Byju Raveenderan – founder of Indian edtech giant Byju’s – said he is fully committed to the company despite the recent revelations of mounting losses.
India’s most valuable unicorns posted a net loss of 45.6 billion rupees ($573 million) for the year ending March 2021, compared to a loss of 3.1 billion rupees in the previous year. Byju attributed the result to operating expenses that more than doubled.
Byju also said its revenue in the same period fell 3% to 24.3 billion rupees. Reports indicated that the results were delayed due to differences of opinion with the auditor. The Bangalore-based company has agreed to defer recognizing nearly 40% of its revenue on the advice of its auditors.
“Although the past six months have been challenging, we have made significant improvements,” Ravindran said at the Forbes World CEO Conference in Singapore.
Byju’s growth has been fueled by the increased demand for online education, particularly during the pandemic. It is also rapidly expanding through acquisitions, acquiring 15 companies across India, Asia and the United States in the past six years. “The future is bright,” he added. “There is a lot of innovation going on.”
Since 2021, the company has spent $2.6 billion on acquisitions, including a just-completed $950 million deal for Indian test prep provider Aakash Education Services as well as another $600 million for Great Learning in Singapore.
“Byju’s acquisitions across sectors over the past year have seen significant growth,” the company said in a statement issued on September 14.
To support expansion plans, Byju raised more than $800 million in March, valuing the company at $22 billion. While Raveendran contributed $400 million of raised capital, two other investors, including Sumeru Ventures and another unknown company, reportedly did not convert about $250 million of their committed investments. "I'm all going to participate," Byju said of his latest investment in the company.
Raveendran offered test preparation services before launching Think & Learn with his wife in 2011, then rolled out his education app four years later. The couple's net worth is $3.4 billion, according toForbesList of billionaires in real time. Byju has attracted prominent investors such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, China's Tencent, and US private equity firm General Atlantic.