Indian Startup Gets Mark Zuckerberg's Nod and $50 Million

Facebook bigwig Mark Zuckerberg liked what he saw with the educational technology company called Byju's Classes and decided to give his full support by donating $50 million.

According to Forbes, The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), headed by Zuckerberg and wife Dr. Priscilla Chan, decided to invest in the education startup after seeing its potential. Other investors such as LightSpeed Ventures and Times Internet have also invested on Byju. Sequoia Capital and Sofina donated a total of $75 million to the startup last March.

Byju's Classes is an app that helps the user learn about different subjects, especially science and mathematics, through the help of interactive tools and video lessons. The app employs an actual teacher who explains the lessons through some impressive animation.

Byju Raveendran is the founder and CEO of Byju's Classes, the largest ed-tech company in India, which is based at Koramangala in Bangalore. The idea behind Byju's came to Raveendran during one of his visits to India. Raveendran already had a job overseas but would go home whenever he could. While there, Byju helped some friends study for their competitive exams. Byju's Classes started out as an offline test prep provider. The company focused on helping those about to take the CAT, GMAT, GRE, JEE & Med, and Civil Service Exams. His intention was to hold coaching classes that were fun for his students. Byju eventually created a K-12 learning app which has been downloaded more than 5.5 million times.

The app has been making waves since it was created in 2011. It now has over 250,000 subscribers and another 30,000 users are added each month. Zuckerberg himself posted on Facebook that around 80 percent of parents who have children who use BYJU say that they saw a dramatic improvement in their learning.

CZI has so far given out around $1.6 billion to charities, researchers, start-ups, and other worthwhile causes. This is the first Asian investment for CZI.

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