A week after LinkedIn today to say that her husband, Byju Raveendran, has had a tough six months.co-founder Divya Gokulnath likened the edtech unicorn’s financial results to the “second blockbuster release of this year” after Bollywood’s Brahamastra, she took to
“Those who know Byju know he never uses the adjective ‘tough’ for any challenge. If he says ‘tough’, it must have been really tough,” she quipped, before stressing again that “it was really really tough”.
Gokulnath’s post referred to Raveendran’s father’s illness, not his struggles on the business front. Raveendran’s father has been fighting late-stage cancer, and underwent critical surgery last week, which went well. But Gokulnath said Byju has hardly slept in the past six months.
“Not that Byju sleeps a lot on his non-tough days”, she wrote, reminiscing how the techpreneur has maintained the same routine over the last ten years as he built the edtech startup.
Born to teacher parents, she says Raveendran walked away from a lucrative job to walk in his parents’ footsteps and “create learners for life.”
It took hard work to get where the company and its people are, Gokulnath said.
BYJU’s recently reported its fiscal year 2021 results which showed that its losses widened 19.8X to Rs 4,588 crore, while sales rose marginally.
Image source: Divya Gokulnath’s LinkedIn post
“Our fondest memories are of the days when we would travel to six cities across India every week to conduct back-to-back classes. We still pay the rent for our first – small but cosy – office in Koramangala, Bangalore.”
Renouncing accolades and pats-on-the-back, she added the six-member founding team at BYJU’s does not care about where they “stand in the Forbes rich list”, or if the edtech unicorn is “worth a few billions or just a few bucks.”
Back in 2020-21, media reports about the edtech’s toxic sales culture made the rounds frequently, talking about how BYJU’s salespersons aggressively sold products to gullible parents, shamed them into buying courses and coaching, but often failed to deliver.
In fact, the BBC wrote a story about how, in three different cases, Indian courts ordered BYJU’s to pay damages to customers in disputes related to refunds and deficiency of services. BYJU’s told the BBC it had reached a settlement in the legal cases.
“What matters to us is to add some value every day to the lives we touch. Valuations can vary, but values are forever,” wrote Gokulnath in her LinkedIn post, adding the six founding members still have stars in their eyes, and purpose in their souls today that they had 11 years ago.
“What never fails to impress me is that Byju sees good in everyone and everything. Empathy – his greatest strength – comes from where he comes from.”