In a major development, ed-tech decacorn Byju’s Think & Learn Private Limited has rolled back its decision to shut down its Technopark office in Thiruvananthapuram, after Byju's CEO, Byju Raveendran met Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday. Byju’s officials also met state labour commissioner Dr Vasuki.
Though an official statement by the ed-tech start-up is awaited, a Facebook post shared by Parthidhwani Technopark, an employee body of Technopark, states that Byju’s will continue its operations in Technopark.
According to the post, “The Byju’s app Media Development centre will continue operations from Technopark. The decision to shut down is reversed and the status will be maintained as of September 2022. Byju's will take back employees who were asked to resign last month. There won’t be any retaliation action or revenge behaviour from management towards the employees.”
An official communication regarding the decision will be sent to the employees soon.
The development comes a week after Byju’s employees met labour minister of Kerala V Sivankutty, urging him to intervene over the alleged mass termination of as many as 140 employees at Technopark.
The employees also accused the ed-tech start-up of forceful resignation, while demanding compensatory benefits, including payment of salary for October 2022 on the 1st of November 2022, one-time settlement of salary for the upcoming three months from November 2022 to January 31st, 2023, all earned leaves' encashment and full settlement of variable pay (as applicable to each employee).
Amid the criticism, the company co-founder said the decision to cut down the team size has been taken to grow the company sustainably. “Having expanded exponentially in the past four years, it is now time for us to grow sustainably. So, we decided to define our ‘path to profitability and sustainable growth and to walk on it in earnest,” Byju’s said in a LinkedIn post on Monday.
Last month, the ed-tech firm said that it is planning to sack as many as 2,500 employees as a cost-cutting measure to achieve profitability by 2023. Byju’s said that the overall job cuts are not more than 5% of the company’s total strength.
In the past few months, the country’s largest ed-tech start-up has been facing a financial crunch owing to the funding winter. Last month, it took a loan worth ₹300 crore at an interest rate of 7.5% from its subsidiary Aakash Educational Services. According to the company’s spokesperson, the loan is for the marketing activities and campaigns for Aakash Institute, which Byju’s acquired last year. Prior to this, Tiger Global-backed ed-tech unicorn raised $250 million from its existing investors.
Meanwhile, the ed-tech unicorn reported a standalone loss of ₹2,702 crore year-on-year (YoY) for FY21. Byju's revenue from operations also dropped to ₹1,378.51 crore, down from ₹1,918.25 crore during the year before.