Allen Career Institute’s director and co-founder, Brajesh Maheshwari, warned his company’s educators that they will be ‘blacklisted’ if they decide to leave the group and join competitors, in a video statement. While Maheshwari did not take any names, these comments come days before SoftBank-backed Unacademy inaugurates its first offline centre in Rajasthan’s Kota.
In what seemed to be pre-emptive move to try and discourage employees from leaving, Maheshwari said, “If you decide to quit now, you will be blacklisted at Allen and won’t be allowed to work for any of our partners, too.”
“Many people have joined, left and come back to Allen in the past. But from now, please know, if you decide to leave us — there is no power in the world that will help you re-enter. As long as Allen and I are alive, I will never let this happen. Not in this life at least. Those who remain loyal to us, will continue to get our support. In three years’ time, people who stayed back will prosper more than the ones who left us — both on professional and financial fronts. Now innocence will take a back seat and Allen will behave like how the world does,” Maheshwari said in his video statement.
Allen was set up in 1988 by four brothers — Govind, Rajesh, Naveen and Brajesh Maheshwari — and claims to have coached over 2.5 million students. It prepares aspirants for the joint entrance exam (JEE), national eligibility entrance test (NEET) and other competitive exams. The company’s website says it has over 165 centres across India and is also expanding overseas, with some existing presence in the West Asia.
Identifying that strength, Bodhi Tree Systems picked up an undisclosed stake in Allen for $600 million last month. Bodhi Tree System is a platform of James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar, former president of The Walt Disney Company, Asia Pacific.
Of late, the edtech sector in the country has gone through a visible shift.
The purely online companies — which witnessed stellar growth rates during two years of the pandemic — are now quickly adapting to the increasing need for offline centres.
Big edtech players like Unacademy, PhysicsWallah (PW), Vendantu and Byju’s also plan on operating a hybrid model of coaching where students learn from both, physical centres as well as virtual classes.
Byju’s has already committed $200 million for its offline push. Over the the past year, it has launched 126 hybrid centres in over 23 cities and plans to scale that up to 500 centres across 200 cities by 2022-end. While PW plans to open 100 centres in India.
Unacademy is expected to start 15 centres over the coming 30 days, Vivek Sinha, chief operating officer, had earlier told FE.