Oppo Tells Courts Byju’s Owes It Rs. 13 Crore, Says Company’s Owners Are ‘Absconding’

Byju’s has been battling its investors, board members and customers, but it has also fallen afoul of the companies it owes money to.

Chinese mobile phone manufacturing company Oppo has told the National Company Law Tribunal that Byju’s owes it Rs. 13 crore. The money is in lieu of Oppo preinstalling the Byju’s app on its mobile phones. Oppo says that Byju’s is yet to pay the amount, and is petitioning against it in the National Company Law Tribunal.

Oppo additionally told the tribunal that Byju’s founders were ‘absconding’, and did not live in India any more. Oppo says that Byju’s admits it owes them the money, but has been unable to pay it. Oppo says that it thus has a straightforward case to refer the edtech company to the insolvency resolution process.

NCLT adjourned Oppo’s plea till 3rd July. The Bengaluru NCLT said that it would call the day ‘Byju’s Day’ as as many as 10 petitions, largely from aggrieved lenders of the ed-tech startup, were due for hearing that day.

Apart from Oppo, Byju’s also owes money to outsourcing agencies such as Teleperformance, Cogent E Services, and iEnergizer, which provided calling agents to Byju’s. Earlier this week, Byju’s had settled with Teleperformance, following which the company had withdrawn its insolvency plea. Byju’s however still has around 10 such pleas pending from different companies.

This is a sad situation for Byju’s to be in. Until a few year ago, the company was riding high — it was valued at $22 billion, and was India’s most valuable startup. The company had acquired companies from the US and Europe, sponsored the Indian cricket team and major cricket tournaments, and even signed on footballing legend Lionel Messi as a brand ambassador. Cut the now, the company now spends most of its times in the courts, either in pleas looking to oust its management, or in pleas with everyone from phone companies to call centers looking to recover their dues. Byju’s might still stage a comeback, but its current state is a sobering realization of what happens when a startup tries to grow too fast too quickly.