Despite hitting a valuation of a humungous $16.5 billion in the last round of funding, Byju Raveendran believes there is a lot more to be achieved.
“The opportunity in edtech is big. This is a grossly underinvested, neglected sector globally. There are not many edtech companies globally that have invested $200 million in creating a product.”
India, China and the U.S. are the three big edtech markets. “In India, we already have a dominant presence and in the U.S. a significant presence. Six months down the line, we will be the second-largest edtech company in the U.S. It’s just a matter of time before we become the number one edtech company in the U.S. Of course, we need to execute, nothing is a given,” says Byju.
In the past few months, BYJU’s has spent $2.2 billion on a series of acquisitions. This includes domestic brick and mortar, tutoring institute Aakash Educational Services for $1 billion; Singapore-based Great Learning for $600 million; American digital reading platform for kids, EPIC for $500 million and after-school learning app Toppr.
So why this frenetic activity? "If you ask me when things are going well, you cannot organically grow at this pace. Now we will see growth accelerating from 100% to even higher if we are able to make the new integrations work. If things are going well, why should you slow down? If things are not going well, you do not have an option. When things are tough, you need to be at it," he says.
Byju contrasts education with entertainment—where there are companies investing billions of dollars every year in creating content and running into losses just for entertaining people. “The people are losing so much time, but not learning.”
Byju—whose parents were teachers—says he's out to change that. Education is just the opposite. The opportunity is to create value in future—organically and inorganically.
The ambition is not new. It has been there all along. “We were ambitious even when small. When we were just 20 people, we booked stadiums in cities where we did not have any presence, no support to do classes,” says Byju Raveendran.