Edtech major Byju’s has halted all its advertisements featuring brand ambassador and Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan as his son Aryan Khan makes news for his arrest in a drugs case.
SRK has been associated with the online tutoring company since 2017 and has recently been endorsing Byju’s Classes – a live after-school learning solution.
Byju’s, which is looking to raise $400-600 million ahead of its IPO next year, reportedly stopped all ads over the last few days after it drew flak on Twitter for its association with the actor. It is not clear, however, if the start-up has also dropped Shah Rukh Khan as its ambassador.
One reason why Byju’s came under a Twitter storm is that it caters to children. The platform reportedly has 100 million students on its free platform and seven million paid subscribers. After the COVID lockdown was imposed last year, at least 25 million new users signed up to use Byju’s. It recently raised $300 million in funding which valued it at $18 billion.
One of India’s most valuable start-ups, Byju’s has also been on an acquisition spree and bought higher education platform Great Learning for $600 million, kids’ digital reading platform Epic for $500 million, and test preparation provider Aakash Educational Services for $1 billion.
Aryan was arrested last Sunday with seven others when the Narcotics Control Bureau busted a drugs party onboard a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast. A Mumbai court on Thursday sent him and seven others to judicial custody for 14 days. Aryan’s bail plea was denied by the court on Friday.