Layoffs, pivots, restructures: Edtech startups feel the pinch as schools open

New Delhi: For edtech startups, the Covid-19 pandemic proved to be a blessing in disguise. With schools and colleges remaining closed for months, students signed up in massive numbers on edtech platforms in hope of coping with the academics. The increased traction impressed investors who poured millions of dollars into the segment. But the reopening of schools and colleges is now forcing edtech startups to cut off the costs via layoffs, pivots and restructuring, as what was seen as a never-ending upward trajectory is now signs of consolidation.

Startups such as Vedantu, White Hat Jr, Lido Learning and Unacademy, among others, have recently laid off employees as part of the cost cutting exercise. Currently, about 4 to 5 lakh individuals are employed in the edtech segment, and according to media reports, about 5,000 people could face tough times in the coming weeks.

“The number of new start-ups in the space will eventually come down. Though the growth rates will decline, the momentum will continue because numerous schools and students are yet to be covered by edtech,” CIEL HR Services Director and CEO Aditya Mishra had told PTI.

Vedantu has fired about 424 employees, which constitute about 7% of its total workforce, according to a mail by the company’s CEO Vamsi Krishnan. “Days like these are heartbreaking and I hope to never see them again,” he said in the email. Early this month, the tutoring platform had laid off let a few of its contractor workers and 80 full-time academics or assistant teachers.

Last month, Unacademy had said that it had let go of nearly 800 employees due to redundancy and performance issues. The laid off workforce included employees of edtech firm PrepLadder, which it acquired last year. The edtech company has also announced plans to venture into the offline learning segment. The firm plans to set up learning centers for physical classes across India, it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, BYJU’s owned-White Hat Jr saw resignations of about 200-250 employees in the past few months after the edtech startup asked workers to work from its Mumbai and Gurugram-based offices, according to media reports. Also Read: Paradeep Phosphates IPO: Latest GMP, expected listing price, subscription status

Another edtech startup, Lido Learning, bit the dust. The company shut shop in February 2022, leaving its teachers and employees in a tizzy. The startup wasn’t unable to raise capital or find buyers, and had started missing salary payments. Also Read: Pakistan bans import of luxury cars, cosmetics, other items to mitigate financial crisis: Report

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