11,000 and counting — that’s how bad startup job losses are after Ola, Byju’s & 22 others cut costs

11,000 and counting — that’s how bad startup job losses are after Ola, Byju’s & 22 others cut costs
11,000 and counting — that’s how bad startup job losses are after Ola, WhiteHat Jr & 22 others cut costs Canva
  • Indian startups have already laid off a little over 11,000 people in the last six months.
  • It could get worse as experts expect 60,000 startup employees to lose their jobs this year.
  • Ecommerce companies took a lead in the layoff season, whereas edtech stood second.
Indian startups have laid off a little over 11,000 people in the last six months as the flow of capital is expected to remain dry for the next 18-24 months. It could get worse in the near future as experts predict that 60,000 startup employees could lose their jobs this year.

A back of the envelope calculation carried out by Business Insider India revealed that 25 startups in the country fired 11,695 people since January this year. About 10 of these startups were in the ecommerce space, and seven were from edtech.

Seven unicorn startups — Ola, Blinkit, Unacademy, Vedantu, Cars24 and Mobile Premier League (MPL) — were part of the firing list as well. Notably, Blinkit (formerly known as Grofers) was a unicorn when the layoffs were carried out but the company lost its billion dollar valuation during Zomato acquisition.
BlinkitEcommerce1,600Cost Cutting
Whitehat JrEdtech1,300Cost cutting, employees asked to resign if they can't return to office
Lido LearningEdtech1,200Financial constraints
UnacademyEdtech925Cost cutting
VedantuEdtech624Cost cutting
Cars24Ecommerce600Cost cutting
MFineHealthtech600Financial constraints
TrellEcommerce400Cost cutting
TopprEdtech300Cost cutting
RupeekFintech200Cost cutting
FurlencoEcommerce200Cost cutting
CityMallEcommerce191Cost cutting
UdaanB2B Ecommerce180Cost cutting
YaariEcommerce150Financial Constraints
YojakB2B Ecommerce140Restructuring
FrontRowEdtech145Cost cutting
AqgromalinAgritech80Financial Constraints
Breathe Well-beingHealthtech50Financial Constraints
OkCreditFintech40Cost cutting
Source: Media reports, Company announcements

One in five startup employees fired this year worked for Ola

A fifth of the total impacted employees were associated with ride hailing giant Ola.

In April 2022, Ola fired 2,100 contract workers brought on board to man the company’s dark store. It decided to massively restructure its quick commerce business Ola Dash, leading to these layoffs. It shut down Ola Dash, along with used car division Ola Cars, last week. The number of employees impacted by these shutdowns have not yet been revealed.

Blinkit, which was acquired by Zomato last week, also laid off 1,600 in March. World’s most valued edtech company Byju’s also cut 600 jobs across WhiteHat Jr and Toppr. Whitehat Jr also asked 1,000 employees to resign if they can’t return to office.

Things are not as bright for the Indian startup ecosystem as they were last year. The segment which thrived during the pandemic is now facing the brunt of Russia-Ukraine war which led to inflation and liquidity crunch – denting the capital raising ability of startups. The investors are getting more selective, and more tight fisted.

“Currently, the external environment is tough. War in Europe, impending recession fears, and Fed rate interest hikes have led to inflationary pressures with massive correction in stocks globally and in India as well. Given this environment, capital will be scarce in upcoming quarters,” Vamsi Krishna, chief executive officer and co-founder of Vedantu, said.

Disclaimer: The previous version of the article mentioned that 11,395 startups have been laid off this year. The article has been updated to reflect 600 employees laid off by Byju's.

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