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    As BYJU’s consolidates, group companies White Hat Jr and Toppr lay off 600 employees

    As BYJU’s consolidates, group companies White Hat Jr and Toppr lay off 600 employees

    As BYJU’s consolidates, group companies White Hat Jr and Toppr lay off 600 employees
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    By Akhil V   IST (Updated)

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    Toppr's layoffs come just a day after White Hat Jr, which was acquired by BYJU's in 2020, fired over 300 employees as it sought 'to realign its business priorities'.

    After White Hat Jr, Toppr has become the second BYJU's-backed edtech startup to carry out layoffs with at least 300 employees asked to leave.
    The layoffs have taken place after BYJU's, which acquired Toppr for $150 million last year, has completed the intergration of the startup with at least 80 percent of its employees absorbed into the group's ecosystem.
    "As the next step, we are optimising teams to recalibrate business priorities and accelerate our long-term growth," a BYJU's spokesperson told CNBC-TV18.
    Founded in 2013, Toppr was BYJU's rival in the K-12 space, offfering after-school online learning courses with a focus on test-prep.
    At the time of its acquisition last year, the Zishaan Hayath-led startup claimed to have 35 million monthly active users and 2 million daily active users on its platform.
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    Toppr's layoffs come just a day after White Hat Jr, which was acquired by BYJU's in 2020, fired over 300 employees as it sought 'to realign its business priorities'.
    "We are optimising our team to accelerate results and best position the business for long-term growth," it coding-focussed edtech startup said in a statement.
    In May, White Hat Jr saw around 250 employees quit the company in a mass resignation move after it implemented the 'back-to-work' drive, asking most of its sales and support employees to report at its offices in Gurgaon and Mumbai. Some media reports peg the number at around 800 employees.
    Edtech: Tough Lessons In The Post-Pandemic Era
    The layoffs at BYJU's-owned companies are part of a broader trend, with an estimated 4,000 employees fired by edtech startups this year.
    Unicorns Unacademy and Vedantu have let go of more than 600 employees. Eruditus, Frontrow, Invact Metaversity and Yellow Class are also said to have downsized teams, with Udayy and Lido Learning shutting shop.
    Since the start of the pandemic, edtech startups have received more than $4 billion in venture funding, leading to the creation of five unicorns over the last two years, with Physics Wallah and Lead School being the latest.
    However, with schools and offline tuitions are opening up, edtech companies such as  BYJU's and Unacademy are adopting a capital-heavy shift to a hybrid model with physical and online presence to win in the post-pandemic era.
    BYJU's: What's Going On?
    Both the startups — Toppr and White Hat Jr — are among the 18-20 acquisitions and strategic investments of BYJU's, on which it has spent $3 billion.
    Last year alone, the edtech giant made at least 10 acquisitions for a cumulative transaction value of around $2.5 billion in 2021.
    Recently, BYJU's even attributed the delay in filing its financial results for FY21 and FY22 to the series acquisitions made over the last two years.
    "We reiterate that multiple acquisitions were made in FY21 and each of these acquisitions had a different accounting style and year. We have completed the consolidation of businesses and will be filing our financial results this month (June)," the company's spokesperson told CNBC-TV18.
    Even as BYJU's consolidates the businesses it has acquired, it isn't letting up on its global expansion plans. In May, BYJU's-backed Great Learning acquired the Singapore-based Northwest Education for $100 million.
    Now, BYJU's is pushing hard with its US expansion with an offer of $1 billion for the NASDAQ-listed edtech company 2U, according to a Bloomberg report. Earlier, there were reports that BYJU's was eyeing the NYSE-listed Chegg.
    The news of BYJU's willingness to spend another $1 billion on an acquisition comes at a time when it has delayed payments to Blackstone and other shareholders of test-prep company Aakash Educational Services, which it acquired for $1 billion last year.
    BYJU's spokesperson told CNBC-TV18, "The acquisition process of Aakash is fully on track and all payments are expected to be completed by the agreed upon date i.e. August 2022."
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