Indian edtech giant Byju’s cuts 2,500 jobs

Indian edtech giant Byju’s said on Wednesday it will eliminate 5% of its workforce, or about 2,500 roles, across multiple departments and is cutting its marketing budgets as it looks to improve its finances and achieve profitability by end of the current financial year.

This the second significant layoff the startup, valued at $22 billion, is undertaking in recent months. In June, it cut hundreds of jobs. The move comes amid the ongoing global market downturn, which has forced many startups, including Byju’s, to postpone their plans to file for an initial public offering.

The startup said it is retargeting its marketing budget toward more efficient growth. “Since significant brand awareness has been created in India over the past few years, there is a scope to optimise marketing budgets locally and prioritise spending to increase brand awareness in overseas markets,” it said in a statement.

The Indian startup has moved to clear its debts and other balances in recent months. It recently cleared all its dues to Blackstone by paying $234 million it owed the global investment giant for the $1 billion acquisition of Aakash, TechCrunch reported earlier. The startup, which posted a net loss of $577.4 million, is aiming to become profitable by the end of the current financial year.

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.

“As a mature organisation that takes its responsibility towards investors and stakeholders seriously, we aim to ensure sustainable growth alongside strong revenue growth. These measures will help us achieve profitability in the defined time frame of March 2023,” said Mrinal Mohit, chief executive of Byju’s India business, in a statement.

Byju’s founder Byju Raveendran told TechCrunch in an interview last month that he doesn’t think the startup will file for an IPO in the next 12 months. He also said the startup is in talks to close a new funding round from sovereign funds in the coming weeks.

“At a group level, Byju’s will continue to hire across all levels and will end this financial year as a net hirer. Byju’s plans to hire a total of 10,000 more teachers in the coming year, adding to its current strength of 20,000 teachers. To fuel its growth, the company is expanding its teams along with hiring senior leadership to further build operational strength,” the company said in a statement.