Byju Raveendran’s big fall: From leading India’s most valuable startup to net worth plummeting to zero!

Byju Raveendran, the founder of Byju’s, a leading edtech company in India, has faced a significant setback as his net worth has dropped to zero, according to the latest Forbes Billionaire Index 2024. The report states that his net worth has come down from Rs 17,545 crore ($2.1 billion) to zero! Once a top player in the business world, Raveendran’s downfall mirrors the challenges encountered by his once-thriving startup.
Established in 2011, Byju’s quickly emerged as India’s most valuable startup, peaking at a valuation of $22 billion in 2022, according to an ET report.The company’s educational app transformed the learning landscape, serving students across various levels. However, recent financial disclosures and controversies have marred its image and diminished its value.
The financial turmoil at Byju’s became apparent when it reported a substantial net loss exceeding $1 billion for the fiscal year ending March 2022. This poor performance led to a sharp decline in valuation by major investor BlackRock, reducing it to just $1 billion, a fraction of its peak worth.
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Facing challenges, Byju’s stakeholders, including Prosus NV and Peak XV Partners, voted to remove Raveendran as CEO, a development that highlights concerns about the company’s future direction. Moreover, Byju’s came under scrutiny for alleged violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, exacerbating its difficulties.
In efforts to address its financial issues, Byju’s undertook a restructuring initiative in October 2023 to streamline operations, cut costs, and enhance cash flow. This restructuring resulted in the layoff of over 500 employees, with more departures expected due to delayed salary payments.
Which other billionaires have lost the coveted tag?
Forbes’ 2024 World’s Billionaires list revealed a record 2,781 billionaires with a combined net worth of $14.2 trillion. However, a quarter of the billionaires experienced a decline in fortunes compared to the previous year, with 189 individuals falling below the $1 billion mark, losing their billionaire status.
The decline in the number of billionaires, primarily from China, reflects challenges like slower economic growth, a saturated property market, reduced foreign investment, and heightened geopolitical tensions. China saw 133 billionaires, including those from Hong Kong and Macau, drop from the list. Notable figures affected include Tang Binsen, founder of Chi Forest sparkling water company; Hui Ka Yan, chair of Evergrande Group; and Wang Wenyin, whose shares in Amer International Group were frozen, causing a significant drop in net worth from $19 billion to less than $800 million.
In contrast, the United States, hosting the largest number of billionaires, saw only eight individuals exit the list, followed by Japan with six and Russia with five. Among those losing billionaire status were Osman Kibar of BioSplice Therapeutics, Gary Lauder of Estée Lauder, and Luc Tack of Tessenderlo.
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Despite the overall increase in the number of billionaires, challenges across sectors and regions resulted in significant shifts in rankings, impacting the net worth of numerous individuals.
Here are some of the highest-profile people who lost their billionaire status over the past year, with net worths as of March 8, 2024:

  • Wang Wenyin Net Worth: Less than $800 million (down from $19 billion)
  • Rene Benko Net Worth: $0 (down from $6 billion)
  • Hui Ka Yan Net Worth: About $700 million (down from $3 billion)
  • Osman Kibar Net Worth: About $750 million (down from $1.7 billion)
  • Gary Lauder Net Worth: About $960 million (down from $1.3 billion)
  • Luc Tack Net Worth: Less than $900 million (down from $1.2 billion)
  • Ryan Breslow Net Worth: Less than $100 million (down from $1.1 billion)

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