Byju’s pays January salaries; CEO says struggle was even bigger this time

BENGALURU : Embattled edtech company Byju’s co-founder and CEO Byju Raveendran on Sunday told employees that the company had credited their salaries for January earlier than promised.

For a company fighting fires on several fronts—including delayed loan repayments, mounting losses, and key investors seeking Raveendran’s ouster—signing off on routine monthly salaries has merited an announcement considering Byju’s is scrambling to meet its operational costs.

“I know you were told that you will get your salaries by Monday… But you did not have to wait even till Monday. I have been moving mountains for months to make payroll, and this time, the struggle was even bigger to ensure that you receive what you rightfully deserve,” Raveendran said in a letter to employees on Sunday.

For Byju’s, salaries add up to 70 crore a month, according to a Moneycontrol report. Its total expenses stood at 13,668 crore in FY22. The company is looking to raise $200 million from its investors through a rights issue at a valuation of $200-225 million, about 99% lower than its peak valuation of $22 billion.

Byju’s has been laying off employees and has delayed full and final settlements of those employees on multiple occasions. The company reportedly undertook an exercise to reduce its workforce by 3,000-3,500 in October. 

Raveendran also wrote in detail about his personal challenges in the letter. 

“I am not implying that these challenges have not shaken me. Entrepreneurs are supposed to be stoic and steadfast. They indeed have an irrational capacity to suffer and the ability to eventually prevail over all that pain. But they, too, laugh, cry, work, weep and bleed the same way as any other person navigating the joys and complexities of life. They, too, hope and worry about what tomorrow might bring. They, too, hug their kids when they get scared,” he wrote. 

Last week, some investors of the company, including General Atlantic, Prosus Ventures, Peak XV and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, called for an extraordinary general meeting to propose a change in the beleaguered company’s leadership, including the removal of Raveendran. They also called for a reconstitution of the company’s board.

Raveendran, however, has said the investors did not have the right to change the company’s chief executive or management under their shareholders’ agreement. Raveendran wrote about it in the letter saying this fight is only against a few vested interests who were trying to sabotage the company by impeding the rights issue. “Nothing has galvanized our team more than their effort to destabilize our company,” he said. 

In the latest development for the company, the American arm of Byju’s last week filed for bankruptcy after defaulting on debt of $1.2 billion.

“The world reads regularly about my daily struggles. But I will someday tell you about my monthly miracles. Over time, I believe that a hidden miracle accompanies every struggle; one has to keep moving forward,” Raveendran wrote in the letter. 

“During good times and bad, it comes down to people. It always comes down to people,” he further added.

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Published: 04 Feb 2024, 08:35 PM IST

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