Every single person is born with a gifted skill, be it singing, dancing, cooking, making others laugh, writing, painting, etc.
But most of us just fail to recognize it, and some do recognize but only a few of the few don’t just recognize but act on it which ultimately gives them a chance to live like they never lived before.
And this is about one such guy who didn’t just recognize his gifted skill but used it to the fullest and created a billion-dollar empire.
Byju Raveendran, a rising Indian entrepreneur, the founder of the Byju’s Learning App which is now valued at $8 billion (56,000 Crore). This is the first Asian startup funded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscila Chan’s foundation, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.
Byju Raveendran founder of Byju’s Education Application
Image credit: Hemant Mishra – Mint via Getty Images
Who is Byju Raveendran?
Byju Raveendran is an Indian entrepreneur. He was born to a middle-class family in the year 1980 in Azhikode, Kerala.
His father, Raveendran, was a Physics teacher, and mother Shobhanavalli, was a Mathematics teacher. Raveendran completed his primary education at a local school in Azhikode, Kerala.
He was a clever kid since his childhood and was more interested in sports. Even though his parents were teachers, they did not pressurize him to only focus on his academics as they knew that sport was as important as his formal education and most importantly they believed in him.
And while choosing his major, he opted for Mechanical Engineering by thinking that if he chose medical, he would never get the time to play his favorite sports. He completed his graduation in the Government Engineering College in Kannur, Kerala.
How did Byju Raveendran Begin his Journey?
After Byju’s graduation, he landed as a service engineer in a multinational shipping firm. He would get a month off every 3-4 months.
During his vacation, he was with his friends in Bangalore. His friends were working hard to prepare for their CAT examination to join the Indian Institute of Management.
As they knew that Byju was a brilliant guy, they asked his assistance to crack the exam. He guided them in his unique way of explanation and prepared them. And to test his skill for fun, he too took-up the CAT exam. To his surprise, he scored 100 percentile, he could not believe it with his own eyes. He attended the exam for the second time to see if it was an accident but it wasn’t, he scored 100 percentile again. His friends too cleared the exam.
And this was the point where he recognized his gifted skill.
A gifted skill is something that you do the absolute best with the least amount of effort.
Recognizing Byju’s untapped potential, his friends advised him to teach the students who were preparing for competitive exams. And this was the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey. He started teaching the aspiring students on the terrace of his friend’s house.
During the initial days, he only taught the MBA aspirants using his unique tips and tricks which was a real time saver for the students during the exam, especially for Mathematics.
Eventually, his teaching method became so popular and demanding that he had to quit his job to focus on it full-time.
He taught students for free for a week and only if they personally liked his teaching method, he was charging the fee. His popularity grew so enormous that he had to move from his terrace-class to a huge auditorium to conduct his classes.
Over time he was teaching 20,000 students across Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore. Due to the overwhelming demand, Byju started recording his teaching and in 2009 he launched pre-recorded sessions in more than 40 cities.
The year 2010 was the turning point in his life. A few students who had successfully graduated from IIM under Byju’s guidance approached him and suggested an idea that changed the path of Byju’s teaching.
The idea was to teach the students online. It had the potential to reach millions of students in India.
All together as a team, they started Think and Learn to create academic content for students.
The company was set on this ideology of Byju Raveendran…
“To perform well in competitive exams, students should have complete concept-clarity, which can only be imparted during a person’s schooling.”
And in 2011, they created a mobile application and website called Byju’s – The Learning App which is the portal to the world of Byju’s teaching.
The diverse educational content attracted both parents and students. By the end of 2015, this application was downloaded 5.5 million times and had 250,000 annual subscribers.
And in September 2016, Byju’s received $50 million funding from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s Organization – The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and became the 1st Asian startup funded by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.
In 2019, Byju’s valuation was at $6 billion. And in July 2019, Byju Raveendran acquired the sponsorship of the Indian Cricket Team Jersey. As of January 2020, the company’s valued at $8 billion.
Establishing a billion-dollar company is no easy task. It needs 100% belief, dedication, hope, and persistence, and most importantly to recognize and use your ‘gifted skill’ to the fullest. It’s not easy but neither is it impossible.
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Jamie Renell · June 20, 2022 at 16:28