Building the world’s largest education company is no small feat, but doing it with your spouse as your partner can seem a billion times more daunting. However, the powerful husband and wife couple and the founders of PARJU’S, the world’s largest education company, Divya Gokulnath, and Byju Raveendran share their secrets of success while maintaining a loving and successful relationship in the office and at home. “Research tells us that more than half of all new business ventures are started by a team of entrepreneurs who complement each other in various ways for entrepreneurial success,” says Dr Lebene Soga of Henley Business School Entrepreneurship Center.
In this case, “we see not only a team of entrepreneurs but also lovers who can be frank with each other and take advantage of the high level of openness they share to solve emerging business problems”, Soga adds. The husband and wife duo began their journey over a decade ago when Divya was 21 and had the opportunity to teach with Byju in India in an auditorium filled with thousands of students. The more they connected with their students, the more they both understood what was missing in education – an urgent need to move from fear of exam-based learning to love-based learning to something that fuels a learner’s curiosity.
Furthermore, in existing research on family businesses (small, medium or large), the issue of trust is paramount. “Who better than your partner or immediate family members can you trust to run a family business,” says Associate Professor Ashish Malik from the University of Newcastle, Australia. In their research Focusing on small and medium family businesses in the fashion industry in Hong Kong, Malik, along with colleagues Angie Lee, Piyush Sharma and PJ Rosenberger III, found that interpersonal trust has a stronger mediating impact in effects of incentives (vs. training) on both formal aspects. and informal knowledge sharing.
Together, Byju and Divya built BYJU’S, backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Sequoia Capital, among others, to provide high-quality, accessible, and personalized education to students around the world and share three ways to run a large-scale business with your spouse. .
Always lead with your mission and passion, even if it’s unconventional
For example, after pivoting from the success of live lectures of 25,000 learners in India, BYJU’s personalized and student-centered online learning model emerged. BYJU’S was founded in 2011 and has evolved into offering school-wide programs and supplemental learning resources, both synchronous and asynchronous. The turning point came in 2015 with the launch of its learning app which today offers unique, personalized and engaging e-learning programs to over 115 million learners in the K-12 segment.
Over time, Divya and Byju have learned to innovate creatively to adapt to the changing edtech industry while maintaining corporate integrity, keeping students at the center of every innovation and development.
But the real story lies in the makeup of the two founders – a power couple who share a partnership not just in business but in life. “Existing literature on family businesses confirms this, as partnership indeed goes beyond the business and is closely related to other life issues that they share,” says Soga. Furthermore, notes Malik, “unless there is a high level of interpersonal trust between family members in a family business, knowledge sharing will be limited, which is vital for business growth. business.
Therefore, managers and leaders of owner-operators need to establish strong levels of trust to avoid knowledge-hiding behaviors, which can damage the relationship between family members and harm job performance. Their combined desire to provide greater educational opportunities to a large population, some of whom were deprived of traditional education, led them to seek unconventional methods. Both believe that while the importance of schools is undisputed, learning from home can be made more effective and impactful through engaging learning solutions. Because of this belief, Byju and Divya have created a business that perfectly complements the school system, which aims to help refine the lessons learned in school.
Align on a common growth trajectory
The two share a vision of growth and innovation and aim to provide students with an education in every corner of the world. From starting out teaching in a classroom in India, then moving to an auditorium full of thousands of students, to launching a successful learning platform, both have always maintained their key philosophy that technology in education is not just about automation, but also about harnessing the best possible way to empower students to become lifelong learners .
To achieve this globally, Divya and Byju have begun to grow BYJU’s operations in North America over the past few years through several strategic acquisitions of like-minded companies that share the same vision, including Osmo, Epic and Tynker.
It was important to BYJU’S that each acquired business leverage their newly created models that cater to different learners. One is the asynchronous format (learning application format), which is imperative for students to become self-taught. The other is Synchronic, a live individual learning format where the children take center stage and the teacher acts as a mentor. Additionally, the company recently clarified its ambitious research agenda: realizing the science fiction dream of creating next-generation teaching aids with artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The company has leveraged technology, research and a team of more than 2,500 educators to transform education from a “one size fits all” approach to making learning engaging, interactive and personalized for every student worldwide.
Maintain a cohesive management team
Byju and Divya founded BYJU’S with their students at the heart of their mission, who today continue to lead key business areas. BYJU’s core leadership team has remained essentially unchanged since its inception in 2011, which is reflected in the company’s dedication to its mission: to create the best learning experience for students worldwide. whole. While a lot has changed, including acquiring companies like White Hat Jr., Osmo, Tynker, and Epic, and becoming the world’s most valuable edtech company, BYJU’s success hasn’t clouded its judgement. Today, BYJU’S continues to navigate its success as it did in its early days, remaining committed to changing the way millions of students learn, not building a billion-dollar company.