Covid19 Tech Impact
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Edtech unicorn BYJU’S has created an INR 20 Cr CEO’s fund to help employees cover medical expenses during the second wave of the Covid pandemic in the country. In an email sent to employees on Monday (April 26), founder and CEO Byju Raveendran wrote that the fund will be used to pay for Covid-related medical expenses of employees, their parents, spouse and children.
Further, we have learnt that each employee can apply for reimbursement of up to INR 5 lakh from this fund to cover hospitalisation costs for themselves as well as their families. The company is also working on setting up vaccination support for its employees in the 18+ age group.
“The second wave of the pandemic is affecting a lot of us close to home. These are tough times, especially for the elderly who are more vulnerable to this cruel virus. The severity of the situation is such that many of us are dealing with family members who have tested positive for Covid-19. If you are going through this too, I urge you, please don’t hesitate to take time off as you care for them. You can speak to your team heads so that they can support you in every way possible,” Raveendran said in the email, a copy of which has been seen by Inc42.
In recent times, BYJU’S has upped its fundraising efforts and last year, the edtech giant doubled its valuation to $12 Bn from the $6 Bn, which included multiple rounds of fundraising. In March and April this year, BYJU’S raised over $455 Mn from a slew of investors, including Baron Funds, Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group, and XN, as part of its massive $1 Bn Series F round.
The latest $1 Bn round comes on the heels of the edtech giant acquiring Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) to bolster its presence in the test preparation segment in the country. Incidentally, the acquisition amount is said to be $1 Bn as well.
Many startups are making special arrangements for their team members as the Covid pandemic hits companies across the spectrum. While Zerodha founder Nithin Kamath said that employees will get a permanent work from home option, Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted on April 20 that the company is buying medical equipment like oxygen concentrators that can be used by employee’s families and the larger community.
Several startups that Inc42 has spoken to in the past couple of weeks have said they are trying to get their employees vaccinated at the earliest. But some also say that employees are spread out across the country due to remote work which makes it difficult.