Brajesh Maheshwari, the director of academics of the large IIT entrance exam coaching institute franchise Allen Career Institute, hit out at teachers who are leaving the firm for rivals in a video circulated on WhatsApp.
Maheshwari doesn’t mention any rival firm’s name in the video, but a source told Entrackr that he is referring to teachers who left to join Unacademy’s offline coaching centre in Kota, Rajasthan, Allen’s home turf. The centre is scheduled to open in a week’s time, and Unacademy is yet to announce the names of the teachers they have hired, but Allen’s fury seems to indicate that they have poached a fair amount of talent.
Such teachers who left wouldn’t be able to return to Allen “in this lifetime, as long as I’m here,” Maheshwari said in the video, speaking in Hindi. “Even if it’s a Mohit Bhargava or Ashish Arora, they will never be able to come back to Allen.” He referred to edtech companies’ attempts to poach the offline firm’s teachers as a mayajaal, an illusory trap.
Unacademy refused to comment on the video.
Maheshwari struck a defiant note, saying that anything a rival does, Allen would “easily” be able to do, an apparent reference to online services offered by edtech companies.
Indeed, Allen has raised a significant war chest from investors, transforming the decades-old coaching firm into a unicorn. The company raised $600 million this year from Bodhi Tree Systems, backed by Rupert Murdoch and Uday Shankar, both veterans of the Fox-Disney media machine that hope to see the offline firm scale into a digital institute as well.
Of course, Unacademy isn’t lagging too far behind either, with a $3.44 billion valuation. But unlike Allen, Unacademy is still burning cash and sustaining losses as it grows, so the risk is still there, both for the company and, as it now turns out, for educators considering leaving for competitive salaries there.