Home/ News / India/  Byju Raveendran second-richest entrepreneur in global education sector: Hurun Global Rich List

Edtech major BYJU's founder Byju Raveendran has become the second-richest entrepreneur in the global education sector, showed M3M Hurun Global Rich List 2023 released on Wednesday.

As per the report, Byju Raveendran and his family are ranked 994th on the global list of Indian billionaires, having risen 1,005 positions in the past three years with a fortune of $3.3 billion.

Bengaluru-based Byju's, which was founded in 2011 and launched its learning app in 2015, saw business boom during the coronavirus pandemic when schools shut and students turned to online learning. But demand began to wane as children went back to their classrooms and the global economic outlook worsened.

Byju's said to hold funding talks

Meanwhile, Byju’s is in negotiations with investors including TPG to raise over $500 million, a much-needed capital infusion that could help the world’s most valuable edtech startup stave off potential debt issues.

Several investment firms including TPG and two Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds have begun due diligence on the firm, which is hoping to keep its valuation steady at about $22 billion during the financing, according to a Bloomberg report.

That's despite a global tech rout that's prompted layoffs in the thousands, depressed global investment activity and shaved billions off the valuations of once high-flying tech startups.

Byju's may issue convertible notes that would turn into equity around an initial public offering, the report said. Negotiations on the amount and structure are ongoing and it’s unclear if the prospective investors will go ahead with a deal.

Byju’s is in separate talks with creditors to renegotiate an agreement governing a $1.2 billion loan that’s in breach of covenants.

Founded in 2015 and formally known as Think & Learn Pvt, the Bengaluru-headquartered startup shelved plans for a stock-market debut last year as global markets slumped. It last raised funds in October at a $22 billion valuation, days after announcing it would reduce its workforce by 5 per cent.

Backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, General Atlantic and Tiger Global, Byju’s raised billions of dollars in capital to finance a global acquisition spree in the face of a tech downturn worldwide.

The company, which had at one point 150 million users, has since been plagued by challenges including a long-delayed filing of audited financial statements and a truncated fundraising last year.

Last year, the firm had filed its audited financial results for the year ending March 2021 showing steep losses. And last year, it said it would shed 2,500 workers or about 5 per cent of its total workforce and lower its marketing and sales costs, pledging to become profitable by March.

Founder Byju Raveendran — a son of teachers and a former educator himself — is now working on that turnaround plan, pledging a recovery this year. He’s explored options including using his shares as collateral to raise funds and lift his stake in the company to as high as 40 per cent.

It’s also finalizing plans for a $1 billion initial public offering of tutoring business Aakash Educational Services, and may consider IPOs of other units.

With agency inputs

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Updated: 22 Mar 2023, 03:10 PM IST
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