Byju’s founder faces ouster from board amid investor revolt and money laundering probe

Byjus founder faces ouster from board

New Delhi: Byju Raveendran, the founder and CEO of Byju’s, India’s largest online tutoring company, is facing a crisis as some of his investors have demanded his removal from the board, accusing him of mismanagement and failures. The company, which was once hailed as the king of the startup world in the country, is also under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged money laundering of Rs 9,000 crore.

The investors, who hold a majority stake in the company, held an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on last Friday, where they passed a resolution to oust Raveendran and his family members from the board. The resolution was supported by big shareholders like Prosus, General Atlantic, and Peak XV, who have invested billions of dollars in Byju’s. However, the company rejected the resolution, saying that it was invalid and ineffective, as it was attended by a small group of selected shareholders.

The company said that Raveendran and his family did not participate in the EGM, as they had challenged the move of the investors to call the EGM in the Karnataka High Court. The court will hear the petition of Raveendran on March 13, and until then, the decision of the EGM will not be implemented. The company also said that it was cooperating with the “competent authorities” in the matter of the ED probe, which has issued a lookout notice against Raveendran and barred him from leaving the country. The ED had raided Raveendran’s house and Byju’s offices in April last year.

Byjus founder faces ouster from board

The turmoil in Byju has also affected its valuation, which has plummeted from $22 billion to just $5 billion in a span of a few months. The company, which was founded in 2011 by Raveendran and his wife Divya Gokulnath, had become very popular as a learning app, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when schools and coaching centers were shut down. Raveendran, who has a background in engineering, started giving mathematics coaching to students in 2006 and launched Byju’s Learning App in 2015. The startup had achieved unicorn status in 2019 and had acquired several other ed-tech companies, such as WhiteHat Jr, Aakash Educational Services, and Great Learning.