(Bloomberg) -- Byju Raveendran, the eponymous founder of Indian edtech titan Byju’s, has pledged his home as well as those owned by his family members to raise money for paying employees as the company battles a cash crunch, according to people familiar with the matter.

Two homes owned by the former billionaire’s family in Bengaluru, in southern India, and his under-construction villa in Epsilon — a plush gated community in the city — were offered as collateral to borrow $12 million, the people said, asking not to be named as the information is not public. The startup used the funds to pay salaries to 15,000 employees in Byju’s parent firm, Think & Learn Pvt., on Monday, they said. 

Representatives for Raveendran and Byju’s didn’t respond to request for comments.

The founder has been pulling all stops in his fight to keep the company afloat and to ease its financial pressures. Once India’s most valuable tech startup, the firm is in the process of selling its US-based kids’ digital reading platform for about $400 million. It is also locked in a legal battle with creditors over a missed interest payment on a $1.2 billion term loan.

Raveendran, once worth almost $5 billion, has raised debts of about $400 million on a personal level, pledging all his shares in the parent company, according to the people. He also plowed back into the company the $800 million he raised through share sales in the past couple of years, leaving him cash-strapped, they said.

Last month, Byju’s published its first results in years, which showed losses at Think & Learn narrowed marginally amid a pandemic-era boom in business. An Indian federal agency also concluded an investigation into the startup’s overseas fundraising, and penalties, if any, are expected to be nominal, the company said in a statement last week.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.