How A Teacher From Kerala Became India's Newest Billionaire

Raveendran used to teach his friends part-time who were preparing for CAT exam

Byju Raveendran, a 37-year-old former teacher, has become India’s newest billionaire. Son of physics and mathematics teachers from Azhikode village in Kannur, Kerala, Raveendran used to teach his friends part-time who were preparing for Common Aptitude Test (CAT).

India’s newest billionaire is a former classroom teacher who developed an education app that’s grown to a valuation of almost $6 billion in about seven years.

Byju Raveendran joined the rarefied club after his Think and Learn Pvt scored $150 million in funding earlier this month. That deal conferred a value of $5.7 billion on the company in which the founder owns more than 21%, people familiar with the matter said. Its closing coincided with the announcement that the company’s Byju’s app—named after the founder — will team up with Walt Disney Co. and taking its service to American shores by early 2020.

yju’s own fortunes have climbed alongside the market. Its revenues are expected to more than double to 30 billion rupees ($435 million) in the year ending March 2020, Raveendran said. That pace of growth has already caught the eye of some of the industry’s biggest investors from Naspers Ventures and Tencent Holdings Ltd. to Sequoia Capital and Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan.