Byju's founder, ousted by shareholders, says rumors of his firing 'greatly exaggerated' | TechCrunch

Byju Raveendran, the founder of eponymous edtech group Byju’s, told employees on Saturday that he continues to remain the chief executive of the startup and that rumors of his firing have been “greatly exaggerated,” a day after a shareholder group voted to remove him at an emergency general meeting.

In a 758-word letter, content of which was reviewed by TechCrunch, Raveendran claimed that the shareholders violated several “essential” local rules.

The shareholder group, which included Prosus Ventures and Peak XV Ventures, said in a statement on Friday that the investors “unanimously passed” the resolutions that seek to enact, among other things, addressing governance, compliance issues, financial mismanagement, reconstitution of its board and a change in leadership “so that it is no longer controlled by the founders of T&L.”

At stake is the future of the Bengaluru-headquartered startup, which was once the country’s most valuable.

Raveendran claimed in the letter that the extraordinary general meeting lacked the minimum quorum and failed to win majority support for proposed resolutions. Raveendran claimed the EGM was convened without adhering to the procedures set out by law and only 35 of Byju’s 170 total shareholders attended, representing around 45% ownership in the company.

“This means that whatever was decided in that meeting does not count, because it didn’t stick to the established rules. Regardless of the relentless trial by the media, I firmly believe that the truth will inevitably prevail,” he wrote in the letter to employees.

The cash-starved startup, which has been hunting for new funding for over a year, late last month launched a rights issue, where it seeks to raise about $200 million. The rights issue resets the startup’s valuation, once at $22 billion, to about $25 million.

“Our rights issue has seen an overwhelming response. In fact, such has been the scale of its success that even those who were sitting on the fence are now rushing to get a piece of the action. This momentum is irreversible, and our comeback is now inevitable,” Raveendran told employees.

“It should be clear from the above and the various news reports, which paint a contradictory picture of the effect of yesterday’s meeting, that these minority shareholders are intent on spreading misinformation in the media. The Company will not stoop to their level and engage in a media war. We are confident that their actions will ultimately fail, and the Company’s position will prevail.”

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