BYJU’S Acquires K-12 Tynker Coding Platform to Accelerate U.S. Expansion
Edtech Major BYJU’S acquired the US-based K-12 coding platform Tynker, to accelerate the company’s expansion in the United States.
BYJU’S bought 100% of Tynker’s share capital in a cash and stock deal, said Tynker co-founder and CEO Krishnan Vedati. Activity area. Tynker co-founders Vedati, Srinivas Mandyam and Kelvin Chong will remain in office and continue to carry out Tynker’s mission of providing every child with a solid foundation in computing, programming and critical thinking.
The acquisition will help BYJU’S expand its presence in the United States by adding more than 60 million students and more than 100,000 schools to Tynker’s existing global user base. About 70 to 74 percent of Tynker users are in the United States, and the rest are from countries such as Canada, the Commonwealth and others, Mandyam said. Classes on Tynker start at $ 9 per month, so the majority of Tynker users come from middle class families in the US market.
“Joining forces with Tynker will allow us to bring the imaginations of hundreds of millions of students to life through coding. Our goal is to instill a love of programming in children around the world and we are confident that Tynker’s creative coding platform and approach to making programming fun and intuitive for kids will allow us to do this. happen even faster. said Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of BYJU’S.
Anita Kishore, chief strategy officer at BYJU, said two of the products or platforms BYJU has in this space are both complementary. BYJU acquired the coding for the children’s platform WhiteHat Jr in August 2020 for $ 300 million.
“WhiteHat Jr is a synchronous offering where the teacher teaches, while Tynker adds an asynchronous element to it. This has been our philosophy across all subjects. We have a similar model with math and science whereby BYJU’s school learning app is asynchronous app where kids learn on their own, then teacher assisted learning is also available for kids. So we’ll be applying the same philosophy here, to make asynchronous and teacher-assisted mode available to kids, so that once they’ve learned something, they can build on it, create with it, and keep building. to learn. Kishore added.
Tynker will be tightly integrated with all of Byju’s platforms, according to Kishore, the Tynker platform can have a much bigger impact beyond just coding. For example, using coding to create art or learn geometry.
Similar to Tynker, an early stage edtech startup in India, Tekie has also built its own product to teach coding to teens. The platform is based on animated educational series to help students master the basics of programming languages. Even though Tekie’s platform has various cues and conversation features to guide kids through the learning journey, the company has added teacher support to its lessons.
“Even though there are fewer operational challenges when you build an asynchronous platform (without the support of a teacher), from an educational perspective, it is important to have the support of a teacher to enable each student to learn, because each student has their own learning styles, ”said Shantanu Najhawan. , founding member of Tekie.
Tekie has created an animation-based edtech platform for students over 12 to learn to code. The company has built an in-house animation studio to develop its educational animation series which includes artists and writers who have worked with global projects like Marvel and Rick and Morty.
A decade of Tynker
A major difference between WhiteHat Jr and Tynker is that WhiteHat Jr had partnered with a nonprofit platform Code.org to provide coding studios for children as well as live teaching assistance. This is similar to the model that most of the other kids coding companies have adopted in India. On the other hand, Tynker has built his own platform to teach children to learn coding through a story-based program.
Interestingly, Tynker had built his platform before Code.org. Launched in 2011, Tynker essentially gamifies the learning journey for students where they have to drag and drop coding blocks to move forward in the story. The company partnered with popular brands like Lego, Minecraft, Barbie, Hot Wheels, which made the stories even more engaging.
“There were mainly only three platforms when we started. There was a platform called Scratch, which we also took inspiration from. Scratch is a great tool, but it’s not a learning experience. Our co-founder therefore wrote a mini programming language comparable to zero but we made it available on the browser, this is the first innovation that we made and we patented it, ”said Vedati.
“We allow kids to use block coding and build things like pedometers and rain alarms, weather sensors and things like that – it’s because we have our own code that can work on those. little things, which is why we are not built on other platforms, ”said Srinivas Mandyam, co-founder of Tynker.
Bengaluru-based edtech platform WizKlub is one of the few edtech companies in India that has built its own platform to teach coding to children. WizKlub Founder and CEO Amit Bansal said having this code.org is a great platform to introduce kids to coding, but after the first month the platform gets repetitive. “You need to be in control of the technology platform to introduce kids to new technologies like IoT, Alexa, conversational AI, which the code.org platform just can’t support. Which depends on a third party platform like the code.org limitation, ”Bansal added.
In the past year and a half, BYJU’S has acquired two other large edtech companies in the United States: Osmo, the learning system for creating healthy screen time experiences, and Epic, the digital reading platform. . The three acquisitions correspond to BYJU’s goal of investing $ 1 billion in the US edtech market over the next three years.