Byju’s co-founder Divya Gokulnath dedicated an emotional LinkedIn post to her husband, Byju Raveendran, on Tuesday. From a yearlong delay in filing its FY21 annual report to ballooning losses and questions about its aggressive sales practices, it has been a tough year for Byju’s – but that is not why the founder of the edtech firm had a sleepless 6 months.
His wife Divya Gokulnath, 35, has revealed that Raveendran’s struggles were more personal than professional. Raveendran’s father has been battling late-stage cancer, she revealed, and Raveendran has spent much of his time by his father's side.
“It was really, really tough. Not so much on the business side as it was on the personal front. He couldn’t sleep well this year because his father was fighting late-stage cancer,” wrote Gokulnath.
“Byju was travelling around the world twice, sometimes thrice, a week to be by his father’s side as much as he could.”
She added that her husband is more relaxed now that a critical surgery had gone well for his father.
In her emotional LinkedIn post, Gokulnath praised her husband as someone who cares deeply about his family, works hard and never fails to see the good in others. “Empathy - his greatest strength - comes from where he comes from,” she wrote.
Byju Raveendran, the founder and CEO of Byju’s, was born in a small village in Kerala to parents who were both teachers. According to his wife, he learnt English from listening to cricket commentary on the radio and “watched his first football game on the only TV in the village sitting on his father’s shoulders.”
Many years later, he left his lucrative job to carve a name in the field of education and “create learners for life.” Today, Byju’s is one of India’s most valuable startups.
“We did not suddenly appear out of nowhere. It has taken a lot of hard work to make learning effective and engaging,” said Gokulnath, adding that they had a long way to go still.
She revealed that at heart, Byju’s is still “the passionate 6-member founding team with stars in our eyes and purpose in our souls that we were 11 years ago.”
“We still pay the rent for our first - small but cosy - office in Koramangala, Bangalore… Because we never forget where we come from,” she said.
Gokulnath further said that Raveendran has dedicated everything to his startup. The couple does not worry about their standing on the Forbes rich list or their personal net worth, she said. Instead, they want to add value to the lives they touch.“Whatever Byju has, is for BYJU’S. All we have ever cared about is the dream we once saw together… Valuations can vary, but values are forever,” wrote Gokulnath.