As a popular saying goes, a crisis is all you need to separate the strong from the weak. The economic crisis in the form of rising interest rates and dwindling systemic liquidity is wreaking havoc on tech startups that have fed on years of easy money and tidal waves of investment abroad in the form of private equity and venture capital (PE/VC) inflows. One unicorn after another in India has withered under the pressure, but the woes in the spotlight are those of edtech leader Byju. The company’s results for 2020-21 were finally released last week after an 18-month delay. His auditor had demanded changes and two disturbing facts came to light. First, the company had happily recorded unearned income, due in the future but not yet earned, thus inflating its turnover and valuation. Byju’s has now recorded losses of ₹4,589 crores for 2020-21, based on consolidated revenue of only ₹2,428 crores, reflecting a recovery from previous years. He took other accounting liberties. It was also negligent, for example, in its treatment of the interest component paid to it to be passed on to associated lenders by underwriters who had taken out loans to cover their costs.
#Race #Indian #startups #reckless