Byju’s top investors confirm board exits

Picture credits: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Prosus, Peak XV Partners and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative confirmed on Friday that their representatives have resigned from the board of directors of Byju’s, India’s most valuable startup which is also reeling from the departure of its auditor Deloitte this week.

The board members’ resignations – which Byju vehemently denied on Thursday – came shortly after global audit giant Deloitte told the startup’s board that he was stepping down from his role. . Deloitte, which was to work with Byju until 2025, said the edtech giant did not report its financial results for the fiscal year ending March 2022.

A spokesperson for Peak XV Partners confirmed the departure of GV Ravishankar, a partner of the firm, from the board of Byju and said the investment giant, formerly known as Sequoia India, was “committed to supporting the company to integrate an independent director to strengthen business processes and internal control mechanisms.

In a statement, a Prosus spokesperson said:

Prosus confirms that Russell Dreisenstock, the Director representing the board of MIH Edtech Investments, BV (a Prosus entity) on the board of Think & Learn Private Limited, has resigned from his position. The Company is required to file the resignation letter with the MCA in India within the required time.

In a statement, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative confirmed that Vivian Wu had left Byju’s board of directors. The resignations halve the size of the board of directors to just three people: Byju’s co-founders – Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath – and Raveendran’s brother, Riju.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Byju said the company’s management was engaging with investors to replenish the board and said outgoing members left because their shareholding had fallen.

“The need for replenishment has arisen as few investors have had to leave the board seat due to their shareholding falling below a minimum threshold required in accordance with our SHA. We would like to reassure all parties stakeholders that we are actively working to build a diverse, world-class board commensurate with the size and scale of the company.”

Problems are piling up at Byju’s, which is also the most valuable edtech in the world. India’s Commerce Ministry ordered an investigation into Byju last week after the ministry became aware of “various corporate governance lapses” at the start-up, CNBC-TV18 reported on Friday – another report which Byju denied.

Deloitte said Thursday it was resigning because it had received “no communication” from Byju’s on the status of the “audit readiness of the financial statements and underlying books and records for the company.” ‘fiscal year ended March 31, 2022’.

It was a moment of déjà vu for the listener. Last year, Byju came under intense scrutiny from the government, investors and creditors after repeatedly failing to publish its accounts. In September, Byju’s finally released its accounts for the year ending March 2021, revealing revenue figures that were lower than its own projections.

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