Ed-tech startup Byju’s sharply narrowed its loss for the year through March 2018, as a two-fold jump in operating revenue offset a rise in expenses.
Bengaluru-based Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd, which runs Byju’s, reported net sales of Rs 471.18 crore for 2017-18, up from Rs 230.22 crore the previous year.
Gross revenue, which includes non-operating income such as interest earned on bank deposits, jumped to Rs 500.21 crore from Rs 248.12 crore, according to the company’s consolidated financial statements filed with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Byju’s operating revenue includes the fee it charges for its educational services. This also includes income from the sale of educational tablets, worksheets, DVDs and worksheets, as per information available on its financial documents.
Mrinal Mohit, chief operating officer at Byju’s, said in an emailed response that the company is on target to triple its revenue to Rs 1,400 crore in 2018-19. The Byju’s app has recorded 30 million downloads and 2 million paid users, he said.
The company's net loss reduced by almost half to Rs 37.15 crore from Rs 61.23 crore. This is despite an increase in total expenses to Rs 537.38 crore from Rs 309.38 crore.
Byju’s expenditure jumped mainly on account of a rise in other expenses to Rs 346.10 crore from Rs 200 crore the previous year.
Marketing and promotional costs came in at Rs 188.50 crore, accounting for almost 35% of other expenses. The company has roped in popular actor Shah Rukh Khan as its brand ambassador.
Founded in 2011, Byju's originally started off as a coaching platform for competitive entrance exams. It launched content for students from classes 4 to 5 last year. It now plans to launch an app for students in classes 1-3 over the coming months. Mohit said the company is focusing on getting the K-3 product for grades 1-3 ready for launch in 2019.
The company is the most funded and most valued Indian startup in the ed-tech segment. It has raised around $775 million from a bunch of well-known investors that include Naspers, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), General Atlantic, Tencent, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Belgian family office Verlinvest and the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation.
In its most recent round of funding, it secured $540 million (Rs 3,855 crore) last month from investors led by South African tech conglomerate Naspers. The round valued the company around $3.8 billion.
The company has made four known acquisitions till date. In its most recent buyout, Byju’s bought math learning platform Math Adventures for an undisclosed sum in July last year.
In July 2017, it bought Pearson-owned Tutorvista and Edurite as part of a single deal. Six months before that, it had acquired Bengaluru-based learning guidance tool and student profile-builder Vidyartha for an undisclosed amount.
Byju's plans to expand overseas by venturing into English-speaking territories. It has been scouting for distribution partners in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore.
“For the international product, we are working with some of the most popular YouTube teachers who are experts in their own domains. We are getting them to India to record and help us with product development, too," Mohit said.
*This article has been updated with Byju's comments.