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

Baiju, India’s most valuable startup, has had a tough 2022 thanks to a series of controversies over its finances, unpaid loans, governance and layoffs, among others.

The ETtech team has been monitoring all the developments surrounding Byju. Here are five must-read stories:

Byju’s loss in delayed FY21 results stands at Rs 4,588 crore.

Bijou's financial performanceETtech

After a delay of almost 18 months, Byju’s released its audited results for the financial year ending March 2021 in September 2022. The company shifted its income from operations to Rs 2,280 crore even as it incurred a huge loss of Rs 4,588 crore, up from just Rs. 262 crore in the previous financial year.

This was a significant decrease of 48% compared to the expected income. Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of Byju’s, attributed it to business model changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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In a lengthy post on LinkedIn, co-founder Divya Gokulnath also dismissed media reports about the company’s financial lag in FY21.

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Byju laid off around 2,500 employees in a “rationalisation” bid

A month after presenting its FY21 audited financials 18 months late, Bijou announced mass layoffs in October. The company said it would lay off 2,500 people, or about 5 percent of its 50,000-strong workforce.

Also Read: Byju employees reveal harsh working conditions at edtech giant

Earlier, 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 layoff process was not as “smooth” as the company had hoped.

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

Access to a variety of capital to close large multi-billion dollar acquisitions: CEO

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

We’re looking at large multi-billion dollar acquisitions… that’s why we have access to all kinds of capital. We are considering 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 capital 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 invested in Indian value startups.

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

In December, the startup hired an adviser to restructure its $1.2 billion loan. It also delayed plans to list the $1 billion Akash Educational Services.

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ICAI, NCPCR probe and more

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

Lok Sabha member Karti Chidambaram had earlier expressed concerns about the financial condition of the edtech startup.

Later, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) summoned Raveendran over false allegations by the company’s sales team.

“Loss After Loss”: Parents detail how Bijou drove them into debt

Subsequently, NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanongo told ET that Byju’s will conduct a trial for affordability to better understand the financial bandwidth of parents.

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Biju buys phone numbers of kids, parents and threatens them: NCPCR chief

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