Byju’s seeks new funding at less than $2 billion valuation, a 90% drop

Byju’s, once valued at $22 billion, is willing to cut its valuation to below $2 billion as it hunts for new funding, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The Bengaluru-headquartered startup, once India’s most valuable, is looking to raise $100 million to $300 million in new funding via a rights issue and the edtech group’s chief executive Byju Raveendran has agreed to step down in the interest of improved governance after the new funding, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Byju’s willingness to cut the valuation is a stunning reversal of fortune for the startup, once the poster child of the Indian startup ecosystem. The startup, which spent more than $2.5 billion in 2021 and 2022 acquiring over half a dozen firms globally, was once showered a valuation as high as $50 billion by marquee investment bankers, TechCrunch earlier reported.

Byju’s has been chasing for new funding for nearly a year. The startup was close to raising about $1 billion last year, but the talks derailed after the auditor Deloitte and three key board members quit the startup. Instead, Byju’s ended up raising less than $150 million in that round from Davidson Kempner and had to payback the investor the full amount after making a technical default in a separate $1.2B TLB loan.

A Byju’s spokesperson declined to comment.

The new funding deliberation follows BlackRock cutting the value of its holding in Byju’s, slashing the implied valuation of the Indian startup to about $1 billion from $22 billion in early 2022, according to disclosures made by the asset manager.

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