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The Byju’s story: From a small village in Kerala to a global edutech startup from India

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Byju Raveendran is the founder of Byju’s, an Indian edtech company. Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital, Sofina, Lightspeed Ventures, and TIL recently co-founded the company. Byju began his entrepreneurial path long before the startup industry became popular. He claims he wants to be a mentor to young people who want to start their businesses.

An entrepreneur by chance and a teacher by choice

Byju agreed to assist some of his friends who were taking the CAT in Bangalore in 2003 and achieved a perfect score. He subsequently retook the exam in 2005, this time without any preparation, and once again received a perfect 100 percentile. However, instead of getting an MBA, he saw promise in coaching people how to pass the CAT. The number of students gradually increased as a result of word of mouth. In 2007, he would educate over 1000 pupils in an auditorium, which could be considered a slightly different sort of offline teaching.

Byju is the creator of Byju’s, a Bangalore-based non-interactive teaching institution. Byju claims that teaching has always been the main motivator. “We were obliged to be creative to teach in a new approach and anticipate the kind of doubts that students would have,” he explains.

Going offline to online

Byju, the creator of Byju’s, founded his company in 2011 with the support of some of his IIM-graduated pupils. The goal was to create a learning software for school pupils to help them understand their basics during those key early years of learning, as this will have a long-term influence. Byju claims that it took him four years to develop these items and that he sought to make them as effective as possible.

Kerala’s Azhikode and extra-curricular activities

Byju claims that focusing on extracurricular activities has aided in the development of his capabilities both in and out of the classroom. Byju’s products have spread across India, not just in metros, but also in small communities where access is still a challenge.

Byju’s products are based on the idea that pupils should be able to learn on their own. His products are designed to disrupt the cycle of memorising, replicating, and forgetting information shortly after an exam. According to Byju, every student is competing with himself as a result of this. He argues that once students begin to use the app, they enjoy it, and as parents discover that it is being utilised for educational purposes, it becomes a significant benefit.

$50 million funding and going international

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s investment arm, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), recently co-funded Byju’s with $50 million. CZI loved how they are creating an effect across India, in metros and rural communities. Byju’s has 250,000 users who spend an average of 40 minutes each day on the app, and it’s working. According to a survey, nearly 80% of parents claimed it significantly benefited their children’s learning.

Byju intends to concentrate on developing engaging solutions that will assist students in learning on their own, with an emphasis on international markets. The items will be available in 18 to 24 months. Byju wants to build a solid solution that would benefit students and help them learn more effectively. He currently has a 500-person high-quality product development team divided into three cores: media, content, and technology.

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Leadership

4 Must Reads – Straight from Elon Musk’s recommendation list

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Elon Musk’s reading collection includes science fiction classics as well as complicated literature on cutting-edge technologies. His vision as the leader of some of the world’s most valuable companies makes it interesting to take a peek into the inner workings of his mind. Musk is also known for sharing his suggestions on social media. 

Let’s evaluate some fascinating reads from his recommendations.

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson 

This book chronicles the ambitious and adventurous life of Apple’s brilliant entrepreneur and eccentric creator. Steve Jobs covers the man’s successful enterprises, beginning with his early experiences with spirituality and LSD and ending at the pinnacle as a worldwide technology superstar. This is a well-researched book that goes into the thinking of the man behind the world’s most valuable technological business.

Life 3.0, by Max Tegmark

The Brief Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, Elon Musk’s latest book, is one of the few that explores the idea of AI being used for good rather than harm in the world. Max Tegmark, an MIT scientist, addresses how to keep Artificial Intelligence helpful to humans while simultaneously ensuring that technological progress is consistent with humanity’s long-term goals.

The Big Picture, by Sean M. Carroll

The Big Picture is a bold examination of the world we live in and how we may make sense of the vast majority of it through scientific thought. It teaches readers how to think about the most difficult things, such as the origins of life, awareness, and the cosmos itself, using a deductive approach. Sean Carroll is a practicing theoretical physicist with some unique philosophical perspectives. Sean invented the phrase “poetic naturalism”, which is addressed in the book.

Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom

Superintelligence is intended to be a serious, hard-headed examination of the impending arrival of computers that are far smarter than humans. Musk has often warned about the dangers of unfettered Artificial Intelligence, and this book examines the pitfalls of taking technology too far too soon. 

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Freshwork’s inspiring success story makes employee crorepatis

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Freshworks IPO has made 500 employees crorepatis

Freshworks Inc., led by Girish Mathrubootham, became the first Indian Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company to get on the NASDAQ, which helped the valuation of the company reach a sky-high value of $13 billion.

Through stock options, around 500 of Girish’s employees turned into ‘crorepatis’, out of which 70 are said to be under 30.

Born to a former bank officer in 1975, Girish co-founded Freshdesk (now Freshworks) with Shan Krishnasamy in 2010. Atwell College from Australia was the first of many clients on board. The company managed to get 22 clients worldwide in the initial days.

Entrepreneurship is never a smooth journey, with success never guaranteed. “Success and happiness are two different things – One should focus on staying happy irrespective of what is happening around you. We always hold the key to our happiness,” says Girish.

Girish also mentions how grateful he is to all his employees and that the 500 new ‘crorepatis’ deserved a reward for their contribution over the years. About 4300 of Freshwork Inc’s employees globally hold equity options in the company.

Girish strongly believes in mentorship. He also founded SaaSBooMi, a community of founders who share hard-learned experiences by making these learnings available to all. “Passion and purpose are more important than almost anything else,” said Girish talking about young entrepreneurs looking to leave their mark. In the long run, he hopes to build a SaaS company that is recognized globally.

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Shaji Thomas: The Indian Superhero who is saving the Amazon Rainforest

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Global warming, forest depletion, and other hazardous effects on our environment have been increasing rapidly as days go by. There are still a few souls who do everything they can to make sure they somehow play a part in saving us from what is known as the end of our existence.

One such hero is Shaji Thomas. He has been in a fight for the last 26 years to protect and save the Amazon Rainforests of Brazil. Here is a look into his heroic struggle to ensure a better future for us all. 

Shaji Thomas: Guardian of the Amazon Rainforest

Shaji Thomas who hails from Kerala carried his bags and shifted to Brazil as a young student. This young smart superhero is now an environmental conservationist and a lawyer, but what is more fascinating about him is the fact that he stayed back after his education for one special cause.

Shaji Thomas decided to fight and protect the Amazon Forests of Brazil and the rights for the 60 plus communities that reside in the region. This passion began when he was in his mid-twenties and was a part of the Quilombola Community. 

The battle was not easy in the beginning. Thomas had to acquire Brazilian citizenship and become the only Indian-origin lawyer in the region. He stood up to the mafia and lived on a boat in the rivers of the Amazon for years. 

This superhero has been holding up a strong fight for years but there is still a lot of work to do. Climate change is something that has been on the rise leading to major destruction of the rainforests. Thomas claims that almost 20 sq. km burns every year due to forest fires.

Shaji Thomas is working hard every year and inspiring people all over the world to play their part to ensure that the Earth’s lungs are safeguarded, and we have a sustainable future.

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