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Byju’s has generated a huge success of over 100 million people in India and beyond for its learning applications. And now the educational technology company is bringing its Learning App with Disney characters in the United States
The Disney licensed product has been tested in India for a few years and is now ready for launch in the very important US market.
I know Byju because in 2019 he paid $ 120 million for US-based Osmo – a startup I’ve covered since launching his first iPad-based learning product in 2014.
Byju started in 2011 after its founders – husband and wife team Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath – saw that the edtech opportunity would be great. Raveendran was teaching math offline to 25,000 students at a time at a large stadium in Bangalore, and the two founders believed digital learning could be much more effective. They launched their e-learning products for high school students in 2015, and now they’ve taken the products offline to e-learning through Osmo. Their business now has a valuation of over $ 16 billion.
âI used to host math sessions like this in stadiums,â Raveendran said in an interview with GamesBeat. âStudents are eager to learn, because education remains the only way for people to gain social status. In this way, starting in India was actually an advantage for us.
Their products include the magic exercise books and the learning app featuring Disney, and they have both physical and digital functionality, or what Byju and Osmo call âphygital,â Raveendran said. The products use Osmo’s AI technology, which uses an iPad’s camera and computer vision to understand what a child is doing with a spreadsheet. If the child marks the correct answer, the camera captures this information and a reward comes in the form of animated or audio recognition.
âComputer vision technology gives real-time feedback to the child when exercising in their natural environment, with a worksheet,â said Gokulnath. âIt’s like a teacher is watching them and giving them feedback. We have integrated Osmo vision technology into the product and it features Disney characters. So that intrigues the child.
Combat tested in India
Byju’s builds a mix of digital and physical learning products for K-3 children to help them develop math, language and reading skills. Byju’s has over 100 million people who have tried its freemium products and has over 6.5 million paying subscribers.
âSince being in India, it has been easy for us to get a large number of students to try the product first,â said Raveendran. âIn the first few months we iterated a lot and over the last 18 months we really took the product forward. Our base in India therefore played a crucial role. And if you ask me why India first is because we already had access to distribution. And the name of Disney is powerful globally.
Disney characters will be quite familiar to American children, and Byju has worked hard to bring storytelling into the apps.
âThere are so many popular characters that Disney and Pixar have built over many decades,â said Raveendran. âIt resonates very well with students. There is nothing better to grab the attention of students.
Recovery in the event of a pandemic
Gokulnath said the pandemic has exacerbated learning loss in children and people really need this product now to supplement education.
For example, Pace recently estimated that some students lost the equivalent of five months (or a full semester) of learning this year. Byju offers interactive content that allows children to learn at their own pace while helping to reduce parents’ fears of losing their learning due to distance learning environments.
âCreating educational products is a double challenge, because when you build something, you expect students to get involved. But more importantly, we also have to show the results to the parents, âsaid Raveendran. âYou have to find the right balance between keeping it engaging without losing efficiency. That’s why it’s such a big challenge to make products like this.
Technology makes the difference with real-time feedback.
âThese are the first days of what technology can do for education,â said Raveendran. âWith the pandemic, there has been a change in mentality. All stakeholders have realized what technology can do for education with digital tools for teachers and students. I think we are launching this at the right time and we are ready to make a big impact. “
The products offer more than 1,000 educational activities, including video lessons, reading stories and hundreds of digital worksheets. Activities are presented to children via animated Disney characters from Cars, Frozen, Moana, The Lion King, Toy story, The little Mermaid, Aladdin, and many more. You can learn to read with Belle from The beauty and the Beast.
Byju’s Magic Workbooks are a companion product to Byju’s new learning app with Disney. Interactive workbooks provide a hands-on experience using Osmo’s Reflective AI technology. Byju’s has more than 10,000 employees, including 200 on the Osmo team in Palo Alto, California.
âWe already have one of the largest self-learning and active learning platforms in the world,â said Raveendran.
Byju’s Learning App with Disney is available free for 14 days and costs $ 10 per month or $ 100 per year. A limited selection of videos and quizzes are also available for free. Each grade level magic exercise book kit is available for purchase at $ 200.
âStudents learn because they love to learn, not because they are forced to learn,â said Raveendran. “
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