New Delhi: Byju’s, the leading edtech startup globally, has introduced innovative AI-based learning models to enhance user outcomes and expand its offerings, with the aim of attracting students and optimizing expenses.
The company launched three AI models named Badri, MathGPT, and TeacherGPT, collectively known as Byju’s WIZ, boasting an impressive 90 percent accuracy rate. Badri is a predictive AI knowledge-tracing model, MathGPT utilizes machine-learning algorithms to solve complex math challenges, and TeacherGPT offers personalized guidance to students and grades their responses.
These three AI models have already been integrated into Byju’s curriculum for students from kindergarten to class 12 at their Tuition Centers. Dev Roy, the chief learning officer at Byju’s, mentioned during a virtual interaction on June 6 that the company has plans to leverage AI and other technologies in their test preparation and upskilling segments, with AI expected to have the greatest impact in the test preparation vertical.
Although Byju’s did not disclose the exact investment made in developing these AI models, co-founder Divya Gokulnath stated that a significant portion of the models was built using ChatGPT, resulting in minimal overall costs, including the licensing fees. However, the company’s tech team invested a substantial amount of time in building these models.
Byju’s intends to utilize these platforms to improve the teaching capabilities of its tutors by conducting content audits using AI. This approach will lead to increased efficiency, enabling Byju’s to save costs in the long run. Gokulnath emphasized that leveraging technology for audits and monitoring class participation allows for a thorough assessment of the content, improving the overall learning experience while simultaneously driving down costs.
The announcement of the launch of these AI models comes shortly after Byju’s filed a case in the New York Supreme Court against its lenders, accusing them of predatory practices. The company had defaulted on a $40 million interest payment for a loan raised in November 2021. Byju’s has been engaged in a dispute with its lenders for nearly six months, with the lenders terminating renegotiation talks last week after five months of negotiations.
In addition to the lender conflicts, Byju’s has been actively seeking a large funding round to address immediate liquidity challenges. The company claims to be well-capitalized, but a substantial infusion of funds would be instrumental in overcoming these obstacles. Byju’s recently closed a $250 million funding round with Davidson Kempner through structured instruments, and it is currently in discussions with sovereign funds based in the Middle East to raise $700 million.
Founded by former teacher Byju Raveendran over a decade ago, Byju’s has successfully raised over $5 billion, with a significant portion acquired in the past five years. However, the company has faced criticism in the last 15 months due to accounting irregularities, allegations of mis-selling courses, and significant layoffs. In April, the company’s offices were searched by India’s financial probe agency, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
Byju’s released its delayed FY21 (2020-21) results in September last year, revealing a marginal drop in operating revenue compared to the previous year. This outcome was surprising considering the substantial boost in demand for online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Byju’s losses also increased to over Rs 4,500 crore in FY21. The company has yet to file its FY22 results, a crucial requirement demanded by lenders who initiated the Term Loan B acceleration after Byju failed to submit the results.