Online coding provider WhiteHat Jr, the beleaguered platform under edtech giant BYJU’s umbrella, has laid off around 300 employees, after more than 1,000 of its employees resigned after being asked to return to office in April-May. This time, most of the fired employees belonged to the code-teaching and sales teams at the platform and some of them worked in Brazil.
In a statement, the company said that “to realign with our business priorities, we are optimising our team to accelerate results and best position the business for long-term growth”. The edtech sector has been hammered by the global macroeconomic conditions and reopening of schools, colleges and physical tuition centres. BYJU’s had acquired WhiteHat Jr in July 2020 for nearly $300 million.
It reported a massive Rs 1,690 crore loss in the financial year 2021, while its expenses reached Rs 2,175 crore in FY21 — compared to Rs 69.7 crore in FY20. In the April-May period, over 1,000 of its employees –out of its 5,000-strong workforce that includes teachers which are on contractual basis, and hence not full-time employees, resigned. WhiteHat Jr also shut its schools division that last year targeted to take its flagship coding curriculum to 10 lakh school students by the next academic year.
WhiteHat Jr’s foray into teaching music online, offering guitar and piano playing, also yielded no fruitful results to date. The company has said that the laid off employees were offered a month’s salary as part of their severance. BYJU’s on Tuesday named Krishna Vedati as President of Global Growth and Strategic Initiatives, along with rejigging top leadership at K-12 creative coding platform Tynker (which it acquired for $200 million) as part of its US expansion.
Vedati, Co-Founder and CEO of Tynker, will report to BYJU’s Co-Founder and CEO Byju Raveendran. The edtech unicorn made at least 10 acquisitions for a cumulative transaction value of about $2.5 billion last year.