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Byju's Tried To Grow Fast Without Corporate Discipline: Rajeev Chandrashekar

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar criticizes Byju's for growing too fast without corporate discipline, cautioning entrepreneurs to learn from its mistakes. Byju's faces financial struggles, leading to cost-cutting measures. Read on for all the updates.

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Shubham Gaurwal
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Union Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar has cautioned that edtech giant Byju’s, in its pursuit of rapid growth, neglected to establish essential corporate discipline. Chandrasekhar emphasized the importance of drawing lessons from such missteps, particularly for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Rajeev Chandrashekhar

Speaking at the Mumbai Tech Week organized by the Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai on February 19, Chandrasekhar said, “It (Byju’s) was a company that tried to grow too fast, without creating the rigour and corporate discipline that a growth company like that should have at a time when money was flowing and equity was cheap… Eventually, that cycle always turns.”

He highlighted the importance of learning from past mistakes, especially in a dynamic environment where market conditions can change rapidly.

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“So if you are not smart at that time and don’t learn from those who came before you, you will make mistakes and I think, Byju’s is that mistake,” he added.

Financial Challenges and Cost-cutting Measures

Byju's prestige Office space

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Meanwhile, Byju's, a once high-flying edtech giant, has been facing financial struggles, leading to significant cost-cutting measures. The company has even reportedly reduced its office space in Bengaluru, terminating a lease for a 400,000 sq ft property at Prestige Tech Park. 

Byju’s had been paying approximately Rs 4 crore per month for the space, but decided to vacate it in an effort to reduce costs. According to some media reports, the company is also facing disputes with other landlords, including Kalyani Developers, for failing to pay rent for a 500,000 sq ft office space at Kalyani Tech Park in Bengaluru.

Rights Issue and Valuation

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To alleviate financial pressure, Byju's parent company, Think and Learn, initiated a rights issue to raise funds. The company received a commitment of $300 million from investors for this rights issue, which is set to close by the end of February 2024. However, this move has led to a significant reduction in the company's valuation, from a peak of $22 billion to an estimated enterprise valuation in the range of $220-250 million. This valuation drop, amounting to a 99% reduction, reflects the challenges faced by Byju’s in recent times.

Response to Financial Crisis

In another development, in response to the financial crisis, Byju's has offered disgruntled investors the option to appoint two independent directors to enhance transparency within the company. This offer is contingent upon the completion of the rights issue and the declaration of financial results for the 2023 fiscal year. Byju’s is also in negotiations with upset investors to encourage their participation in the rights issue, signalling efforts to address concerns and stabilize its financial position.

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Byju's parent company Think and Learn has received a commitment of USD 300 million (Rs 2500 crores) from investors for its ongoing rights issue which will close by February-end. In January, Byju's floated a rights issue to raise USD 200 million through equity rights issue at a valuation of USD 220-250 million, a 99 per cent reduction from USD 22 billion..

The independent directors can only be appointed after the rights issue is complete and the 2023 financial results are declared.

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