Byju Raveendran, the ed-tech entrepreneur and founder of Byju’s, left the billionaires’ club three years after joining it due to several errors. Prosus, a former Naspers company with headquarters in the Netherlands, recently announced that it has reduced the value of its 9.6% share in Byju’s to $493 million (as of March 31). In actuality, the markdown rates Raveendran’s edtech company at $5.1 billion, a significant 77% fall from its highest valuation of $22 billion last year.
Raveendran’s 18% ownership is therefore now worth less than $1 billion, but after taking into account the loans he borrowed in the previous year to invest in Byju’s, his personal net worth is estimated to be $475 million. Reaveendran’s net worth reached around $1.8 billion in 2020 when his company was valued at $10 billion and he made his debut on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires. Before things started to fall apart, his fortune had doubled to $3.6 billion in just two years.
A former math tutor, Raveendran launched Byju’s parent company, Think & Learn, which went on a fundraising binge in 2020–21 and raised close to $4.2 billion from a variety of investors, including UBS and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund. A portion of the money was used to finance a buying spree across India, Asia, and the US, which included the $950 million purchase of Indian test preparation company Akash Educational Services and the $600 million purchase of Singapore’s Great Learning, an organization that provides higher education and professional training.
The rapid growth itself was taxing. Analysts claim that Byju’s expanded improperly and too soon. For instance, the company went from December 2021 to April 2023 without a chief financial officer. However, Byju’s has stated that vice presidents of finance were employed by each of its divisions. Still, it has yet to submit its financial statistics for the fiscal year that concluded on March 31, 2022. Results were published in September of 2022 for the fiscal year which ended in March 2021, reporting a loss of ₹45.6 billion an astonishing increase from the previous year’s ₹3.1 billion. Revenue fell 3% in the same period.
The Bengaluru-based company has had its fair share of crises over the years, with the most recent one being the resignation of its auditor Deloitte in June over the delays in preparing the financial accounts. Three board members also left the company.