scorecardThe many troubles at BYJU’s that goes beyond the recent layoffs
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The many troubles at BYJU’s that goes beyond the recent layoffs

The many troubles at BYJU’s that goes beyond the recent layoffs
Business3 min read
  • BYJU's is an edtech platform founded in 2015 with a current valuation of $22 billion.
  • Management of the edtech platform says cost-cutting is being done to “achieve overall profitability by March 2023”.
  • Many edtech firms have resorted to layoffs this year.
Indian edtech decacorn BYJU's announced yesterday that it has laid off 2,500 employees as it has consolidated the many platforms it has acquired – like Toppr, Meritnation, TutorVista, Scholar and HashLearn.

This move, the company said, is a way to avoid redundancies in job roles and the layoffs constitute 5% of its workforce.

“These measures will help us achieve profitability in the defined time frame of March 2023," said Mrinal Mohit, CEO, BYJU'S India business.

As per the audited FY21 financials that it released last month after an 18-month delay, its losses widened by 20 times to ₹4,589 crore.

In the last three years, the company has been on an acquisition spree. Its biggest one so far is that of offline test preparatory services provider Aakash for $1 billion in 2021. The payments to PE major Blackstone, which owned 38% in Aakash, were eventually cleared by the company, albeit after delays.

It has also purchased Singapore-based Great Learning for $600 million in 2021. Both these entities will function independently, Byjus had said.

Edtechs in trouble

This year, many edtech companies have been suffering from loss of clientele after offline classes have commenced and screen fatigue. Since July this year, many edtech companies like Unacademy and Vedantu have been laying off employees.

Byju’s which has by then also made its presence felt in offline coaching, is also known to have gone down the same path. As per reports, WhiteHat Jr, owned by Byju's, laid off around 300 employees in June from the code-teaching and sales teams.

However, various media reports have pegged the layoff number between 1,500-2,500. The company vehemently denied the numbers, but did admit to retrenchments.

“To recalibrate our business priorities and accelerate our long-term growth, we are optimizing our teams across our group companies. This entire exercise involves less than 500 employees from across Byju's group companies,” the company spokesperson said after denying the 2,500 layoff number.

In good shape says management

The edtech giant, which is valued at around $22 billion and is the first edtech unicorn in India has also been under scrutiny for various reasons. The company management however insists that it is in good shape.

Divya Gokulnath, the company’s co-founder also came out in defense of the company saying that a lot has happened since its FY21 results and its widened losses have already been cut by half in FY22.

“It’s easy to forget that we are 18 months post FY21, and that BYJU’S has grown more than 4 times in this span,” she wrote in an open letter on LinkedIn.

For this year, the company has set a target to achieve $2 billion in revenues. The company founder has stated time and again that this “revenue within sight”.

On the other end of the spectrum, Byju’s users have been complaining about aggressive sales tactics and its effects on learning abilities. Moreover, a few of its employees too publicly spoke of its high-pressure tactics and practices that’s turned almost exploitative to Indian parents who place a lot of value on their children’s education.

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