Byjus: In five stories: a year of controversy for Byju’s

Byju, India’s most valuable startup, had a torrid 2022 thanks to a series of controversies over its finances, bad loans, governance and layoffs, among other things.

The ETtech team closely followed all the developments surrounding Byju. Here are five stories you must read:

Byju’s losses rise to Rs 4,588 crore in delayed FY21 results


After a delay of almost 18 months, Byju’s released its audited results for the fiscal year ending March 2021 in September 2022. The company reset its operating income to Rs 2,280 crore even as it incurred massive losses of Rs Rs 4,588 crore, as against just Rs 262 crore in the previous fiscal year.

This was a significant 48% drop from projected revenue. Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of Byju’s, attributed this to changes in the business model due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Discover the stories of your interest

Co-founder Divya Gokulnath also pushed back on media reports about the company’s delayed fiscal 21 financials in a lengthy LinkedIn post.

Byju’s lays off about 2,500 employees in ‘streamlining’ bid

A month after providing its FY21 audited financial statements 18 months late, Byju announced mass layoffs in October. The firm said it would lay off 2,500 people, or about 5% of its 50,000-person workforce.

Also Read: Byju Staff Reveal Harsh Working Conditions At Edtech Giant

Prior to this, the company had laid off at least 600 people from group companies such as Toppr and WhiteHat Jr.

Raveendran later acknowledged in an internal email that the firing process “was not as smooth” as the company claimed.

The company, which decided to close and lay off 140 employees at its product development center in Thiruvananthapuram, had to reverse the decision after state government intervention.

Access all types of capital to close large multi-million dollar purchases: CEO

Raveendran told ET in an interview in May that the next 12 months would be the best time to acquire companies.

“We are looking at large multi-billion dollar acquisitions… That is why we are accessing all kinds of capital. We are exploring acquisitions in the United States.”

Byju’s raises $800 million at a $22 billion valuation

As part of a pre-IPO round, the company raised $800 million in new funding in May. Founder Byju Raveendran invested $400 million in his personal capacity in the round.

In October, Byju’s closed a $250 million funding round from its existing investors, including the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital also poured money into India’s highest-value startup.

A few days later, Byju’s took a loan of Rs 300 crore from its subsidiary, Aakash Educational Services.

In December, the startup appointed an adviser to restructure its $1.2 billion loan. It also deferred Aakash Educational Services’ $1 billion listing plans.

ICAI, NCPCR probe and more

In November, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) said it was investigating certain “issues” with the company’s financial disclosures.

Lok Sabha member Karti Chidambaram had previously raised concerns about the edtech startup’s finances.

Raveendran was later summoned by the National Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights (NCPCR) over allegations of malpractice by the company’s sales team.

‘Loss after loss’: Parents detail how Byju pushed them into debt

NCPCR Chairman Priyank Kanoongo later told ET that Byju’s would implement an “affordability” test to help parents better understand their financial bandwidth.

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