India’s most valued startup, Byju cuts 600 jobs and delayed payments on a $1B acquisition it announced last January.
The Bengaluru-headquartered startup, valued at about $22 billion, has cut over 300 jobs at Toppr, an online learning startup it acquired last year for $150 million, and another 300 jobs at WhiteHat Jr, a kids-focused coding platform it acquired two years ago for $300 million.
According to a source familiar with the matter, this development comes after Byju extended the deadline for paying some of the payments for Aakash’s acquisition for $1billion. Aakash is a 34-year old chain of physical coaching centres. It announced the extension over a year ago. The payment delay was first reported by the Morning Context.
A spokesperson for Byju’s stated that the startup was on track and would make the payments by the “agreed-upon” date of August.
The spokesperson said that “along with all of our group companies, it is still possible to provide quality education in all learning segments, from early learning to exam preparation and career success.”
Toppr confirmed that Toppr had been laid off and said it had “completed Toppr’s integration and has absorbed almost 80 percent of its talented workforce into Byju’s ecosystem.”
The spokesperson said that the next step was to optimize teams in order to recalibrate business priorities, accelerate long-term growth, and added that the spokesperson agreed.
WhiteHat Jr was also confirmed by the company, but it declined to disclose how many employees were affected at the acquired startups. Entrackr reported the Toppr layoff.
Byju’s has invested $2.5 billion in the acquisition of about a dozen startups over the past year and a quarter. However, Byju’s did not immediately indicate if more layoffs were planned or in the offing.
This Wednesday’s development is the latest in a growing number of layoffs at Indian startups.
BlinkIt (formerly Grofers) is an online grocer that has been in trouble. It also offers online learning platforms Unacademy and Eruditus, as well as cars marketplace Cars24 and e-commerce marketplace Udaan. In recent weeks, many startups have laid off employees.
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As tech stocks worldwide fall, investors in India have slowed down their investment pace, just as they did elsewhere.