Year in review: BYJU'S highs and lows in 2022
2022 has been a year to forget for tech companies. The pandemic-driven boom was followed by a post-pandemic reality check. Edtech companies were among the worst hit. Online fatigue and funding winter has forced edtech companies to rethink their business. BYJU'S, the world's most valuable edtech company, too had a tough year. Here, we recap the highs and lows of the company in 2022.
BYJU'S published FY21 results after an 18-month delay
One of the most burning questions this year was about BYJU'S delayed financials. The company was 18 months late in publishing its FY21 results. Per the company, the delay was a result of the consolidation of accounts of the start-ups it acquired in 2021. This, however, led to various questions about the firm's operation from the media, regulatory authorities, and even the parliament.
The company's losses swelled by nearly 20 times
In BYJU'S FY21 results, what stood out was the 19.8x jump in its losses, which grew from Rs. 260 crore in FY20 to Rs. 4,588 crore. The company claimed that most of its losses are due to the change in the way it recognizes its multi-year revenue. Its revenue from operations saw a slight increase from Rs. 2,188.9 crore to Rs. 2,280 crore.
BYJU'S only made two acquisitions this year
The pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 were the company's golden years. In that period, BYJU'S made 12 acquisitions. This year, however, the firm made only two acquisitions: Tiger Global-backed popular English language learning app 'Hello English' and Singapore-based Northwest Executive Education. That latter was acquired by BYJU'S-owned Great Learning. The company, however, failed in its attempt to acquire US-based 2U.
The company will layoff 2,500 employees over 6 months
This year wasn't the best for BYJU'S employees as well. In October, the company announced its plan to lay off 5% of its workforce or 2,500 employees. It aims to become profitable by March 2023 and the layoffs are to prevent role duplications, said CEO Byju Raveendran. The layoffs will happen over six months.
Ex-employees alleged that the company forced them to resign
Although BYJU'S announced its layoffs in October, many former employees claimed the company actually began firing employees in June. According to the accounts of ex-employees, they were forced to sign pre-drafted resignation letters. The company allegedly hired bouncers to deal with any potential mishaps. The former employees alleged that the company fired them without any notice.
BYJU'S cleared dues of Aakash acquisition
In 2021, BYJU'S acquired Blackstone-backed Aakash Educational Services for $950 million, the company's biggest acquisition to date. However, the company owed $234 million to Blackstone, which held a nearly 38% stake in Aakash. It was supposed to be paid in June this year but was deferred to September. The company cleared those dues in September.
The company partnered with Lionel Messi
This year was an important one for BYJU'S in many ways. However, its decision to rope in Lionel Messi as its global brand ambassador will always stand out for its glitz and glamor. Messi is the first global brand ambassador for its social initiative 'Education For All.' The company is estimated to spend $5-7 million per year on the deal with Messi.
BYJU'S became FIFA World Cup's official sponsor
BYJU'S has been making moves to expand its presence beyond the borders of India for a while. This year, the company saw a golden opportunity in the FIFA World Cup 2022 and took it. Earlier this year, FIFA announced BYJU'S as an official sponsor of the world cup. It became the first Indian company to be associated with football's mega event.
What does BYJU'S future look like?
Next year, we will see moves from BYJU'S that will target people who prefer offline classes, as 2022 has shown that hybrid is the way forward. The company may also put the K-12 segment at the backburner to focus on skill development and higher education. Regardless of its business decisions, the firm's transparency policies and employee management will be under the spotlight in 2023.