In my deep dive into Byju’s, the company that used to be a big deal in the test-prep world, I’ve stumbled upon a pretty gloomy story. I’ve poked around with careful research and numbers, trying to figure out what went wrong and how Byju’s ended up in such a tight spot.
In just a year, Byju’s, once a titan in edtech, has seen a sharp decline. Investors lost confidence, and its founder, Byju Raveendran, is no longer a billionaire. Unethical practices, aggressive growth, and financial missteps led to this fall. It questions the valuation of Indian startups, signaling a potential shift from a funding summer to a funding winter. But most importantly, why should You care? Let’s engage in the process of learning together, getting to the bottom of how Byju’s went from high-fives to a not-so-great situation. Let’s break down the not-so-pretty details of how they hit the rock bottom!
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Here’s the scoop on Byju’s story. I thought they were a super successful education company, but the more I looked into it, things got a bit tricky. They’re known for their cool ways of teaching, but then I found out they’re really pushing hard to grow, maybe too hard. And their advertising tactics are a bit much. So, even though they’re doing well, it makes me wonder if they’re really focused on making education better or just on making money. And those marketing moves they’re making are making me question if they’re doing things the right way. In short, Byju’s success story has a not-so-great side. As we keep exploring their history, it’s clear there’s more to the story than what they show off.
Founders: Visionaries or Architects of Downfall?
In the world of education technology, Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath were like a powerful team leading the way. Byju, the leader, and Divya, the partner, seemed to be changing education. But when you look closer, their story has a surprising turn.
- Byju Raveendran, the leader of a big educational technology company, started by wanting to change how students learn. The company, called Byju’s, has millions of learners in many countries. At first, it seemed like Byju’s was very successful, but when we look closer, we find problems like bad practices and money troubles.
- Divya Gokulnath, the co-founder and support for Byju’s, played a big part in telling the story of the company’s success. However, there are issues like money problems and problems inside the company that make us question her role. Is she quietly leading Byju’s, or does her job go beyond what the company tells us?
Dubious Marketing Strategies
Imagine teachers, who are supposed to teach, feeling forced to sell Byju’s stuff. This blurs the line between teaching and selling, and it makes us question if Byju’s is doing the right thing. But it doesn’t stop there. Byju’s is also talking to parents and saying things about their kids’ school performance that might not be completely true. Parents always want the best for their kids, but when companies make big promises that might not be true, it’s not okay. These actions are not just making Byju’s look bad; they’re making people wonder if the company is really doing good things in education, or if they’re just using tricky methods to make more money.
Workforce Layoffs and Restructuring
Byju’s recently laid off some people, which is not good news. They cut about 5% of their workers, and what surprised me was that it wasn’t only in one area or level of the company. It affected different parts of the organization. In alignment with Byju’s, several Indian startups implemented layoffs, as detailed in the provided table:
|No. of Employees Laid Off
|% of Employees Laid Off
|Reason for Layoff
|Total Employees (before layoff)
|Employees Asked to Resign
|Adverse Economic Conditions
While reading about Byju’s and its layoff story, I found a post by Arpit Singh, who used to work at Byju’s. Even though he worked really hard, he got laid off:
Businesses carefully consider their choices before laying off employees, but the impact on the affected individuals is big. In the latest round of layoffs at BYJU’s, they cut 500-1,000 more jobs, bringing the total for the year to 4,000. This affected various departments, including sales, marketing, non-sales teams, and senior management. Even employees from Whitehat Jr, a company acquired by BYJU’s, were encouraged to leave voluntarily due to the company’s challenges. These layoffs aren’t just about losing jobs; they also make people question if Byju’s is financially stable and making smart decisions. It makes us wonder if the layoffs were to save money or if there are deeper problems in how the company manages money.
Extravagant Expenditures and Misaligned Priorities
I found something surprising in my research about Byju’s money choices. They spend a lot on advertising and sponsorships, which seems odd and needs a closer look. Such as making the following people the brand ambassadors:
- Global football icon Lionel Messi
- Superstar Shahrukh Khan
- Cricketer Virat Kohli
- Badminton player PV Sindhu
- Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra
and diving into FIFA World Cup sponsorships. This opulent approach to marketing, however, stands in stark contrast to the recent wave of employee layoffs.
Now let’s take a look at the amount offered to these big names:
|Not Available Publicly
|$5-7 million per year
|Byju’s co-founder Byju Raveendran implied a social partnership with Messi for free education to the Messi foundation, with no money exchanged.
|Rs 15 crore
|Increase brand awareness and visibility of Byju’s through a three-year ambassadorial deal.
|Rs 4.61 crore per bilateral match, Rs 1.51 crore per ICC match, $55 million for BCCI contract
|Byju’s became the official sponsor of the Indian cricket team and renewed contract with BCCI, aiming to leverage Virat Kohli’s prominent face.
|Rs 50 lakh per day
|Aimed at inspiring young learners, Byju’s signed PV Sindhu as brand ambassador for a speculated Rs 50 lakh per day for a two-year period.
|Rs 7-8 crore per year
|Neeraj Chopra, Olympic gold medalist, signed a three-year endorsement deal with Byju’s for a speculated Rs 7-8 crore per year.
Byju’s is spending a lot of money to have Lionel Messi promote their brand. Some people are wondering if this is the best way to use their money, especially when they had to lay off employees due to financial issues. The company also spent a lot on sponsoring the FIFA World Cup, around $30-40 million, which makes people question their priorities. It seems strange that a company claiming financial problems is spending so much on global endorsements. This makes us question if the leaders at Byju’s are making good financial decisions and keeping the company stable.
