37-Year-Old Former School Teacher is India’s Newest Billionaire

Byju Raveendran created a learning app that was evaluated at $5.7 billion after latest funding round

India’s newest billionaire is a former class teacher who has developed an education app that has reached a valuation of nearly $6 billion in about seven years. Byju Raveendran became a billionaire after his Think & Learn Pvt obtained $150 million in funding earlier this month, the deal gave $5.7 billion to the company where he owns more than 21%.

The deal also coincided with the announcement that the company’s Byju app will team up with Walt Disney Co. and take its service to the American shores by 2020. Therefore, the 37-year-old entrepreneur is taking his biggest step yet both geographically and creatively. In his new app, Disney’s Simba from “The Lion King” or Anna from “Frozen” will teach math and English to students from grades one through three, as well as starring in animated videos, games, stories and interactive quizzes. Raveendran stated:

“Kids everywhere relate to Disney’s Simba or Moana, who grip kids’ attention before we take them through the loop of learning.”

Raveendran founded Think & Learn Pvt in 2011 by offering online lessons before officially launching the main app in 2015 after which there were more than 35 million who signed up out of which about 2.4 million pay an annual fee of 10,000 – 12,000 rupees, helping the app became profitable in the year ending March 2019.

That’s when Raveendran began pursuing long-term investors such as pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, therefore, in his latest funding round the entrepreneur bought shares to maintain his level of capital. Together with his wife and brother they now hold a total stake of about 35%, as stated by people close to the family, asking not to be quoted as the matter is private.

Source: bloomberg.com

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