Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan have prioritized personalized learning from the moment they launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, their venture philanthropy vehicle. Since then, Zuckerberg has invested millions in education startups like AltSchool, where he contributed to a $100 million round, and Andela, where he led a $24 million round. Both companies tailor learning experiences with individual student needs in mind.
The Facebook founder continued that streak today, announcing that he had signed on to lead a $50 million investment round in Byju's, a mobile-first platform for math and science education based in Bengaluru, India.
"I'm optimistic about personalized learning and the difference it can make for students everywhere," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
Like U.S.-based Khan Academy, Byju's is the brainchild of a charismatic teacher using video lessons with digital "blackboards" to explain math and science problems in ways that children can easily understand. According to Zuckerberg, Byju's 250,000 subscribers spend 40 minutes per day, on average, using the app.
The investment continues Zuckerberg's unorthodox approach to charitable giving. Unlike billionaire peer Bill Gates, who has focused his donations on nonprofit organizations, Zuckerberg has been playing the part of hybrid VC-philanthropist, and considering investments in for-profit ventures alongside traditional charities.
[Screenshot: Byju's] AOC