Indian edtech giant Byju’s missed own revenue projections in FY21

Byju’s clocked a revenue of $305.6 million in the financial year that ended in March 2021, below its own projections, the Indian edtech giant disclosed in audited results Wednesday, following an 18-month delay that attracted scrutiny from lawmakers and local authority.

The Bengaluru-headquartered startup, India’s most valuable, reported a loss of $577.4 million in the aforementioned financial year, up from $32.9 million of FY20, it said.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Byju’s founder Byju Raveendran said some 40% of FY21 revenue — because of the period of consumption and credit sales duration — were deferred to the subsequent year.

The startup said it generated a gross revenue of $1.258 billion (unaudited) in the financial year that ended in March this year. Between April and July, the startup logged revenue of $570 million, it said. Byju’s counts Prosus Ventures, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital India, Silver Lake, Owl Ventures, UBS and Blackrock among its backers and has raised nearly $6 billion to date.

Byju’s has been scrutinized for delays in postings its audited results, making international headlines. Raveendran said despite the scrutiny, the startup has demonstrated fast growth and other than WhiteHat Jr, a kids-focused coding platform it acquired in 2020, all major properties of Byju’s including the physical education chain Aakash and Great Learning that it has purchased in recent years haven’t witnessed any reversal in growth even as schools opened up.

“Even in the last 12 months, not a single investor of ours sold their stake,” he said. “Investors are relieved and happy.”

Raveendran attributed the delay in filing the audited accounts to COVID and the complexity of accounting numerous acquisitions it undertook last year. “The auditors had to do a lot of additional work. That is the reason why the audit got delayed,” he said.

The startup, which is valued at over $22 billion, has also postponed its plan of going public this year. Raveendran said Byju’s is watching the macro market conditions closely and will file for an IPO in nine to 12 months. “I don’t think the markets will turn this year,” he said.

Byju’s is also looking to close a new funding round within weeks, he said. The startup is in advanced stages to raise funding from sovereign funds that are looking to double down, he said. The company has made a bid to acquire U.S. edtech firm 2U, he confirmed.

Raveendran, a former teacher, said there has been plenty of misreporting about the company’s business in recent months. He said the startup, for instance, has paid most of the money for the $1 billion Aakash acquisition to investor Blackstone and for the remainder sum, the two have mutually decided to process the payments later.

He confirmed, however, that the startup has yet to receive $250 million from Sumeru and Oxshott that committed to participate in a funding round earlier this year.