Byju Raveendran runs his eponymous edtech empire from a couple of floors of a fancy tech park in south Bangalore. Its floors are staffed with the beating heart of this empire—scores of marketers and aggressive sellers, and a formidable, 300-member content team that churns out animated videos for a global audience of over six million paid customers. Byju’s is now also home to over 10 startups it acquired along the way to becoming the world’s most valuable edtech, and the most successful global edtech global edtech The Ken The US$11-billion Byju’s juggernaut heads to US shores Read more that was built, ground-up, in India.
Or is it?
A mere 40 minutes from Byju’s bustling headquarters is a less familiar name that makes fast work of this claim. Called Quizizz, the six-year-old quizzing platform designed for students and teachers began life at a gallop. It already claims more than 75 million users globally. For context, the Byju’s constellation of apps and businesses took 11 years to amass 80 million registered users. And Quizizz hit this scale while spending nothing on advertising.
Quizizz’s biggest market is the US, where the company claims that one in every two schools uses its product. “The biggest markets after the US are going to be Indonesia and India. We’ve grown 20x in India over 2020,” says Deepak Cheenath, one half of the bespectacled engineer duo that founded Quizizz. According to information sourced by The Ken, the platform already has seven to eight million Indian users. The company did not confirm an exact number.
The paying potential of Quizizz’s legions of users is fast finding favour with investors. In June 2021, Tiger Global led a $31 million Series B round in Quizizz, which followed close on the heels of a $12.5 million Series A round just three months prior. Despite having raised earlier funding from marquee investors such as Nexus and Prime Venture Partners, it was Tiger’s entrance on its cap table that earned Quizizz the notoriety it deserved.
Quizizz is a case of second time lucky for founders Ankit Gupta and Cheenath, who have been at the edtech grind since 2014. Before it was sexy, says Gupta, over a Saturday evening Zoom call with The Ken. Back then, Byju’s game-changing The Byju’s Learning App was still a year away, and edtech was still about digitising content.
Gupta and Cheenath spent their first four years in the space building a “math game” called Wizen World. Aimed at making math learning more fun for students, the platform never really found a fit with its target market. That’s when Gupta and Cheenath had a second epiphany.