In an effort to expand its educational product offering and international reach, India-based edtech company BYJU’s is launching Lab, a new tech incubator based in the US, UK and India.
Lab will be focused on producing new IPs, technology, prototypes and products that compliment the company’s existing educational business. Initially, it’s looking to hire people with experience in AR, gamification, machine learning and AI to create new products for kids.
BYJU’s started as an online tutoring platform in India with programs for students in preschool to grade 12. Its first content included live-action and animated educational videos explaining concepts like rainbows and pollution.
Now the company is looking to build on that momentum and keep expanding internationally through Lab and additional acquisitions, says Teri Rousseau, senior director of K3 (BYJU’s five to nine target demo unit).
The goal is to move beyond its core coding and language lessons and get into music, one-on-one learning and social-emotional curriculum. BYJU’s is also looking to start offering content focused on art and creativity, a strategically timely move given that these subjects are not being prioritized at traditional schools, Rousseau says.
Like many edtech enterprises, the challenge faced by BJYU’s is to build platforms that are focused on personalization, assessment and adaptability—which is where the incubator’s exploration of AI and machine learning comes in.
“Kids develop differently, and we need tech that can adapt,” says Rousseau. “We want content that can create that personalized experience.”
BYJU’s is also looking at creating new apps and launching asynchronous or on-demand classes so that kids and parents can determine the best schedule for their learning. And it plans to build more offline content to support kids who may struggle with screen-based teaching. BYJU’s has kickstarted these efforts with the launch of digital and physical workbooks that teach four- to eight-year-olds simple math and language skills with the help of some of Disney’s most iconic characters. Rousseau’s hope is to roll out more products that are supported by well-known brands because they are more likely to resonate globally.
Speaking of international expansion, more acquisitions of kidtech and educational companies are in the works. Beyond North America, the company is looking at opportunities in LatAm/South America and the UK, where Rousseau says BJYU’s doesn’t currently have much of a presence, even though demand for additional learning support there is high.
“We’re looking to create technology that serves education, and we’re looking for partners interested in working with us to create new ways to reach kids,” says Rousseau. “We’re taking a holistic view to education along with our own growth. [We're] not remodeling the edtech wheel—we are levelling it up.”