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Byju Raveendran's moment of reckoning: a photo essay

Read the full story of challenges facing India's b... more

If Byju founder Byju Raveendran manages to emerge from this shaky moment, he could yet emerge a winner, delivering returns to investors and cementing his wealth and legacy. Illustration: Jayachandran
1/6If Byju founder Byju Raveendran manages to emerge from this shaky moment, he could yet emerge a winner, delivering returns to investors and cementing his wealth and legacy. Illustration: Jayachandran
So what was different in the air during the late June investor call is the story of how the powerful founder faces a major moment of reckoning, besieged by internal business challenges, on the one side, and a potential valuation squeeze with slack macro-economic outlook globally and the tech stocks sell-off in the US specifically, on the other.
2/6So what was different in the air during the late June investor call is the story of how the powerful founder faces a major moment of reckoning, besieged by internal business challenges, on the one side, and a potential valuation squeeze with slack macro-economic outlook globally and the tech stocks sell-off in the US specifically, on the other.
The CFO question is key to one of the firm’s important current challenge. The company’s statutory auditors are yet to sign off on its financial statements for the financial year 2020-21. The extended government deadline on account of the Covid-19 disruption passed in December 2021.
3/6The CFO question is key to one of the firm’s important current challenge. The company’s statutory auditors are yet to sign off on its financial statements for the financial year 2020-21. The extended government deadline on account of the Covid-19 disruption passed in December 2021.
How is Byju’s planning to stem the leaky bucket at this company, acquired in 2020? Whitehat Jr, an e-learning startup, had cost the group around Rs2,000 crore in losses in 2021-22 alone, two people familiar with the investor call said.
4/6How is Byju’s planning to stem the leaky bucket at this company, acquired in 2020? Whitehat Jr, an e-learning startup, had cost the group around Rs2,000 crore in losses in 2021-22 alone, two people familiar with the investor call said.
A more proactive approach earlier could have surely prevented the troubles of the present. One explanation investors forward is that most of them don’t have significant rights in the company. This is different from how the first generation of Indian startup founders managed shareholders. The likes of Softbank and Tiger Global usually held extraordinary influence on the affairs of the companies they funded. Take the example of Flipkart. Before it was acquired by Walmart, the company’s leadership changes (and strategy) were dictated by one of its biggest investors.
5/6A more proactive approach earlier could have surely prevented the troubles of the present. One explanation investors forward is that most of them don’t have significant rights in the company. This is different from how the first generation of Indian startup founders managed shareholders. The likes of Softbank and Tiger Global usually held extraordinary influence on the affairs of the companies they funded. Take the example of Flipkart. Before it was acquired by Walmart, the company’s leadership changes (and strategy) were dictated by one of its biggest investors.
The company’s statutory auditors are yet to sign off on its financial statements for the financial year 2020-21. The extended government deadline on account of the Covid-19 disruption passed in December 2021.
6/6The company’s statutory auditors are yet to sign off on its financial statements for the financial year 2020-21. The extended government deadline on account of the Covid-19 disruption passed in December 2021.
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