There seems to be an interesting combination on the cards for India’s ed-tech sector with Byju’s acquiring Osmo. Byju’s, the leading ed-tech company with its30 million subscribers and over 2 million paid customers recently announced that it is acquiring Osmo, a kid-friendly augmented reality games. This is a big step for Byju’s both at the global market level and with the investment part.
Osmo was founded in 2013 by Jerome Scholler and Pramod Sharma and launched its first product in 2014. The company had created a clever mirror where the camera could detect the objects from the surface and recognize the letters. It is a kid-friendly product that uses Augmented reality in a simple way. Osmo went on to create a series of educational games and soon became the favorite in many US schools. Osmo is also in talks with sesame street and Mattel’s hot wheels for various game designs.
Byju’s has a K12 learning app that not only concentrates on the elementary and high school students but also engineering and other graduate level exam aspirants. Byju’s learning app concentrates on the age group 9 yrs – 17 yrs, by joining hands with Osmo Byju’s is expanding its platform to the 3 -9 years as well. The acquisition will bring about a number of learning activities for the kids of a particular age group and works best with its global expansion plans.
Byju Raveendran and Pramod Sharma, the CEO’s of Byju’s and Osmo come from very similar humble backgrounds and understand the challenges that children from the rural areas of India face in terms of education accessibility and they feel that both the companies coming together would definitely open a world of opportunities both from the business standpoint and in facilitating education accessibility across the nation. While accessibility to education remains a challenge to students in various rural areas, access to smartphones for students has been increasing in a very fast pace and parents are warming up to the idea of their kids using it for educational purposes as opposed to recreational purpose previously.
Raveendran, in an interview recently stated that the acquisition of Osmo clearly gives them a head start to the US market and also feels that the number of English speaking aspirants is increasing across the globe and more so in the major parts of Asia and Africa. Raveendran also has big plans of scaling the employee strength at Osmo and to base them out of India. When questioned on similar lines Pramod Sharma commented excitedly mentioning that they would continue to do what they have been doing only at a much larger and faster pace.
As per the Byju’s CEO, the investors seem to be equally excited about the acquisition and are not really thinking of exiting anytime soon. The existing investors definitely seem to be on board about the combined plans of Osmo and Byju’s. Meanwhile, Osmo has a small share of the US household and intends to grow into a much larger part and is already working on Android.
When questioned about the pricing Pramod Sharma mentioned that the shelf life for educational content was very long when compared to entertainment and that the value potential is extremely high and feels that the Byju’s have created a very huge engine and that would definitely help in scaling Osmo. Sharma also went ahead and mentioned that this collaboration will make them the Apple of Education and Raveendran seemed to jointly agree that this would be the most powerful and biggest brand in this sector and feels that there is a huge gap between the ability to pay and the willingness to pay but is confident of change.
India with its challenges of training the teachers to thereby improve the quality of education, changes in the one size fits all approach, changes of passive into active learning format are all some of the areas of improvement that would help equip the youth of the nation to better prepare them to fill the skilled, semi-skilled and other unskilled job requirements that seem to be the future of the employment.