Tiger Global-backed edtech platform Vedantu's net loss widened to almost Rs 700 crore (about $90 million) in FY22 (2021-22) as the company, just like most edtech firms, spent aggressively on employees during the period to capitalise on the pandemic-led boom.
Vedantu reported a net loss of Rs 696 crore for FY22 against Rs 616 crore in FY21 (2020-21), according to the company's regulatory filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), sourced from data platform Tofler. Vedantu spent Rs 489 crore on employees in FY22, 20 percent more than a year earlier, the filings showed.
Vedantu's total expenses also grew about 20 percent to Rs 891 crore in FY22 from Rs 748 crore in FY21. However, the company reported an 80 percent rise in its operating revenue to Rs 169 crore, thanks to the continued penetration of online learning due to COVID-19-led stay-at-home restrictions.
Vedantu's total revenue jumped to Rs 194.3 crore for FY22, up 43 percent from the previous financial year. The numbers are on a consolidated basis.
In FY22, Vedantu restricted its advertising and marketing expenses, unlike its peers. The company spent Rs 183 crore on promotions, only 3 percent more than the previous year. To put things in perspective, Unacademy, one of Vedantu's closest competitors, which is also backed by Tiger Global, spent Rs 549 crore on advertising and promotions in FY22, 34 percent more than a year earlier.
With an 80 percent revenue jump in FY22, Vedantu has grown nearly seven-fold in the two pandemic years, which accelerated the adoption of online learning in India. Just like Vedantu, edtech startups like upGrad, PhysicsWallah, and Unacademy also grew 5-11 times in FY22 over FY20 (2019-20). Other direct-to-consumer edtech unicorns--Byju's, and Eruditus are yet to file their FY22 results.
Vedantu raised over $250 million since February 2020, according to data available on Tracxn, which took its valuation to $1 billion from about $220 million in two years. Besides Tiger Global, the company counts WestBrdige and Accel as its partners.
However, post the pandemic, Vedantu has witnessed a sharp slowdown in demand for its core online learning offerings and thus has been taking steps to cut down costs. The company has laid off more than 1,000 employees since April last year.
To be fair, almost all edtech companies, including the most well-funded ones, have laid off in masses in India as demand for online learning has dropped with schools, colleges and physical tuition centres reopening. Moneycontrol reported how Vedantu cut its monthly burn to Rs 15-18 crore from over Rs 65 crore last year.
Vedantu also recently ventured into the offline education space just like its peers and opened a hybrid tuition centre in Muzaffarpur. In October last year, Vedantu also acquired Deeksha, an offline test preparation platform for $40 million, to strengthen its hybrid forays.