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Byju’s founder Raveendran pledges his homes to pay staff salary

BYJU'S, a leading player in the education technology space, is now seeking between Rs 600 and Rs 700 crore to support operations until March.

According to accounts, the founder of the troubled edtech business Byju, Byju Raveendran, has promised to pay the salary of the company’s employees with both his own home and a house held by family members. According to sources, Raveendran has mostly gathered funds to cover the payroll of about 15,000 workers while the business is in dire need of cash. According to reports, the founder’s under-construction mansion in Epsilon, a gated enclave, and two residences owned by his family in Bengaluru have been presented as security for a $12 million loan. The edtech behemoth was accused of withholding some employees’ salaries last week, citing technological difficulties as the reason.

However, the edtech company verified on Monday that every one of its workers had received their November salary.  In July 2022, the business’s valuation was $22 billion; however, investors have been reducing this amount, and most recently, Prosus, an Amsterdam-listed investment company, reduced it to less than $3 billion. Hurun India Rich List 2023 was issued earlier in October, however it did not include any mention of Raveendran, who was listed as the second-richest entrepreneur in the world in the Hurun Global Rich List from March. He and his family were 994th on the world wealth list, with $3.3 billion.

Byju’s has had to cope with a number of difficulties, including a government inquiry. The federal investigate agency had been tasked with looking into the foreign investment that Think and Learn Private Limited had received as well as the company’s business practices. Byju’s, however, stated that the questions were all of a technical nature and included things like the delay in submitting annual performance reports. In comparison to the Rs 2,406 crore reported in FY21, it recorded an EBITDA loss of Rs 2,253 crore in FY22. The company is set to sell Epic, a digital reading platform located in the US, for around $400 million.

According to people with knowledge of the situation who spoke to The Economic Times, BYJU’S, a leading player in the education technology space, is now seeking between Rs 600 and Rs 700 crore to support operations until March, when it hopes to realize financial gains from the sale of Epic and partial interest sales in other subsidiaries. 

“There is about Rs 50 crore gap per month in operational expenses where a large component is salary. Promoters have pledged shares, homes, and some other real estate assets of family members to bridge the gap,” an insider told ET.

The business will also ask shareholders to approve the standalone and consolidated financial statements for FY22, per the notification of the AGM that was delivered to shareholders. Nonetheless, edtech has refrained from commenting on the report that’s been making the rounds.

Chairman of Manipal Education and Medical Group Ranjan Pai purchased a debt of Rs 1,400 crore from Davidson Kempner last month. The loan was raised by edtech giant BYJU’s. 

A $100 million, or around Rs 800 crore, penalty that Kempner sought against debt investment is included in the deal. Pai is also in talks to soon purchase more shares in AESL. In 2013, the first institutional investor in BYJU’S was Ranjan Pai’s private fund, Aarin Capital.

You might also be intersted in – Government orders inspection of Byju’s account books: Report

Dr. Shubhangi Jha

Avid reader, infrequent writer, evolving

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