As per current discussions, Byju’s may add its name to WhiteHat Jr as a suffix, but there is also a consideration to rename it fully under the Byju’s brand. A final call is yet to be taken.
“There is a discussion happening on rebranding and it will be rebranded. A couple of options are there including highlighting it by Byju’s – similar to other group companies like Great Learning. There is a high chance that a complete revamp without the WhiteHat Jr name may be opted for,” one of the people said.
Last year the company introduced coding courses powered by WhiteHat Jr in new markets such as Latin America
under the Byju’s Future School brand.
According to people aware of the discussions, the rebranding exercise is an outcome of the company assessing its various metrics including on branding. “It is likely to happen even if it takes a few months from hereon, but that’s the direction,” said a person.
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WhiteHat Jr had challenged critics of its marketing practices and quality of courses in court. But it withdrew the petition last year.
A spokesperson for Byju’s said it has, over the last two years, successfully introduced courses in more disciplines such as Math, Music and Art under WhiteHat Jr. “In addition to this, we have also been able to take these offerings to multiple geographies where our brand strategy has been to position a unified Byju’s under Byju’s Future School, offering learning groups such as K-3, K-12, Lifelong Learning, etc. There are no plans to phase out the WHJ brand in India and it will continue operating with the same brand name,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the company fired an
additional 300 people in another group company Toppr, according to people briefed on the matter.
Byju’s had closed its $150 million stock-and-cash deal for Toppr, but hasn’t officially announced it.
The layoff at Toppr is seen as part of an “optimisation exercise” as well as an indication of broader corrections in the edtech space after an hyper expansion in 2021 aided by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Byju’s has completed the integration of Toppr and has absorbed almost 80% of its talented workforce into the Byju’s ecosystem. As the next step, we are optimising teams to recalibrate business priorities and accelerate our long-term growth,” the spokesperson said, confirming the layoffs at the company.
Several edtech startups, including SoftBank-backed
Unacademy Group and Vedantu, have laid off employees in the past few months to conserve cash.
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Vedantu laid off 624 full-time and contractual staff in a week which was preceded by 1,000 people being laid off from Unacademy. In June, Info Edge-backed Udayy said it was shutting down as demand for online learning continued to dwindle.
Last month, Unacademy cofounder
Gaurav Munjal told employees in an email that the “winter is here” and that cost cutting would be the company’s key focus as funding would remain scarce for at least the next 12-18 months.