Aakash Acquisition and Financial Misconduct Allegations
My thorough investigation into Byju’s ambitious acquisition of Aakash Educational Services, a deal worth over $950 million shows Byju’s tried to buy Aakash Educational Services for a lot of money, but it seems like they made a big mistake. Another company, Davidson Kempner, says Byju’s did something wrong with money. Now, there are legal problems and doubts about Aakash’s plans to go public. It’s like a big plan that didn’t work out, and now Byju’s is in trouble. The problems from the Aakash deal are causing a lot of problems for Byju’s, making people question the leaders and how they handle money. It’s a tough situation that could really hurt Byju’s success.
Financial Turmoil and Lender Disputes
As I studied more, I found a big problem with Byju’s money. They’re accused of hiding $500 million and not paying a $40 million loan. This is really bad for their financial health. Here is the summary of Byju’s Net Loss and Total Income:
Byju’s is having big problems with the people who lent them money, like Redwood Investments LLC and Silver Point Capital LP. They’re not just arguing about money, but also about being treated badly while trying to get the money back. It’s like a big fight over money, and it’s making everyone unsure about Byju’s.
People who invested money in Byju’s are now worried because of all this trouble. The company used to seem really good, but now the investors are losing money, and things don’t look as good as they used to. It shows that the problems with money and fights are not just inside the company; they’re affecting everyone who trusted and invested in Byju’s. The accusations of hiding money and not paying what they owe are not just small problems; they’re causing a big financial mess. As the fights with lenders get worse, Byju’s is having a hard time staying stable.
Auditor Resignation and Board Member Exodus
Something surprising happened in my investigation! Byju’s auditor, Deloitte Haskins, suddenly quit because of delays in money reports and the mistakes in the 2021 records. They didn’t like how they counted money earned and paid interest for customers’ loans. This shocked the money people, and now we’re worried about what’s going on with Byju’s. Big names are leaving Byju’s, like GV Ravishankar, Russell Dreisenstock, and Vivian Wu. Deloitte, their trusted auditor for years, also left. This isn’t just about money problems; it shows something’s really wrong inside Byju’s. Important people leaving means they don’t trust the leaders. It’s not just a small issue; it looks like a big problem for Byju’s.
Workers at Byju’s might feel worried and unsure about their future at the company. They might have more stress, fewer rewards, and lower spirits. Some may want to leave because they don’t trust the company to keep growing. The auditor quitting could also make it tough for Byju’s to find and keep good employees because it could harm the company’s reputation and trust in the market.
|At the Peak
|Byju’s valuation skyrockets to 22 billion dollars, making it the world’s most expensive Ed Tech startup.
|The largest non-founder shareholder drastically slashes Byju’s valuation to 5.1 billion dollars, marking a downfall of over 75%.
|Post Valuation Drop
|Byju’s responds by laying off around 1,000 employees, leading to allegations of financial mismanagement.
|EPFO data reveals non-payment of PF money to many employees by Byju’s parent company, Think and Learn Private Limited.
|Tax Deduction Controversy
|Rumors circulate about Byju’s deducting taxes from employees but allegedly diverting the funds for other purposes.
|Ad Account Suspension by Tech Giants
|Google and Facebook suspend Byju’s accounts for running ads and failing to settle dues.
|Unsettled Loan Refunds
|Customers who bought courses on loan request cancellations and refunds. Byju’s response includes continuing to pay EMIs, leaving customers frustrated.
Conclusion: Unraveling the Downfall of Byju’s
Byju’s used to be a big name in education technology, but now it’s in trouble. The company made some bad choices, like doing things that aren’t fair and managing money poorly. They also made some mistakes in their plans. My research shows that these decisions hurt the company’s trust and stability.
For Byju’s to get better, they need to make big changes in how they do business. They have to be honest and fair, and their leaders need to be really committed to doing the right thing. We don’t know for sure if Byju’s can fix things and become successful again. The company’s future is uncertain, and we’ll have to wait and see if they can turn things around. Keep an eye out for updates on Byju’s, as their story of decline might have a chance for improvement.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What is Byju’s?
A: Byju’s is an edtech company offering online learning solutions.
Q2: Why did Byju’s face a funding crunch?
A: Byju’s faced a funding crunch due to the Covid-19 impact, increased competition, and governance issues.
Q3: How did Byju’s respond to the crisis?
A: Byju’s responded by laying off employees, defaulting on debt, resigning its auditor, and acquiring companies.
Q4: What were the consequences of Byju’s response?
A: Consequences were mixed – raised funds, increased user base, but faced backlash from stakeholders.
Q5: What are the main challenges for Byju’s in the future?
A: Future challenges include regaining stakeholder trust, adapting to changing education trends, and managing rising competition.
Q6: What are the main opportunities for Byju’s in the future?
A: Future opportunities include leveraging brand recognition, tapping into online education, and exploring new avenues for growth.
Q7: What are the customer reviews of Byju’s app and website?
A: Reviews are mixed – some satisfied with the learning experience, while others disappointed with service quality.
Q8: What are the ratings of Byju’s app and website?
A: Ratings vary. The app has a 4.2 out of 5 on Google Play Store, and the website has a 2.9 out of 5 on Trustpilot.
Q9: Who are the competitors of Byju’s in the edtech space?
A: Competitors in the edtech space include Unacademy, Vedantu, WhiteHat Jr, Khan Academy, Coursera, and Udemy.
Q10: What are the products and services offered by Byju’s?
A: Byju’s offers Byju’s Classes, Byju’s Premium, Byju’s Test Prep, Byju’s Early Learn, Byju’s Future School, and Byju’s Osmo.