Will shift to profitable growth: Byju's CEO after firm reports Rs 4,564 cr loss

Byju's, Jio Platforms in TIME Magazine's first-ever list of 100 most influential companies
Byju's founder and CEO Byju Raveendran. File photo:Manorama

New Delhi: Days after reporting a loss of Rs 4,564 crore in the 2021 fiscal, Byju's founder and CEO has told employees that India's most valuable startup has already started shifting focus toward profitable growth and revenue of $2 billion was within its sights.

Byju Raveendran said the education provider clocked more than Rs 1,000 crore in sales in each of the last five months and it is nearly 20 times the size of the next two competitors in the K12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) segment.

"Going forward in FY23 and beyond, we will combine growth with efficiency to ensure sustainability," he wrote to employees. "We have already started shifting our focus towards profitable growth. The overall idea is to allocate resources effectively in order to maximize impact."

Last week, Byju's released audited financial statements for fiscal 2020-21 (April 2020 to March 2021) after a delay of more than 17 months.

Net loss swelled to Rs 4,564 crore as promotion and employee expenses rose. Revenues dipped 3.3 per cent to Rs 2,428 crore as it deferred about 40 per cent of its revenue to subsequent years as it adopted a new revenue recognition model.

Raveendran said the FY21 audit got "very delayed" and "many baseless theories got floated around."

"But the fact is that we were not adequately prepared to handle the audit for the size of the company we have grown to, and we learnt this the hard way," he said, adding Byju's had grown in every dimension -- products, business models, geographies, and customer segments.

In addition to the change in revenue recognition, the startup had numerous acquisitions to account for.

"All of this really stressed our systems, our people and resulted in inordinate delays," he said. "While we struggled on the audit front, our business has been thriving."

The last financial year (FY22, ended March 2022) was Byju's best year so far and 2022-23 is set to be an even stronger year.

"A strong 2022 in the face of adverse macroeconomic conditions makes me even more confident that Byju's is built to last many generations," he said.

Giving financial details, he said there has been a 4x growth in revenue growth to nearly Rs 10,000 crore ($1.3 billion) in 2021-22 from the previous fiscal.

"This means we are now a billion-dollar-plus revenue company," he said. "April-June 2022 was our best ever quarter by far. In fact, we have clocked more than Rs 1,000 crore in sales in each of the last five months! This means $2 billion revenue is within our sights now."

In the K12 segment, Byju's revenue is nearly 20 times the next two competitors combined, he said.

On its recently acquired Aakash Education, he said the revenue of Aakash has nearly doubled.

"Long growth story short, we now have the world's largest self-learning platform (Byju's learning app), the world's largest live learning platform (Byju's classes and Byju's 1-on-1), the world's largest reading platform (Epic!), the world's largest kids' coding community (Tynker), and one of the world's largest not-for-profit edTech initiative (Byju's Education for All)," he said.

Stating that its size and market leadership mean a bigger and greater responsibility, he said being large is not an end in itself.

“2022 has taught us to remain agile, be open to adjustments and learn from our shortcomings. We will leverage these lessons to emerge even stronger," he added.  

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