Meet Byju’s Anita Kishore, the maths teacher and chief strategy officer who stood strong behind global acquisitions, managing investor relations, raising funds and framing strategies for India’s biggest Edtech Company. She can frequently be heard saying that teaching is what she started doing first. And teaching is what she continues to do even now. She records her maths and physics classes for students either late at night, between midnight and 2 am, or early in the morning, between 4 am and 6 am.
About Anita Kishore
The IIM Ahmedabad alumnus, who joined Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in May 2009 as project leader before joining Byju’s in 2012 and after that there has been no looking back for her and she has kept growing and grooming.
In terms of teaching being her passion she says that-
“There is no profession as satisfying as teaching, and this is what keeps her driven”.
Kishore, who is known to have a no-nonsense and blunt approach in leading negotiations, both during fundraising and buyouts has been a star in the company and has helped Byju’s with the global acquisitions and all the major strategies.
What Other Company Members has to Say About Anita
Venture capitalists are mesmerised by Anita’s smart-work and the ability to cope up with tough situations as well. GV Ravishankar, managing director of Sequoia India said that-
“Anita complements Byju well, having the ability to be tough in situations that demand that approach”.
Byju’s Praises Anita for her Sense of Ownership
She works closely with Byju’s on inorganic growth strategies; she also plays the role of a strategic CFO, working on capital allocation decisions and fundraises, along with investor management. To this Byju’s says that-
“Her sense of ownership is at an extremely high level, elevating her actions, decisions and strategic inputs to a bar one usually expects of a co-founder.”
Anita is well known for her optimistic and graceful approach to resolve issues and handling investments. And finally her optimism paid off when most of those investors who denied joining hands with Byju’s later hopped on to Byju’s bandwagon later on, but this time at a lump sum price. To this she said that-
“They observed our performance for a few years and then got convinced.”
Wrapping up the investment and profit extraction plan she said that, “We are very capital-efficient.” The company was not built by raising external capital. During the offline days, which were the initial business model, it was always profitable, and the company kept on investing back profits to build the business.
“In our culture, we launch products and scale; then only the unit economics are strong,”
-she says, claiming that the core business is profitable.
Byju’s Recent Achievements
This month, Byju’s beefed up its US play by buying another American company Epic. Back home in India, there is no let-up in the pace of acquisitions. In late July, the edtech goliath bought professional and higher education startup Great Learning for $600 million, and closed the acquisition of its rival Toppr.
In April this year, it bought offline tutorial chain Aakash, reportedly for $950 million. Byju’s, which has reportedly raised between $2.5 billion and $2.7 billion so far, is not done yet.
Anita Speaks Up on Facing Success and Failures
When asked for the reason behind company’s success in fundraising and achieving huge milestones she said that-
“I strongly believe that your competition is always against yourself, If today you’re doing better than you were yesterday, then that is success.”
And when asked about how to face failures in life or in business she stated that, “It’s just a misstep that can be corrected”. One doesn’t need to either glamourize failure or treat it as an inhibiting factor. She shared a simple formula for us all that fail fast, learn from it and move on.
Anita’s Secret Formula For Self-assessment
She concludes by sharing her secret formula for self-assessment-
“I don’t believe in grades and marks, Just fall in love with whatever you are doing.”