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Byju Raveendran featured on the Forbes Billionaires list last year. (File)

New Delhi: Byju Raveendran’s net worth a year ago was Rs 17,545 crore ($2.1 billion) and he featured in several prestigious ‘globe’s richest’ lists. However, according to the recently released Forbes Billionaire Index 2024, Mr Raveendran’s net worth has fallen to zero.

This sharp decline comes in the wake of multiple crises that have rocked the once high-flying startup, marking a significant fall from grace for the poster child of India’s startup ecosystem.

Noting Byju’s fall from the list, Forbes said, “Only four people from last year’s list dropped off this time, including former edtech star Byju Raveendran, whose firm Byju’s was enveloped in multiple crises and its valuation was marked down by BlackRock to $1 billion, a fraction of its peak $22 billion valuation in 2022.”

Founded in 2011, Byju’s rapidly ascended to become India’s most valuable startup, boasting a peak valuation of $22 billion in 2022. Raveendran’s brainchild revolutionised the education sector with its innovative learning app, catering to students from primary school to MBA aspirants. However, recent financial disclosures and mounting controversies have dealt a severe blow to the company’s fortunes.

The company’s woes were laid bare when Byju’s posted its long-delayed results for the fiscal year ending March 2022, revealing a staggering net loss exceeding $1 billion. This dismal financial performance led to BlackRock, a major investor, slashing its valuation of Byju’s to a mere $1 billion, marking a precipitous decline from its peak valuation.

Byju Raveendran has faced intense criticism for the company’s declining fortunes. The company’s shareholders, including Prosus NV and Peak XV Partners, last month voted to oust Mr Raveendran as CEO, escalating a battle over the fate of the once high-flying online tutoring startup that is fighting to remain in business.

Byju’s foreign investment has also come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate. Before the lookout circular against its founder, the ED issued showcause notices to Byju’s parent firm Think & Learn over alleged violations worth over Rs 9,362 crore under the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

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