within the comfort and safety of their homes.

Currently, BYJU’S has a large team of trained mentors to help students and we are planning to grow the team by 100% in the coming year.

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