Byju’s Deceitful Practices

Byju’s is yet again in the news but not for good reasons this time. There have been many complaints regarding its shady practices around getting new users and financing the education. Let us look at some of them and see how the EdTech major is reportedly exploiting the market.

Crux of the Matter

What Happened?
Recently, there have been a lot of complaints about how Byju’s tends to trap parents into getting a loan for subscribing to their educational plans.

The Process

Sales Pitch

  • Byju’s’ Business Development Associates are known for their artful sales pitches.
  • Each speech would convey that the parents need to be more responsible for their child’s future and that they need to act now for the same.

Product Offering

  • The BDA position the product to be like a scholarship, by offering them at discounted prices.
  • It makes parents believe that their child is exclusively selected from a bunch of children.
  • The scholarship offer is availed for a very short period, thus luring the parents to make a hasty payment.
  • The subscription amount EMIs are then financed through third party institutes like NBFCs or Banks.

The Payment Medium

  • They also ask for Aadhar & PAN Card in order to get CIBIL & Bank details for automated EMI deductions.
  • EMIs are received through monthly instalments of Credit Cards or Electronic Clearing System.

The Trap

  • Before the parents know, the monthly amount is automatically debited post one-time authentication.
  • In more than 50% of the cases, parents had no clue that they were taking a loan.

Trial Period Frauds

  • In quite a few cases, Byju’s have dishonored the cancellation request made by the parents.
  • Some parent has complained they never received the requested refund.

Other Complaints

  • Give access to initial classes and then later complain of network issues.
  • Untrained instructors – the mentorship promises made during the sales pitch were not fulfilled.
  • Tie up with schools and make the faculties force the students to take up courses offered by Byju’s

Did you hear about Byju’s latest acquisition of Aakash Institutes for ₹7300 crores? If not then read about it here.

  • Amazon India recently launched Amazon Academy, a rebranded version of its IIT JEE preparation app JEE ready. India’s online education sector has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Covid-19 pandemic-induced shutdown in the country.
  • Sales process engineering is the engineering of better sales processes. It is intended to design better ways of selling, making salespeople’s efforts more productive. It has been described as “the systematic application of scientific and mathematical principles to achieve the practical goals of a particular sales process”.
  • The point of sale (POS) is the time and place where a retail transaction is completed. At the point of sale, the merchant calculates the amount owed by the customer, indicates that amount, may prepare an invoice for the customer, and indicates the options for the customer to make payment.

Indian Edtech Startups Booming In Times Of Covid-19

Indian Edtech Startups Booming In Times Of Covid-19

India’s Education-Technology startup Byju’s became world’s most valued EdTech startup in recent and India’s second most valued startup. Such startups are blooming with education moving online, and incentives like free courses being given to expand the reach. Let’s see how Indian EdTech startups have emerged during Coronavirus.

Crux of the Matter

In the last five years, ~4,450 EdTech startups have launched in India. With a $10.5 bn valuation, BYJU’s is the only Unicorn (and Decacorn) EdTech startup in India. Moreover, these platforms are likely to create at least 3,000 new jobs over the next year. Experts say that the education sector may spend $6 bn annually on augmented and virtual reality technologies by 2023.

To date, Byju’s has raised $1.5 billion and saw 6 million new students accessing free lessons on its platform. Whereas Unacademy has raised nearly $200 million and recorded 1.4 billion watch minutes. Toppr has also raised approximately $112 million, with 100% growth in paid users as well as a 100% increase in free user engagement. Let us have a look at some of these startups.

Byjus was founded in 2011 by Byju Raveendran. During the lockdown, it added 7.5 million new users. In the month of March, it added 6 million new students, and the time spent on the app increased to 91 mins from 70 mins. Moreover, it has introduced ‘Live Classes’ on its app. In the month of April, the startup registered revenue of ₹350 crores. Byju’s is now the world’s most valued EdTech startup with a valuation of ~$10.5 billion, and India’s second most valued startup after Paytm.

Whitehat Jr.
Whitehat Jr. is a Mumbai-based startup founded in December 2018 by Karan Bajaj. This startup offers courses on topics like data structure, app and game development, machine learning, space technology, etc. It is unique as it has 1 to 1 online teaching platform for children (age 6 to 18). In 2019 WhiteHat Jr. had conducted 10,000 classes per day with 150,000 students and 3000 teachers. ~700,000 students are registered on the portal as of now. Recently Byju’s acquired it for $300 mn.

Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh, and Gaurav Munjal founded Unacademy. The recorded revenue in April was higher than revenue in 2017, 2018, and the first half of 2019 combined. In 2019, the startup had $36 million ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue = Total amount of yearly subscription + Total amount gained from expansion – Total amount due to cancellation of subscriptions). In 2019 it also launched a subscription product for the test-prep market. During the lockdown, in March 1.4 bn watch minutes were recorded on the platform. It’s ARR has grown 3x to $100 mn in 2020.

Vedantu is a Bengaluru-based startup founded in 2014 by Pulkit Jain, Anand Prakash & Vamsi Krishna. In April 2020 it raised $6.8 mn from South Korea-based KB Global Platform Firm and $12.56 mn from the China-based Legend Capital. Vedantu offers personalised teaching models, which are refined using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data.

Toppr is a Mumbai-based startup founded in 2013 by Zishaan Hayath, Hemanth Goteti. It offers study material like questions, solutions, concepts, practice tests, and videos for exams like JEE, NEET, etc. In March 2020 it witnessed 100% growth in paid users on a monthly basis, and 100% growth in free user engagement. The startup has announced free access to live classes and video classes for classes 5-12.

Classplus was founded in 2018. It is a B2B EdTech startup founded by Bhaswat Agarwal and Mukul Rustagi. Currently, it has a user base of 3,500 coaching centers across over 70 cities and towns in India. In May 2020 it raised $9 mn in Series A round led by RTP Global. It offers a single platform solution via its app for content distribution, payments, communication, and online assessments to educational institutions.

  • In 2019, BYJU’s won the sponsorship rights for the Indian cricket team jersey, replacing Oppo. And the company also acquired Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan as its brand Ambassador.
  • A virtual world is a computer-simulated environment which may be populated by many users who can create a personal avatar, and simultaneously and independently explore the virtual world, participate in its activities and communicate with others. Among the earliest virtual worlds implemented by computers were virtual reality simulators.
  • Meritnation is India’s 1st online learning platform for school students across different boards. It is a part of the AESL group (Aakash Educational Services Limited), a leading educational institution in India that provides comprehensive test preparatory services.