Byju Raveendran, the founder and chief executive officer of the beleaguered edtech firm Byju’s, said the company credited all pending January salaries to employees over the past few days.
This was communicated to the employees in another letter sent on February 4. Byju’s has about 15,000 employees.
“I know you were told that you would get your salaries by Monday.
"Many of you wrote to me that you wouldn’t mind waiting even more because you know what I am going through,” said Raveendran in the letter, a copy of which Business Standard has reviewed.
“But you did not have to wait even till Monday.
"I have been moving mountains for months to make payroll, and this time, the struggle was even bigger to ensure that you receive what you rightfully deserve.”
Over the last two days, Raveendran said that he has been overwhelmed by the countless messages and emails.
“Those have reignited the fire in my soul. Nothing matters to me more than your belief in my ability to deliver,” said Raveendran.
“I fight for you. You fight alongside me. This is the sacred relationship that has helped me weather every storm.”
Cash-strapped edtech firm Byju’s on Friday hit out at “certain investors” in an internal note addressed to employees, claiming that they are conspiring against the company and seeking the ouster of its founder Byju Raveendran at a time of crisis.
Byju’s is facing multiple challenges, including a cash crunch, delays in financial reporting, and legal disputes with lenders.
The note comes a day after a consortium of key shareholders in Byju’s issued a notice to the company, calling for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to address “persistent issues,” including a proposed change of management at the firm.
The company has raised a total of 5.08 billion dollars from investors.
Byju’s management had told the employees there was a slight delay in salary disbursements this month because of the “artificially induced crisis by these select investors.”
It told them that Raveendran has personally shouldered the responsibility of paying the salaries over the past several months, including “pledging his only home” to ensure their financial security.
“Two days ago, I saw my father, the most resilient person I know, breaking down after seeing the news,” Raveendran told employees on Sunday.
“My father is my role model; I am a teacher because he once was; I am an entrepreneur because he always taught me to follow my dreams.
"That he, my rock-solid support, was moved to tears made me feel a sudden pain.”
Raveendran said that everybody has made sacrifices and grappled with decisions they never desired to make.
He said everyone is a little bit weary in this battle, but nobody has chosen to give up.
This is because they are proud of what they have built.
“When we have self-respect, we have enough,” said Raveendran.
Raveendran said that he is not implying that these challenges have not shaken him.
Entrepreneurs are supposed to be stoic and steadfast.
They indeed have an irrational capacity to suffer and the ability to eventually prevail over all that pain.
“But they, too, laugh, cry, work, weep, and bleed the same way as any other person navigating the joys and complexities of life,” said Raveendran.
“They, too, hope and worry about what tomorrow might bring.
"They, too, hug their kids when they get scared.”
But then, he said the support and love of employees came flooding through and made him fight against all odds.
It gave him a renewed strength to fight for employees and with them.
“To be clear, this fight is only against a few vested interests, who were trying to sabotage the company by impeding the rights issue,” said Raveendran.
“Nothing has galvanized our team more than their effort to destabilise our company.”
Hundreds of Byjuites (employees), including ex-Byjuites have written to him.
They are expressing their desire to do whatever it takes to protect the dream that they all saw together.
“Every entrepreneur knows that only what is lasting is worth pursuing.
"Money is momentary. I have never cared about it. Glory is fleeting.
"I have never pursued it. Happiness is temporary. I have never had time to grab it.
"What will last forever is the deep bond that we share as a family,” said Raveendran.
“The world reads regularly about my daily struggles.
"But I will someday tell you about my monthly miracles.
"Over time, I believe that a hidden miracle accompanies every struggle; one has to keep moving forward.
"This month, you are my miracle.
"During good times and bad, it comes down to people.
"It always comes down to people.”
In another development, Gurugram-based IT services company Surfer Technology Private Limited has filed a fresh insolvency plea at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against Byju’s.
According to the sources, Surfer provided information technology-related services to Byju’s, but there are minor vendor payment dues that the company needs to pay.
Recently, US-based lenders to Byju’s approached the NCLT Bench in Bengaluru to start corporate insolvency proceedings against the edtech company.
They alleged the firm defaulted on a 1.2 billion dollar loan obligation.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also claimed that Byju’s had defaulted on a payment of Rs 158 crore and approached NCLT to initiate corporate insolvency against the firm.