ED searches: Byju’s CEO says brought more FDI to India than any other startup, company in compliance
After financial crime-fighting agency ED searched Byju’s premises, the education platform’s CEO Byju Raveendran wrote to employees saying the company brought more FDI to India than any other startup and that the firm fully complies with all applicable foreign exchange laws.
India’s most valuable startup, Byju’s was once valued at USD 22 billion and has attracted global investors such as General Atlantic, BlackRock and Sequoia Capital. “As we are funded by 70+ impact investors who have satisfactorily done due diligence on our operations, including all FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) compliance, we are confident that the authorities will also come to the same conclusion,” Raveendran said in the memo sent late on Saturday, which was seen by PTI. ED had on Saturday searched three premises in Bengaluru linked to the company over alleged foreign exchange law violations. Searches at ‘Think & Learn Private Limited’ (Byju’s online learning platform) yielded “various incriminating documents and digital data was seized”, ED had said.
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The firm had received foreign direct investment of nearly Rs 28,000 crore between 2011 and 2023, the agency had said, adding the firm remitted Rs 9,754 crore to various foreign jurisdictions during the same period in the name of overseas direct investments. In the internal memo, Raveendran said that the company had sent some money overseas to fund its international acquisitions. “The recent visit by the ED is an enquiry under FEMA. The information requested by and furnished to the officers in connection with the FDI raised, overseas investments made, and cross-border transactions relating to marketing and branding activities by Byju’s has previously been submitted by our authorized representatives,” he wrote.
Byju’s, he said, made a number of overseas acquisitions, investing Rs 9,000 crore over the years as part of its growth strategy. “These acquisitions have been instrumental in expanding our reach and impact. In order to fund these acquisitions, we have remitted some of our funding overseas.” “I also want to highlight that Byju’s has brought more FDI to India than any other Indian startup (Rs 28,000 crore), and as a result, we have been able to create job opportunities for more than 55,000 talented professionals,” he said. “This makes us India’s largest employer among startups.” He went on to state that Byju’s has taken all efforts to fully comply with all applicable foreign exchange laws.,
“All our cross-border transactions have been duly vetted by both its professional advisors/counsel and advisors/counsel of the investment funds and other sophisticated counterparties,” he said. “Additionally, all such transactions are routed only through regular banking channels/the RBI’s authorized dealer banks and the requisite documentation and statutory filings have been duly submitted.” He said Byju’s was fully cooperating with the authorities. “As we are funded by 70+ impact investors who have satisfactorily done due diligence on our operations, including all FEMA compliance, we are confident that the authorities will also come to the same conclusion,” he said. “Let us continue to focus on our goals and work together towards achieving our mission.”